Silent Force – Worlds Apart
My affection for Silent Force is pretty well known to those who know my musical tastes, and Worlds Apart is where it started. Though I discovered a couple of songs from this album early on via Pandora radio, it took me some time to actually acquire the album, and even longer to discover its secrets. Though Silent Force has a very strong undercurrent of German power metal, their adventurous tendencies, coupled with Cooper’s strong and unique vocal talents, have always defied being classified as a cookie-cutter example of the genre.
However, you might not know it when “Ride The Storm” cracks open the album in royal glory. With a chorus for the ages and the band’s signature hooks that avoid melodic norms, this is finally the powerful opener that Silent Force didn’t quite hit on the head with The Empire Of Future or Infatuator. Interestingly, the melodically brilliant “No One Lives Forever” is inverted in a sense, as the rather basic chorus is almost a letdown after the infectious verses and prechorus. The inclusion of “Hold On” hearkens back to tracks recorded on the band’s debut, only with better production and a shimmering, well-layered chorus that puts it head and shoulders above Cooper and company’s first attempts.
Arguably, Worlds Apart can be criticized as being more formulaic than its predecessors, especially The Empire Of Future. Some will say “dumbed down”, some will say “less progressive”, and some will say “just boring”. Me? I think the band just decided that it was time for them to blow the gauges and play some really catchy tunes. Though there’s some truth to each of the negative statements above, let’s be clear about one thing: you won’t find brilliant choruses like these in the catalogues of most bands, nor as frequently in the Silent Force’s previous works. In addition, the identity of the first two albums is still present, it has merely evolved into a more carefree, joyous spirit that relishes just being alive.
Let’s talk guitars. This album is undoubtedly more basic in some respects, but the better riffs and the solos, in particular, are some of the band’s finest, and on par with (or better than) what I’ve heard from Beyrodt in Sinner or Primal Fear. Worlds Apart also tends to emphasize dynamic shifts in ways that the band’s previous work did not. Combined with the melodicism of the album, this means that guitar leads tend to receive more attention than in the past. See the opener and “Master Of My Destiny” for examples. Symphonics are also paraded a bit on tracks like “Merry Minstrel”, which happens to be an excellent all around song, featuring soaring vocals, biting riffs, and a couple of the finer guitar solos, both relaxed and urgent.
Ultimately, Worlds Apart comes across as a little bit top-heavy. In particular, I find “Spread Your Wings” to be too silly, with a child singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in the introduction, followed by a somewhat trite ballad. Though it does redeem itself somewhat with fine singing, soft songs, alas, are not this band’s strong suit. “Iron Hand” offers redemption, but ultimately “Heart Attack” and the final title track can’t be measured by the same yardstick as the very strong first half.
Slowly and surely, Silent Force grows more adept with each release. Worlds Apart is indicative of the group’s mastery of melodic power metal, and an easy segue into their modern sound. It receives regular play from me, and deserves a place in any power fan’s collection.
Dan’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5