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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Fist of Five

Sparrow Road

Review by Gary Hill

I have landed this album under heavy metal. I don't think everything here qualifies, but I think there is enough metal in the mix to justify that. Whatever you call this, though, it is a strong album. There is plenty of alternative rock in the mix. This is often accessible, even if it gets a little predictable at times. The truth is, it works really well from start to finish.

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Track by Track Review
The Dance (radio edit)
Powering in heavy and epic in feel. It drops to a mellower motif after a time for the entrance of the vocals. There is a dark and dramatic vibe to the balladic verse. The cut powers up to more driving metallic zones from there. It drops down again for another verse, creating a pretty standard power ballad kind of structure here. Perhaps this rocks out a bit more than power ballad would suggest, and they drive it out into some prog metal on a faster-paced instrumental section later. This is a strong number that's dynamic and powerful.
Can't Be Over
Intricate acoustic guitar serves as the backdrop for the opening vocal section. The effect is evocative and beautiful. This remains an acoustic-guitar-based track for about three-quarters of its running time. Eventually percussion and piano are added to the mix, but it still lives in the acoustic zone. It does get some more energy, though. The guitar is the only thing present on the thoughtful and grounding outro.
Sparrow Road
Piano is a big part of the arrangement as this gets underway. The track has an alternative rock vibe to it early. As the electric guitars join further down the road it gets more metallic. Yet the same mellower and more rocking alternating type of pattern we heard on the opener becomes the concept on this number, too. This even drops to a symphonic section, complete with that type of instrumentation. It powers out from there to full-on epic metal and really rocks. The number continues to evolve from there, though. It twists to a strange creepy section at the end that is so classy.
A percussive vibe along with some vocals creates the opening. The cut turns to adventurous metallic alternative rock from there. This is a track that definitely leans toward prog metal. It has plenty of pure metal in the mix, though. That includes some screamed vocals that lean toward the extreme end of the spectrum. Most of the vocals are of the sung, and rather catchy, variety, though. This is another smoking hot metal tune that's unique and intriguing. The song is very dynamic and definitely leans on an alternative rock angle at times.
Can You Hear Me (radio edit)
This is more of a mainstream alternative rock based number. It has a real single quality to it. It's a melodic number, but does power up nicely for much of the track. Piano serves as the only instrument on the outro.
Farewell My Friend
Intricate melodic music creates the backdrop for the first vocals. This powers out to some cool slow moving metallic sounds from there. This is another song built on the alternating mellower and more rocking movements concept. This gets some symphonic angles in the mix. It also earns a parental advisory for the lyrics.
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