Saturday, July 19, 2003

Review: Wycked Synn - The Vision (2003)

Wycked Synn [ MySpace ]
The Vision
Chavis Records

For fans of melodic metal, the mid-'80s were the Golden Age of the genre. Bands such as Dokken, Mötley Crüe, Cinderella, and Ratt were selling out arenas with their guitar-driven harmonies and high-octane vocals. Wycked Synn has reached back in time to record an album that relives the sound of days gone by while incorporating modern power metal elements to create music that is both familiar and fresh.

Founding member Ken Orth is a guitar virtuoso with more than 15 years experience in the heavy metal world. It is clearly evident that his roots are firmly planted in the George Lynch school of shred, as The Vision is packed with blistering solos and tricky rhythms reminiscent of Lynch himself. Ken's thorough understanding of the melodic metal genre is clear, taking into consideration the fact that he tracked all of the instruments himself.

The Vision is a loose concept album that follows a man's suffering as he faces the consequences of making bad decisions in life. Gary Grant, who recorded the vocals after all of the instruments had already been tracked, delivers the lyrics with gripping emotion and remarkable range. Sounding at times like Dave King of Fastway and very early Vince Neil, Grant certainly has a sound all his own but perfectly at home in the style of metal produced by Wycked Synn. The first song to stand out is the title track. The driving riffs reminded me of Night Songs-era Cinderella, yet Ken pours in his creativity by incorporating furious power metal shredding and elegant keyboards. Next up is "Let It Rain", a strong power ballad featuring a duet with an unknown female singer who has a voice similar to Lita Ford. Since I received a promo copy with no liner notes, I can't say exactly who the voice belongs to but hopefully the full album will shed some light on the subject. In the tradition of Yngwie, "K.M.A." is an instrumental tune showcasing Orth's considerable skill with the six-string. Whereas some guitar "heroes" seem to lose their listeners in these situations, Ken's soaring and dipping leads mesh perfectly with the rest of the instrumentation. "In My Mind" is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, with forceful riffs and pummeling double-bass.

All-in-all The Vision is a solid album of melodic metal done '80s style. The production is excellent and there isn't a song on the album that I'd consider to be filler. Some can argue that this style of metal is dated, but as evidenced by the multitude of "reunion" tours that have criss-crossed the country in the past couple of years I would say there is definitely a market for it - especially an album as fresh and flawless as The Vision.

Track Listing
1 Into The Darkness
2 Tell The Tale
3 The Vision
4 Let It Rain
5 If You Said Goodbye
6 Evil Ways
7 K.M.A.
8 Til The End
9 In My Mind
10 Unchosen Path
11 The Savior

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