|Musical Style: Melodic Power Metal||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Ulterium||Country Of Origin: Greece|
|Year Released: 2010||Artist Website: InnerWish|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 85%|
When Greece is the topic of conversation what are the first things that come to mind? Spartan warriors and hoplites arrayed in phalanx formation? Thermopylae and the last stand of the 300? What about Marathon or the Peloponnesian War?
In all seriousness, the last subject you would expect discussed is power metal but that is what we have in InnerWish, a talented six piece unit hailing from Athens. Specifically, InnerWish formed in the mid-nineties prior to releasing its full length debut, Waiting For The Dawn, in 1998. Realms Of The Night, a split CD recorded with countrymen Reflection, came out in 2000 while follow up efforts Silent Faces and Inner Strength hit the shelves in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
No Turning Back, the bands spring of 2010 fourth full length album and first on Ulterium Records, brings a melodic power metal sound certain to appeal to fans of Narnia, Rob Rock, Harmony, Majestic Vanguard, Magnitude 9 and Eterna. InnerWish excels at mixing in elements of the epic and symphonic - the abundant vocal melodies on top of the line tracks “Burning Desire”, “Sirens” and “Lawmaker” hint at Theocracy – while showcasing the occasional progressive moment, as can be found on the wondrous “Kingdom Of Our Prime”. Otherwise, the group delivers a commercial metal track, “The Sign Of Our Lives”, along with a couple of faster energy driven numbers, “No Turning Back” and “Save Us”, and a darker mid-paced piece in “Welcome To My World”. Rounding things out is a well done piano driven ballad, “Live For My Own”.
At this point it must be reinforced the heaviness of InnerWish, a testament to the abundant riffs laid down by the guitar team of Thimios Krikos and Manolis Tsigos. The guitar driven crunch contributed by the two is quite impressive. In contrast, you will also find a smoother aspect to InnerWish, reflected in the underlining texture provided by keyboardist George Geogiou. It all adds up to the joining of the heavy and melodic characteristic to the Innerwish sound.
The powerful and emotional vocal abilities of Babis Alexandropoulos deserve mention as well. If I were to invite a direct comparison it might be Leandro Cacoilo (Eterna) or Dale Anthony (Zaxas) in that Alexandropoulos brings a slight Dio-ish feel to his delivery. In other words, the guy is very, very good.
I also appreciate how InnerWish does not overdue it in terms of its instrumental sound. Yes, No Turning Back features its share of tasteful instrumental excursions – that find Thimios and Manolis exhibiting their soloing abilities – but they are always done complementary without extending into the excesses of “progged out” jam band territory. InnerWish kind of reminds me of Wiszdom Stone in this regard.
Production values are as good as it gets. What we have here is one of those flawless mixes in which everything has its proper place, including rhythm guitar (bold and upfront), drums (full sounding presence) and guitar leads (standing out cleanly).
Opening track “The Sign Of Our Lives” is done to perfection. The song represents InnerWish at its best, highlighting a touch of commercial with its infectious chorus but underlining things with a bottom heavy crunch and every bit as pronounced guitar sound. This one deserves to be heard on FM radio everywhere.
“Chosen One” heads in the more riff driven direction. What we have here is a song backing away from some of the bands symphonic intricacies while mixing in aspects of the up-tempo and a determined milieu approaching the tenacious. Alexandropoulos takes a complementary low-key vocal approach.
“Burning Desire” reminds me of Theocracy. With highlighting keyboards leading the way, the song reflects a swarthy feel during its weighty verses only to break out for a prodigious chorus that comes across choir-like in capacity (this is where the Theocracy comparison comes in). An acoustic passage at the halfway point slows things to a crawl.
“No Turning Back” delivers non-stop momentum. The song joins elements of heaviness, its verses are driven by an in your face guitar sound, with smoother touches reflected in the lighter direction taken for its velocity driven chorus. Keyboards, again, are put to good use.
The eerie keyboards at the start of “Sirens” give way to an empowering rhythm guitar backed by symphonic vocal melodies. Slowing to a mid-paced crunch for its strapping verses, the song regains initiative for a regal chorus in which the symphonic vocal melodies return in full form. Once more, Theocracy comes to mind.
Ranking with the albums more energetic pieces, “Save Us” showcases double bass in abundance and an unrelenting tempo that could easily be mistaken for speed metal. The chorus – fast, fleet and hook driven – is executed brilliantly. I can see Sinbreed doing something like this.
More up-tempo and energetic metal can be found in “Last Breath”. What we have here is another good song on an album of good songs, amalgamating a catchy chorus with an inviting stretch of expeditious lead guitar.
The scintillating “Lawmaker” slows things to a mid-paced romp. With the rhythm guitar at the forefront of the mix, the song steadily powers through its verses on the way to a pristine chorus in which the bands resounding vocal melodies again play a predominate role.
“Welcome To My World” brings a dark and aphotic vibe. The song excels with its steadfast and mid-paced fortitude but is put over the top by a hauntingly disconsolate chorus that tapers to a near standstill. A bristling stretch of lead guitar helps this to rank with the albums best.
“Kingdom Of Our Prime” represents the lone excursion into progressive metal territory. The song opens its first minute and a half instrumentally to an almost Middle Eastern flair prior to abruptly picking up in pace as an explosion of vocal melodies takes over. While decelerating upon hitting its strident verses, “Kingdom Of Our Prime” regains impetus for nothing less than an over the top chorus trending towards the sublime. Awesome track.
Everything about “Full Of Lust” speaks of energy: Driven by non-stop double bass and upholding a relentless tempo, the song brings a speedy Euro-style power metal vibe. Some airy keyboards (during its frenetic chorus) help lighten the forceful scene.
Closing things out is “Live For My Own”, a well executed piano driven ballad with a heartfelt feel.
Give InnerWish credit for its performance on No Turning Back. The album proves one of those solid efforts in which it is difficult to come up with something constructive to say. The only thing I might offer is that the band potentially could have cut things to its ten best songs but that is a stretch in that there is not a bad track here. Otherwise, when factoring in the quality of musicianship, vocals and production, this is another high quality effort in what is turning out a very fine year for metal.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “The Signs Of Our Lives” (4:14), “Chosen One” (3:47), “Burning Desires” (4:57), “No Turning Back” (4:12), “Sirens” , “Save Us” (4:58), “Last Breath” (4:55), “Lawmaker” (3:59), “Welcome To My World” (4:30), “Kingdom Of Our Prime” (7:05), “Full Of Lust” (3:45), “Live For My Own” (4:23)
Babis Alexandropoulos – Lead Vocals
Thimios Krikos - Guitars
Manolis Tsigos – Guitars
George Geogiou - Keyboards
Antonis Mazarakis - Bass
Terry Moros - Drums