Hailing from Germany, progressive power metallers Ivory Tower have recently released their self-titled debut album (not counting an album when they were still called, cornily, Ax'n' Sex). "Ivory Tower" features eight tracks of quite varied styles, ranging from the tad superfluous ballad "Spring" to rather more heavy songs like "Alive". Ivory Tower certainly seem unafraid to go for unconventional paths, especially judging by the presence of a John Miles cover, "Music" (...was my first love, remember?). Especially because the singer can't really handle the high bits :-). Other than that, however, Ivory Tower plays solid progressive metal that peaks in songs like "Falling Leaves" and "She", as well as the 14+ minute closer, "Blinded". Vocally, the songs are coloured by vocalist Andre Fischer's excellent voice (although sometimes he seems to sound a bit, well, tired).

"Ivory Tower" is a fine prog metal album, though perhaps the bass drums and the keyboards could have been a bit more in front of the mix. But that's splitting hairs.



Written October 1998


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