Flashback Of Anger – T.S.R.
Flashback Of Anger – T.S.R. (Terminate And Stay Resident) (2014)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Flashback Of Anger is an Italian band that I became familiar with in fairly recent memory, having picked up a copy of the band’s 2009 debut, Splinters Of Life, in an online clearance bin. As with most acquisitions I’ve made that way, it was hardly a “clearance bin” sort of album, and left me with substantial expectations for the band’s followup. With a guest spot from Fabio Lione (I can hear the groans already) on the album, as well as Vision Divine’s bassist Andrea Torricini joining Flashback Of Anger full time, I was hopeful that the group would garner a bit more exposure and respect.
Like many Italians of its ilk, Flashback Of Anger plays a heavily key-supplemented, progressively-tinged, and generally fast-paced bit of power metal in the same general ballpark as Vision Divine, Labyrinth, and the like. Speedy, accessible songs like “False Idols” ought to open up for fans of Italian power pretty easily, though keeping them hooked for the full duration may be another matter.
This band has a decent recipe for success: keyboard and guitar work are both capable and play out to be commendably technical in places, and the melody work is about what you’d expect from Italians. However, there’s a lot of mediocrity holding the music back from developing further. Alessio Gori (who I believe does both key and vocal work) has one of those signature Italian voices: nice and smooth, pleasant to listen to, and totally indistinguishable from an army of his peers. At least his English diction and delivery is good. I don’t quite know how to express this, but even though Flashback Of Anger is playing in a well-defined subset of a subgenre and has all the typical elements necessary to win, the members don’t add up to greater than the sum of their respective parts. The percussion is standard, with the predictably added “oomph” for the additional complexity demanded, but it never stands out. The bass is invisible for most of the album, and the guitar work, while satisfactory, has a stock tone that completely fails to grab me whatsoever. More or less, I’m left leaning on keyboards and vocals for almost anything really appealing.
This isn’t so bad as I might be making it sound. “The Great Fire” delivers a whole lot of varied, proficient keyboard work in a twisting, enjoyable track that’s one of the best. “Black Prince” is another easy standout, but I don’t know if it’s because the vocal lines are just more interesting, or if Fabio Lione singing them makes a world of difference. Wait, now I’m praising a Fabio guest session on an album? Something has to be wrong with the core formula here…
I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m less impressed by T.S.R. than I was by this band’s debut, and I don’t anticipate a whole lot more listening to it. There’s got to be a hefty bump in memorability and cool guitar work before I’d be interested in purchasing and owning anything further from this band myself, but it’s still capable enough that fans of Vision Divine and maybe even DGM ought to have a look. It could just be me, but this is very solid third-tier Italian prog-power, and not much more.
3.0 // 5