Review Summary: Almost flawless, the debut Titan Force album is most likely the best “late ‘80s” heavy/power metal album you haven’t listened to yet.
1983 was a fantastic year for hard rock and heavy metal music. A casual look at the albums released during that year, will prove that they are still considered la crème de la crème for both genres. Albums such as Dio’s Holy Diver
, Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind
, Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All
, Mercyful Fate’s Melissa
, Motley Crue’s Shout At The Devil
, Def Leppard’s Pyromania
, gave metal heads a huge kick in the butt and drove a lot of them into the know of rock n’ roll. It was in that spirit, that three siblings from the fine state of Colorado, Mario (guitars), John (bass) and Stefan Flores (drums) decided to start their own band, initially under the Titan moniker. After a two-track demo, keyboardist/guitarist Bill Richardson came aboard and the band changed its name to Titan Force, yet it was lacking a competent singer to complete the line up. Eventually, the slot was filled by Harry Conklin (known from the metal outfit of Jag Panzer, also hailing from Colorado), who was, at that time, as session musician in Mark Reale’s (R.I.P.) Riot for some live shows. The recruiting of Conklin proved to be an ideal choice, as the debut and eponymous Titan Force album is considered among the highly essential efforts in slipstreaming progressive rock and jazz/fusion elements into ‘80s heavy/power metal.
requires zero warm-up time, in order to be imprinted into the mind and body. This is due to the realization of relatively simple arrangements per song, a seemingly opposing situation to the band’s (more than) obvious top notch musicianship. Despite its apparent simplicity, the album’s music is highly diverse per se, memorable and uplifting, whereas it could easily stand on its own in an instrumental album. Titan Force are revolving around the inherent alphabet of late ‘80s US heavy/power metal and slipstream in it, a well received amount of progressive rock and jazz/fusion elements. The latter make an appearance for themselves namely in the form of discrete yet captivating synths, highly technical but essential lead guitar solos and few yet really entertaining interplays between the two poles of the rhythm section.
In view of the previously described musical background, vocalist Harry Conklin is being given all the room needed for crafting some of the most mesmerizing vocals ever heard in ‘80s “classic” metal. Throughout the album, Conklin amazes while barely trying, with his stratosphere pitch singing and vibrato capability. However, he does not rest comfortable in the aforementioned attributes in order to perform his task, as he has contributed aplenty to the song writing process. The vocal lines in songs such as “Lord Desire” (probably the album’s best song), “Master of Disguise” or “New Age Rebel” seem to follow the meander-like, adventurous trajectory of Amazon river waters and they assess Conklin as a worthy rival with respect to far more acclaimed metal vocalists of the same kin.
When all is said and done; the first Titan Force album stands as a milestone for ‘80s heavy/power metal with prog rock leanings, and an abundant source of inspiration for the not-too-few 21st century power/progressive metal bands that worship this sound. When compared to its homologous releases, Titan Force
constitutes another link in the chain of awesome US heavy/power albums released near the dusk of the ‘80s by bands such as Oliver Magnum, Lethal, Hittman or Drive, bands that helped in forging a road less travelled for metal at that time, gaining however, little acclaim during their flourishing period.