Shear - Breaking The Stillness

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Breaking the Stillness is the debut album from melodic/progressive metal band Shear, from Finland. With a pretty rich sounding keyboard accompanying an otherwise familiar progressive metal sound, Shear bring a certain '80s melodic rock flavour to a style that has suggestions of Evergrey and Symphony X. In fact, if you were to take Russell Allen or Tom S. Englund and do a quick gender switch, they might sound a bit like Alexa Leroux. Not that Alexa actually sounds like either of those – she still sounds very feminine – but the ability, melody lines, emotional power and rich timbre is definitely comparable. Her voice is persistently powerful and soulful, carrying the lead role superbly. The rest of the band follow suit, and whilst there is a certain melodic rock charm to the band's music, it is the comparisons to the prog-metal heavyweights that rings most true after repeat listens. The compositions are really intricate and layered, with plenty of real prog-rock riffs and tight, skillful performances from all involved. The melodies are good even if they aren't necessarily catchy – like many other progressive metal bands the melodies are sometimes a bit subtle, really shining when the more emotional side of the pieces is more apparent (best shown on closer Be Here Now). Certainly those expecting easy-going female-fronted metal will enjoy, as it is heavy on melody and has a good hook or two, but it would be a shame if progressive metal fans were quick to dismiss the album on such grounds, as it really belongs alongside the likes of Pagan's Mind, Evergrey, etc. Hopefully people will realise that.

Written by James Donovan
More: 2012, Albums, Female-fronted, Progressive, Quick.Play Reviews,

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