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Album Reviews : Masterstroke – Sleep

By on May 31, 2008

After the bands first label filed for bankruptcy, Finland’s Masterstroke failed to gain any success or knowledge of the band through the release (only in Russia and Japan) of their debut album titled ‘Apocalypse’. However, with the switch across to Dynamic Arts Records, this Finnish quintet has risen well up the ranks in the Heavy Metal Scene of this day with their second full length ‘Sleep’.

There are plenty of catchy melodies – of which one simply expects in a power metal album, however when the band puts their foot down and speeds up proceedings, this is where their quality really shines through and transforms the songs with a more classic heavy metal vibe. Thankfully the keyboard is played in a more subtle manner, as opposed to fellow Finns Sonata Arctica and the like.

Putting aside the somewhat out of place intro track, there are two major strengths in this album. The first one is the fantastic production quality of the record, which delivers the music with clarity and detail in the guitars. The second is Niko Rauhala vocal range and control. His vocals remind me of Vanishing Point’s Silvio Massaro’s, although with a harsher feel to them. The one issue I will pick on this album is that a bit more overall variety wouldn’t go astray.

For Power Metal with a little less estrogen than normal, Masterstroke is your band, and ‘Sleep’ is your album. 7.5/10

Sounds Like: The moment just before your taste in metal changes from Power to Melodic Death.

Band: Masterstroke
Album: Sleep
Year: 2007
Genre: Heavy Metal/Death Metal
Label: Dynamic Arts Records
Origin: Finland
www.myspace.com/masterstrokefinland

Track Listing:
1. Transition
2. Killing Creatures
3. Turn Away
4. Under Our Command
5. Another Failure (Reviewers Choice)
6. Circle
7. Being Me
8. Sleep
9. Silent
10. Final Journey

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