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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Stride - 2005 Imagine
Stride - 2005 Imagine

Gary Belin - vocals
Joel Gregoire - guitars
Rick Flores - keyboards
Mike Martin - bass
Matt Kanzler - drums

There has been a buzz about this band for a wee while now. From Texas, Stride have been about ready to explode onto the prog metal scene in a big way, but they lacked one key ingredient: a decent singer. Back in 2001, the band released an instrumental album. It received rave reviews and the band have moved on since then. However, the bands origins go back earlier than that. The catalyst for Stride is guitarist Joel Gregoire, who has had this band in operation since 1988! It is only recently that they have taken off. Bringing onboard a new singer Gary Belin (who vocally is a cross between Geoff Tate, Paul Daniels (Rox Diamond) and Steve Perry) and propelled by their appearance at Prog Power VI (2004), the band have literally cooked up a storm! Around about that time they signed a deal with Sensory Music (a division of Lasers Edge), their debut 'Imagine' released a year later in September 2005. Yes it's prog metal, but 'Imagine' is oversoaked in melody.. delicious layers thereof. Whether it is guitars, keyboards, or the bombastic rhythm section, this band has something for everyone. On the prog side they combine Dream Theater and Magnitude Nine, and on the hard rock side a combination of Journey and Queensryche. Those four reference points deliver chops with technical precision, and so it is with Stride, who do them all proud. With Belin at the forefront, the band can now deliver on their promise with a singer who can carry the sound even further.

The Songs
The band give us nine tracks at just over 50 minutes. Graceful keyboards lead us on our way with the title track 'Imagine', before falling headlong into a mesmerizing metallic storm. This one sounds like Rox Diamond doing prog metal. Now there's a thought! The first of many insane keyboard solos by ivory-master Rick Flores appears on this track. One of the album highlights for me is 'Alive', the duelling guitars and keyboards, plus the mid-tempo then faster passages all tell-tale signs of a band at the peak of their powers. Perhaps the best representation of Stride is on the track 'Face The Day'. Here the many inspirational influences of the band are drawn out to perfection. Think Magnitude Nine on steroids and this is it! Ending off the album is the part ballad/part rocker 'Time'. The piano passages reflect the band's sensitivity, but they also know how to cut sharp at a moments notice with some razor edge riffing through the middle stages. A couple of instrumentals as well ('Endeavour To Persevere' and 'Ion Drive') demonstrate the band at full musical tilt.

In Summary
This band can only go upwards. Back-to-back appearances at Prog Power have put these guys on the map with American audiences. Local Houston-ites got to see the band share the stage with Bon Jovi on their recent 2006 USA tour, but it is in Europe where this band really need to strike it big, as the scene over there is huge. Judging by what we've heard so far with this album, it shouldn't be too difficult to imagine Stride amassing huge popularity over in Europe. Stride come highly recommended to all melodic rockers and metallers!!


Track Listing:
01 Imagine
02 Alive
03 Endeavor To Persevere
04 How Far
05 Role Model
06 The Waiting
07 Ion Drive
08 Face The Day
09 Time


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