Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: January 23rd, 2014
Genre: Heavy Metal
Russell Allen – Lead & Backing Vocals
Mat Sinner – Bass & Backing Vocals
Roland Grapow – Guitars
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Randy Black – Drums & Percussion
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards
Cry No More
Soul Of A Warrior
When The Nighttime Comes
One Way Street
Last Man On Earth
In For The Kill
Voice Of The Wilderness
All Hope Is Gone
The Soul Is Eternal
I suppose the term “super group” gets over used from time to time. Just because you put a band together with musicians from other bands doesn’t always make you a super group. And it doesn’t always ensure that the release will live up to the musician’s collective talent, either. Over the past few decades there have been many instances where some upper level musicians have melted their talent together hoping for something spectacular. It just doesn’t always work out. Maybe that’s on the listener. Whenever I hear that some very talented musicians are getting together, especially when those musicians are ones I like or are from bands I like, I always expect the results to be awesome. And maybe that’s just too much for me to always expect.
The latest example of a super group is Level 10. Let’s start with the two main players in the formation of the band. First, there’s Russell Allen, the great vocalist of Symphony X. That’s a great start to any band. Then add bassist/producer/writer Mat Sinner, who is very well known in the German heavy metal scene, and you’re well on your way to a super group. Both had met a few times over the years and they swore they would find the time to work together. Well, it wasn’t until Frontiers President, Serafino Perugino, got the two together and committed to a new project that things started to roll. Sinner wasted no time and no effort in surrounding himself and Allen with some great support. First, there’s Randy Black (drums) and Alex Beyrodt (guitar) of Primal Fear. Add to them Roland Grapow (guitar) formerly of Helloween and Alessando Del Vecchio (keyboards) of Hardline and you have a pretty impressive group. It doesn’t stop there, though. On the songwriting side, besides the band members, there’s Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Carsten Schulz, Ralph Scheepers (Primal Fear, Gamma Ray), Johann Fiegl, Sander Gommans, and the super talented Amanda Somerville.
Chapter 1 is the name of the bands first release. If you’re expecting to hear a Symphony X cd, or a Helloween cd, or a new Hardline cd you’ll be disappointed. Chapter 1 takes a little bit of each member’s band and melts it together resulting in at times a hard rock cd and at other times a pure heavy metal cd. If anything it sounds like a harder, heavier version of Hardline. But not always. The songs are relatively diverse, as diverse as you can get and remain in the hard rock/heavy metal vein. Cry No More gets things started in a straight up rock/metal fashion. Soul Of A Warrior has a little bit of a dark, almost a little progressive, vibe to it. No Turning Back is another typical rock/metal song. One Way Street has a heavier Bad Company feel to it. Blasphemy is a heavy Symphony X-esque song. Scream And Shout is a rocking power metal song. All Hope Is Gone is the closest example of a ballad with its beautiful piano parts. With these examples you can see the diversity on Chapter 1. And there are 2 main constants that run the entirety of the cd. One is Allen’s unmistakable voice. The other is the guitar work of Grapow and Beyrodt, which is spectacular. Not all the songs are great but the guitar playing on each song is.
Basically, this cd falls in the “I was expecting more” category. Chapter 1 is a very good metal record from start to finish with a couple average moments but with more than a few moments of brilliance. Those moments of brilliance manifest themselves in the form of songs such as Blasphemy, Soul Of A Warrior and All Hope Is Gone and the guitar playing throughout. With all the great talent pooled together I was expecting to hear something worthy of a 9 rating. I just can’t go that high.
Written by Jeff Dupas