Review Summary: Nothing like soul-soothing hard rock on a sick day...
Today was one of those days where I really didn't feel like being alive. When I woke up this morning it felt like I had just woken up from being run over by a truck. I stumbled to my bus stop half alive only to wait for a bus that was twenty minutes late. I staggered through all four classes, drifting through endless hours of exhaustion, hunger, and the vague feeling of someone slowly drilling holes into my forehead. After long hours of suffering, I crawled through the doorway, dragged myself upstairs and plugged straight into The Battle. On days like this, there's nothing like it.
For those that don't know (everyone), Allen / Lande is a side project of both Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (a whole shitload of bands, like Masterplan). You'd think that when two of the greatest front men of power metal came together they would be writing power metal songs... wrong. Allen / Lande is straight up hard rock, and although the album is littered with way too much filler, the songs that don't suck, are damn good.
You don't have to look very far to get a taste of awesome from "The Battle." The album opens with two unbelievably powerful tracks, "Another Battle" and "Hunter's Night." The actual music of the album isn't terribly good, but considering the guitar, the bass, and the keys are all played by one man: Magnus Karlsson, I think he did his share of the work. Most of the tracks (however weak they may be) are supported by very simple, but powerful power chord riffs and a large number of tracks are kicked off by piano fills. Although not an expert soloist, Magnus does a good enough job on the album to be noteworthy, but anyways...
After a startlingly good opener, The Battle fades into boring mediocrity from about track four to track seven, leaving the listener (me) with about 15 minutes of the blandest filler ever. The truly epic performances don't surface until late in the album, and they are rather scattered about. After the first three tracks, only "My Own Way" and "Where Have the Angels Gone" are worth listening to. The shocking amount of filler is very depressing considering Jorn Lande is one of my favorite vocalists of all time. After becoming enamored with his performance on Avantasia's "Scarecrow" I sought to collect more of his powerful voice, only to be disappointed by Masterplan and again discouraged by The Battle. Although good enough, Jorn really only has two songs worth hearing on "The Battle"
Russell Allen shares Jorn's fate, with a rather weak performance throughout the album and his only shining moment comes in "Hunter's Night," which is indisputably the best track on the album.
In short, The Battle has its ups and downs, and although it is mostly downs, there are some worthy tracks here.
Only tracks worth hearing…
My Own Way
Where Have the Angels Gone
efforts here. Definitely worth looking into if you have the time.