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Distant Thunder- Welcome to the End

Label: Massacre Records
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Boy these guys from Seven Witches, and for that matter Symphony X, sure do keep busy. First Jack Frost puts out a solo album, then his singer James Rivera releases Distant Thunder, all while working on the newest Seven Witches release due later this year. Note Jack Frost also produced and engineered the disc.

The music is not Seven Witches, and nothing like Symphony X. It does start with a very European flavor for “The Day Upon You” and what we have come to expect from that style. What follows is more related to Jame’s old outfit Helstar who were a band instrumental in creating early Progressive Power Metal in the 80’s.

“Hopeless Creator” is an example of Helstar’s influence, just take notice of those guitar harmonies. Wow, “Fire in the Skies” starts off so much like a Helstar arrangement it could fit perfectly on their classic album “Distant Thunder” and benefits from having Symphony X’s Mike Lepond on bass, he captured that magic perfectly. Sometimes instrumentals act as filler but the aptly titled “Distant Thunder” with its Maidenish gallop and leads fits keeping the listener interested. There is also a rerecording of the early Helstar tune “Run With The Pack”, receiving a beafing up and updated feel.

James as always utilizes his vocal range, never over blowing anything, adding glass breaking falsettos to darker, almost Black Metal tones. This Distant Thunder project easily will satisfy the appetite for those who miss Helstar and will find this fits nicely into their catalogue.
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