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Harmony - 2003 Dreaming Awake

Henrik Bath - vocals
Markus Sigfridsson - guitars
Andreas Olsson - bass
Magnus Holmberg - keyboards
Tobias Enbert - drums

Harmony emerged out of the friendship of Markus Sigfridsson and Tobias Enbert, who decided to pursue a common musical vision. To record their demo they needed a singer, and found promising musical student Henrik Bath. After their first and only demo was recorded, and the stacks of positive reviews came rolling in, the guys signed with Massacre Records. Before they could begin on their debut Massacre release, the next step was rounding out the line-up, with Henrik suggesting another music student Magnus Holmberg for keyboards. Harmony then recruited former Stormwind and Narnia bassist Andreas Olsson. Harmony and Narnia seem to be pretty good mates, and it's understandable as they both rock down the neo-classical metal path. Harmony is a little rawer, with a sound reminiscent of early Yngwie J Malmsteen, At Vance and 'Stranger In Us All' era Rainbow. The album is well produced but not overproduced. While I'm not completely certain that Harmony could be called a Christian metal band like Narnia, there is a clear spiritual aspect to their lyrics.

The Songs
As with most neoclassical albums there's an intro track, but Harmony do it a bit differently with Markus and Magnus duelling furiously on 'Into The Afterlife' which leads into 'Eternity', a faced paced At Vance tinged rocker. The title track comes in early on and is the least neoclassical of the tracks, sounding more like Talisman and Cornerstone. A top notch melodic rocker with a very catchy chorus. After the brief interlude 'Fragile' we get a ballad in 'Without You', Quite grandiose, but perhaps a little overblown at 7 minutes. Another interlude precedes the scorching neoclassical rocker 'Fall Of Man'. Great chorus. 'When Shadows Fall' is more reserved and harks back to those 'Stranger' Rainbow days. Without further interludes you can feel Harmony getting into their groove and that is suitably demonstrated on 'Maze Of The Past', showcasing Henrik's potential to be a great vocal talent. Markus stamps his mark with an excellent solo. It is towards the end of the album that you hear Harmony at their best on 'She'. A lush production accentuates this fantastic melodic rocker with first-rate keyboard work from Magnus. Play this loud, very loud!! 'Remember' closes out the album in interesting fashion with a more progressive tone and a crunchier riff.

In Summary
My sentiments regarding Kamelot's latest are echoed here. Get rid of the interludes. The first part of 'Dreaming Awake' is a little sluggish, not due to lack of quality material but being broken up by the short instrumentals. You get a better impression of the band in the latter half of the album where they are completely in harmony with the listener (pun intended). You can understand why Massacre snapped them up after only one demo, and even more credit should go to the label for their newcomer low-price initiative, though 'Dreaming Awake' is worth picking up at full price.

Track Time: 53:37

Track Listing:
01 Into The Afterlife (instr.)
02 Eternity
03 Dreaming Awake
04 Fragile (instr.)
05 Without You
06 The Fall
07 Fall Of Man
08 When Shadows Fall
09 Maze Of The Past
10 She
11 Remember

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