Review Summary: A new progressive power metal band that shows a lot of promise, talent, and creativity, with Where the Road Leads, Earthcry threaten to make one of the most progressive and unique power metal albums of the year.
Progressive power metal is no easy genre to play. In order to make a solid record you have to have all of the following ingredients; technicality, speed, catchiness, an epic sound, good vocals, and creative yet unique material. Where the Road Leads has all of this and much more, so much more that this is a very hard album to truly categorize or label with one or two genre tags. Nevertheless, I shall do my best in explaining this unique band. If you like your metal progressive and different, read on.
While the album still processes all the normal aspects of power metal such as catchy choruses and speedy riffs, Earthcry do as much as they possibly can to keep the album varied and unique. One way they accomplish this is by giving the album an orchestral and symphonic feel, as each and every instrumental part seems calculated and carefully placed with the utmost care, and the album also features a carefully measured amount of keyboards and synthesizers. Despite the more symphonic and orchestral styles used here, the band still have a very heavy approach to song writing when they need to. Another unique aspect of this album is the bands ability to keep everything fresh and new sounding. All of the tracks sound different from each other and the instrumentals show very little repetition, with extremely varied riffs, drum parts and bass lines. Solos are without a doubt a huge positive for this band, as the guitarist shows a lot of talent and technical proficiency. The vocals are also unique in that the band utilizes the talents of four different guests vocalists for the whole album, the most notable being Damian Wilson of Threshold and Oliver Hartmann. On top of all of this, this album has surprisingly good production for a debut effort, as the guitars sound decidedly angry, and the bass lines are audible.
While a lot of the material utilizes catchy choruses and memorable guitar riffs, there aren’t really any stand-alone tracks here. This is an album where all the tracks work together, in other words you have to hear the whole album to fairly judge any one song. While this may not be a problem because each track sounds different form the last, you still get a sense that the album can sound disjointed or even jumbled together at some point. This is due to the varied sound the band possesses. They have speedy and heavy hitting songs, mid-tempo offerings, as well as a couple ballad-like songs here and there, and sometimes all three in one song. This gives a varied yet confusing experience upon your first listen. The tracks tend to be of the longer variety as well, with the album clocking in at a whopping 62 minutes, so this can be a lot to wrap your head around and may require more than a couple listens for you brain to properly digest the album.
With all that said, this is sure to be one of the most unique metal albums of the year. There is so much going on in any given track that one song from these guys has more musical styles and tempo changes than an average band’s entire album. If you like power metal and progressive metal, you MUST check these guys out. This is a young band with lots of potential, and I eagerly await their next release.