Intro - Premonition
One Twenty
The Winged
War Of Angels
Seeds Of Betrayal
The Skull Of Sidon
Inside Torment
Collision Of Destinies
Autumnheart
Path Of The Dark
Your Final Breath
The Way The Rivers Flow (bonus)
Sean Hetherington (Vocals)
Nick Palmer (Guitars)
Dave Peak (Guitars)
Adrian Lambert (Bass)
Neil Ablard (Drums)


Guest Musicians

Karl Groom (Keys)
Phil Wickens (Additional Keys)
Kara Sultan (Backing Vocals)

 


INTENSE : "Second Sight"           intense               Underground Symphony Records   

Recorded at Thin Ice Studios, Surrey UK, Spring 2003
Engineered and produced by Karl Groom
(THRESHOLD)
Mastered by Rob Aubrey at Aubit studios, Hants UK, June 2003
Artwork by J.P. Fournier


review  by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo____   

 


Finally the proper Dark Power i was looking for, mixed with Melodic Rock, charming acoustic sounds, slight choruses and keys, sorrowful piano's and Iron Maiden influences. Intense know when to push on heavy and deep guitaring/drumming, and when  to be melodic and more obscure. Though i can suppose that the iron squadrons of Power Metallers would prefer more anthemic propulsion, i think that this is the right direction for the genre, and however a promise for the booming scene in England, proposed with awesome technique. 


UK Power Metal: it is quickly growing (just consider  acts like  Dragonforce, Power Quest,  Threshold and Mercury Rain) and is kicking ass (just consider that it is known that i'm  no fan  of the genre but i gladly  note this success down).  Intense, whose moniker delivers well in one single word the main characteristic of their music, mix  their  anthemic attitude with  cool insertions of Dark melodies.   Rock guitar arrangements, that makes us think of Iron Maiden, free their music from the trite schemes of the style. Though  able to follow the sancta sanctorum of European continental standards and able to attract the two widest eagles' nests Germany and Italy, Intense  summon much darkness and a handful of harmonic atmospheres.  Intense are on the way to become definitely  one of the most interesting English Power bands,  but with much flair and sorrowful constitution in their steel. Vocalist Sean Hetherington has been  able to regroup and re-enforce the group and Second Sight (Intense's second album) is finally the return recently released, soaked with dark tonalities, at once very pleasant for my ears . 

Intense attacks  range from controlled and smoothered  smokes of feelings to very heavy and furious crashes. Sean's vocals are very clear but strong and dynamic, never highpitched, really enjoyable. Intense are NO happy, though animated by hymnic attitude, their Power offers moments of  gloomy charming affliction, intense acoustic sound, tight bass lines, melodies that rock and lively virtuoso solo's with excellent technique.  

Among the song, the instrumental opener Premonition is full of dark tones, it begins slow and melodic   with a leading piano. It will then open up an uptempo riffage in typical anthemic progression but without loosing that feeling of foggy "tristesse", fading into the lively and energetic One Twenty , which delivers varied riffs,  scales and sparkling solos. The level remains launched high with The Winged with its wide  horizons, its effortless catchy galloping rhythm, it full speed lead solos, its layers  that just slightly remind of Iron Maiden, sensation underlined and strengthened by some vocal timbres.

War of Angels is mind blowing heaviness and  machine gun percussion with a measured key drop, the slow passages cadence and give intensity to the charge. Silvery solos.

Helped by  orchestral supports , Seeds of Betrayal,  delivers a semi-acoustic extremely intense guitaring  la Metallica (Master of Puppets era); after a slower  first part , verse and refrain are repeated with higher speed and force just for slowing down semi acoustically again with thin sidereal echoes.

The Skull of Sidon id a mid tempo Rock in which Iron maiden influences appear stronger, but the   rolling revolving rhythmic is very fresh and addictive. I'm sure that this song appeal Hard Rock as well Power and Melodic Metallers, and will cast a kind of spell on the Dark sects of Melodic Death and Thrash too.

A short acoustic intro that pave the way for  energetic round melody and rhythm which  makes us feel in full Melodic Middle Europe with the notes of the emotional Inside Torment, my fav song : again a spell on Rockers and Metallers , coming from varied roots

Guitar arrangements in full Iron Maiden style opens the uptempo Collision of Destinies, that goes on with dark emphasis. Autumnheart is a strong ballade with cracking riffs and virtuoso use of acoustic strings and much sorrow, a little gem in its genre. Solemn and chasing is Path of the Dark.

Power metallers of steel more used to (sometimes exaggerated) sudden  variation's and even more anthemic and hymnic glory of the brave, will find , at a first impact, this Second Sight a bit chained up to its dark tonalities and may invoke more diversity, but Second Sight, that appears already catchy and sympathetic at a first impact, can be fully appreciated after a couple of listening's , while, on the contrary, those who like also Melodic Rock  and Melodic Metal will be very content with this album. Intense's music  is  indeed very subtle too concerning appeal and seduction!

Intense see a busy year ahead of them, and this is surely well deserved. They will also co- headline dates in UK with PowerQuest and will take part of the mythical Bloodstock in September.  A reason more in order to take album and ..flight! Eagles of Europe, it's time for you to cross the Channel , and better if together with some dark raven...  

Rating: 8.5/10

 

dalia di giacomo    31/05/2004
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