Harmony - _Chapter II: Aftermath_
(Ulterium Records, 2008)
by: Paul Williams (8 out of 10)
Bands such as Symphony X and Firewind have never been able to hold my attention for too long because of the seemingly egotistical guitar wankery that tends to run amok through out ever song. This is why I was weary of Harmony's _Chapter II: Aftermath_ when I first received it, as I had a fear that these Swedes would succumb to the typical power / prog metal dilemma of force feeding the demented shredding of a maniacal, yet "genial" guitar virtuoso to its listeners.

Quick they were to put my fears to rest with the heavy hitting and chunky "Prevail", which has a fantastic rhythm to it and an actual riff that doesn't just stay around for a couple of seconds but for virtually the whole song, with only the guitar solo to really show what talents the guitarist actually has. Due to the fact that the listener isn't having his/her face melted by some finger flailing solo, there is a release of a tension of sorts that allows for the listener to actually find out what the rest of the band is up to. The singing is top notch, with particularly high notes being reached, and it is able to retain the emotion in it which does justice to the lyrics and melodies through out the album, with the notable performance on "Rain".

Drumming wise the beats are very one dimensional, in the sense of what is needed is done but nothing mind blowing is carried out. A surprise which needs mentioning is the fact that you can actually hear the bass guitar, even though it is a tad low. This inclusion of the bass sound is definitely an upside to Harmony's sound, as it just makes it that more durable, with beats and riffs tending to stick in your head more as with "Aftermath" and "Don't Turn Away".

With songs that are, at times, intense ("Inner Peace"), technical ("Hollow") and heart wrenching ("Silently We Fade"), _Chapter II: Aftermath_ is a great album that can deal with multiple listens by just being so damn catchy and providing some caustic riffs to bang your head and pump your fists.

Contact: http://www.harmonymetal.net/

(article published 18/7/2009)

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