Dignity – Balance Of Power
Written by Arno Callens
A couple of songs into this album, I could only hope I had mistakenly put on a Balance Of Power record entitled Dignity. Sadly this does indeed concern the sophomore effort of the Austrian band of that name, who with Project Destiny delivered one hell of a debut. None of the promise and the potential of that firecracker has here been cashed in upon, and after multiple spins I find myself still hoping Balance Of Power has somehow tricked us.
It’s not just the unfit vocals of Søren Nico Adamsen (whose first name is probably pronounced as “Sauron” or something, I had to copy it off the Metal Archives to find that weird “o”-thingy). Adamsen did fine work on Crystal Tears’ Dead City Dreaming, Chained and Serpent Saints’ All Things Metal, but here fails to match the spirited pitch of Jake E (who thought Amaranthe a worthier venture than a band with a creative purpose besides posing for pictures and selling lots of mediocre records). On opener “Rebel Empire”, you imagine E nailing the heroic melodies, but Adamsen treats it like a garage band from the eighties and doesn’t get away with it.
It’s not just the songwriting, which goes for “heavier” and “darker” like most Hollywood sequels these days, and loses the awe and wonder of the original. The riffs are quite inventive in their own right, but they push the lush keyboards of the debut into the background and leave us with a weird power-metal-wanting-to-be-thrash foundation. There is nothing here to match the gripping “Project Destiny” or glorious “Icarus”. The closest we get is “Angels Cry” (no points for that title), but again Adamsen drags it down to below its rightful heights.
None of these elements ever really come together. You end up listening to a bunch of albums at once, none of which is particularly good. While Project Destiny sounded confident and well thought-out, this seems hastily thrown together from conflicting ideas about the group’s direction. Balance Of Power is, ironically, quite unbalanced.
It’s not just any of the reasons above, it’s just that the debut was so damn good that I wanted this to be the rocket that would take Dignity to the moon. Instead it barely takes them out of orbit, rather slowly plummeting back to Earth. Third time’s the charm or first time’s the fluke? We’ll see, but for now I choose Project Destiny over Project Disappointment.
2.75 // 5