"Phorceful Ahead" (Metal Blade; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Symphorce, a band from Germany, skillfully mixes power metal and touches of progressive metal on their Metal Blade debut "Phorceful Ahead." Imagine a heavier version of Vanden Plas, if you will, mixed in with the dark, progressive meanderings of Evergrey and vivid lyrics of Pain Of Salvation.

Symphorce mix heaviness and melody quite well. Blending heaviness and catchy and remaining somewhat memorable in the crowded power metal field is a bit of a feat. While "Phorceful Ahead" is never truly spectacular, it never wanes from its solid style throughout ten regular tracks and three demos.

Great power metal demands a great vocalist and Symphorce have that covered in Andy B. Franck. Franck, also known for his work in Brainstorm, delivers a great performance on "Phorceful Ahead." Franck's performance reminds me of the solid performance provided by delivered by D.C. Cooper on his self-titled solo CD.

"Phorceful Ahead" is nothing new, but is truly enjoyable nonetheless. Power metal fans should take the three and a half rating to heart; music fans who are indifferent to power metal can ignore the rating (and the band as well). It's debatable whether or not "Phorceful Ahead" will stand the test of time, but it sounds great now - and sometimes that's all that matters.

"Phorceful Ahead" was produced by Andy B. Franck and Cedric Dupont. The production is well above average especially considering two of the band members were involved - I often think outside producers achieve the best production results, but Franck and Dupont are doing well enough without outside help.

Symphorce is Andy B. Franck on vocals, Cedric "Cede" Dupont and Markus Pohl on guitars, Dennis Wohlbold on bass, and Sascha Sauer on drums. H.P. Walter contributed keyboards to the recordings.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400.