Forces of Nature
This is a neo-classical metal outfit with varied inspirations and quite a multi-national cast. Vitalij Kuprij, the Ukranian keyboardist, seems to constitute the core of Artension; hence the music is keyboard-driven in general, but the twist comes from the Malmstein-esque guitar work by Roger Staffelbach (who is apparently Swiss) and the drummer, Shane Gaalaas, who pummels as if there’s no tomorrow! John West’s vocals are pretty good–not powerful enough, I might say, but he gives a punch to most of the songs. If you’re wondering what it sounds like, try a meld of Dream Theater and the eighties’ Rainbow. Recommended for its not-so-common style, musicianship, and songwriting.
Shrapnel Records, P.O.Box P, Novato, CA 94948; http://www.shrapnelrecords.com/