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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Balance Of Power - 2003 Heathen Machine
Balance Of Power - 2003 Heathen Machine

John K - vocals
Pete Southern - guitars
Bill Yates - guitars
Tony Ritchie - bass
Lionel Hicks - drums;

I've had a love/hate affair with Balance Of Power. There's no doubting their talent or ability to write catchy, memorable melodic prog metal. My main two main concerns in the past have been; a) their vocalists; b) the production. Tony Ritchie didn't do it for me on their debut, and I found Lance King's vocals too high pitched for the material. Production wise, and unfortunately I have to say the same for 'Heathen Machine', the drums sound tinny and too mechanical. I wouldn't say they sound like a drum machine, but there is a lack of feeling. Anyway, that's my opinion. Vocally, Heathen Machine features the debut of BOP's third, and to date, best vocalist. John K has a lower range which is much more pleasing to the ear. He can still hit the high notes if necessary. There's no point fixing something that isn't broken, so BOP have kept to the tried and true formula that we've come to expect. Perhaps a little darker in places. Pete and Bill are still monsters on their guitars. It's their tone that is one of BOP's most distinctive features. The riffs are once again as crunchy as a cracker and the lead breaks are very melodic.

The Songs
Though they've finally found a fitting vocalist, there hasn't been much ground gained since 'Perfect Balance'. I'm not saying they should have made huge strides, but I get a feeling of treading water with 'Heathen Machine'. The songs are all solid, but nothing gives you a good wake up call. And those damn drums don't help either.

In Summary
There's no reason for BOP fans to be worried by my comments. Yeah, they're a little harsh. However, the band are still doing what they do well and John K is a definite improvement on vocals. Perhaps next time a new hand should twiddle the production knobs. For the fans it is business as usual from Balance of Power.

Produced by: Lionel Hicks

Track Listing:
01 The Rising
02 Heathen Machine
03 I Wish You Were Here
04 Chemical Imbalance
05 No Place Like Home
06 The Eyes Of All The World
07 Just Before You Leave
08 Wake Up Call
09 Necessary Evil

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