REVIEW: Forever’s Edge – Chaotic Silence

Update/Correction: Just been told by Pisano that the keyboard parts were written by him, and the instrumental intro was written by him and Rossetti. Thanks guys!

Thanks to Team All About The Music for providing the promo for this review, check them out.

Band: Forever’s Edge
Album: Chaotic Silence
Release: 2010
Label: Nightmare Records
Genre: Melodic power/prog metal

Concept albums are normally a welcome aspect of metal from my point of view; a band able to weave both a story and music simultaneously creates a further sense of intrigue to the album as you follow the plot. US power/prog metal quintet Forever’s Edge however, while crafting brilliant music, never quite seem able to make both lyrics and music glue together on their re-released début album Chaotic Silence. Their blend of Evergrey and Circus Maximus/Symphony X makes for high quality in the keyboard-centric approach, which is logical given three of the five members are from Suspyre. Comparisons to the latter band are unfounded though, as the band pull some quirks out to make for a more eclectic album than at first glance.

As expected of a symphonic album, the opener is a grand and swirling instrumental piece, conducted by keyboardist Khalilov with marching drums provided by Godla, who later provides a template power metal pattern for many of the songs. The first ‘proper’ track “Everlost” is a strong starter with riff- and chug-based guitars from Pisano, supported by Distabile who has his melodic moments in the next track “Demon’s Creation”. The guitar work is unfortunately quite disappointing for most of the album; except for a couple of solos it’s relegated, with keys at the fore, Khalilov akin to Pinella in his solo style. The drums feel similarly stifled in creativity, although their mixing is at the front, and they seem tinny on occasion.

Barton is something of a two-sided coin on this album; I adore his mid-ranged singing style, which echoes Englund and Allen, and also has some snarl of Barlow in “Demon’s Creation”. To add to the confusion, there’s a well-executed power ballad, aided by a saxophone solo from Rossetti, which rings of a Seether track. On the flip side, Barton also engages in a Mustaine-like spoken word in “Damnation – We Rise”, which also features death metal-like growls (although I’m uncertain who provides them). As contrast, the band also bring in Sharon MacPherson for some guest spots, her lower vocal tones complementing Barton as they trade off in “Divide In I” and “The Epiphany Of Music”.

The former of these brings me to my biggest quibble with Chaotic Silence: the lyrics of half the songs are nonsensical, the other half quite constricted to the plot involved, and they clash quite strongly. The story follows “a deaf girl and her loved one but could only communicate through song to tell her how he feels. And the sad story of how she got pregnant, and the boy in the end died when he lost them both” (quoting Pisano). The other tracks follow a more fantasy-based quest idea, resulting in conflicting lyrics of “To me she was it all/It’s killing me, it’s killing me/To lose the one I loved” and “Cry me havoc, cry me fear/equated hate compelled beside me”.

Chaotic Silence makes for a confusing experience as an album, unless you remain focused on the vocal melodies, which are well-crafted and complement the musicianship. “Damnation – We Rise” is perhaps the oddest and heaviest of songs, with the already-mentioned growls, operatic parts from MacPherson and a cool solo coming in the midst of the madness. It does, however, leave the tracks that follow paling in comparison, particularly “Endlessly” which becomes forgettable, and “Closed Eyes” is a fairly satisfactory closer but lacks in the ‘epic’ factor aside from ethereal vocals and orchestration that would make Holopainen proud.

Although unlikely to convert fans to the power/prog genre, Forever’s Edge have set out an interesting manifesto in their début Chaotic Silence, and with some lyrical re-planning and more instrumental cohesion, they would be onto a strong sophomore release. Fans of Evergrey and Serenity are encouraged to give this a try, or anyone who enjoys keyboard-based metal bands. Forever’s Edge will be a name to watch in the melodic metal circles, stay tuned.

Rating: 6.5/10

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