Black Fate – Between Visions & Lies
Reviewed by Frank Zaber
Okay – let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way. Musically, this album sounds as if it could be part of the early Khan era of Kamelot, slotted between Karma and Epica. That said, you would definitely sell Black Fate short by assuming that it is just a great Kamelot clone – even with the similarities, the band has a lot to offer of its own distinct sound.
The new album, Between Visions & Lies, is a definite departure from Black Fate’s last outing, 2009’s Deliverance Of Soul. Deliverance Of Soul was a darker power metal album, while the new disc is more melodic, with increased use of symphonic and progressive elements. There are several songs on this album that are instant classics for me – the leadoff duo of “Rhyme Of A False Orchestra” and “Lines In The Sand”, “Into The Night”, “Weight Of The World”, the amazing ballad “Without Saying A Word”, and the instrumental closer, “In Fear”. The rest of the album is very good, but formulaic at times – not really lacking, but they don’t leap out at me with the originality that the above have.
Gus Drax is one of the best young guitar talents that nobody knows – his playing is impeccable, and his solos are imaginative, innovative, and never boring or overdone. I really look forward to digging more into the previous Black Fate releases, as well as his other projects. Nikos Tsintzilonis and Vasilis Liakos, while never stepping out of the box and doing anything groundbreaking, provide a solid rhythm section that sits well with the rest of the music.
Vasilis Georgiou’s vocals are where I run into some concerns. He’s a strong and flexible vocal talent, but for at least part of the time, that talent isn’t fully utilized. On songs like “Into The Night” and “Without Saying A Word”, he attacks the songs and drives them with his power. Unfortunately, on others, he just fades into the background. Some of this is because he’s singing in a softer manner, but much of it is the mix. Occasionally, his voice is competing with the guitars and rhythm section where it should be in the forefront, pulling you in through the speakers instead of forcing the listener to differentiate between his vocals and the music.
Overall, Between Visions & Lies is a very good album. It’s a noticeable improvement from Black Fate’s last effort, and definitely more mature and melodic. The vocal mix detracts slightly from its potential, but not greatly – it just makes me wonder what this album could have been with some more exacting production.
Between Visions & Lies is essential for anyone who loves good symphonic power metal with deep, thought-provoking lyrics. And, of course, it’s perfect for fans of Kamelot’s first 3-4 albums featuring Roy Khan.
4.0 // 5