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Ivory Tower - 'Stronger' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 27, 2020    
 
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Progressive Power Metal acolytes need this and they need it right now.

No matter how many bands you hear there are still some surprises left out there to discover and none more so for me than Germany's Ivory Tower. The very fact that I've barely heard a whisper of their name across the twenty-plus years of their existence would suggest that either this group don't like to make much of a fuss or, put simply, they haven't been up to all that much. 'Stronger' is the band's fifth release and smack me about the head with a side of mutton if it isn't a bloody barnstormer. Sitting on the Power Metal end of the Progressive scale, this is a group who, on this evidence, have a clear idea of exactly what they're all about, and while there's no point denying that they borrow a slice of Pagan's Mind here, an atmospheric blast of Queensrÿche there and the merest smidgen of the ubiquitous Dream Theater when the need arises, Ivory Tower have the confidence to just get on with making bristling tracks like 'Loser' the clear winner that it undoubtedly is.

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Singer Dirk Meyer plays a big part in ensuring that while Ivory Tower don't exactly come across as the most divergently different band out there, neither do they simply sound like the many other copycats over-populating this musical arena, his aggressive rasp counterbalanced with a soaring, refined range that marks him out as a serious contender. That he's just as convincing when he adds a snarl to proceedings is to his credit and something not wasted by the enigmatic, energetic guitar display from Sven Böge, who is just as likely to provide the intricacies of the Classical clean instrumental 'Flight Of The Dragon' as he is the rip-roaring riff of 'In Me' which positively brims over with a thoroughly enthralling bombastic pomposity.

With a willingness to add light and dark throughout via constant and clever pace changes, the only complaint I can find is the six minutes of silence that follows album closer 'One Day' before twenty seconds or so of waffling (in German, it may be very profound but I can't tell) brings proceedings to a rather needless end. That this really is the lone single gripe about 'Stronger' should hopefully tell you just how good it is. Progressive Power Metal acolytes need this and they need it right now.

Steven Reid

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