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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Wycked Synn - 2003 The Vision
Wycked Synn - 2003 The Vision

Gary Grant - vocals
Ken Orth - guitars, keyboards
Jerre LeMar - bass
Keith Miller - drums

For the past several months Wycked Synn have been the recipient of a huge marketing campaign from Chavis Records, eagerly pushing 'The Vision' as a major release in the US metal scene, of which the results are now visible. The roots of the album and Wycked Synn are discussed elsewhere on this website, but the main talking point of 'The Vision' has been its similarities to 80's era Dokken, Queensryche and Iron Maiden, comparisons on the mark and unavoidable to mention. This is a view the band themselves have had no problem accepting, as 'The Vision' is an unashamed throwback to the best of 80's power/heavy metal, with a sound many major label acts would be proud of. The delay in the release of the CD is justified in that sense, it's almost impossible to believe this is a debut, so adept is the sound. Remember the days when metal bands debuts were uniformly rough and crude?

The Songs
A brief melodic intro 'Into The Darkness' leads into 'Tell The Tale', which adopts a traditional metal approach, comprised of Iron Maiden like galloping riffs, mixed with crystal clear harmonies and as the bio suggests, 'pulsating drums'. The Queensryche aspect is in full focus during the title track musically, but Grant's vocals are distinctive in his own right giving Synn their own identity instead of just being labeled a copy. 'Let It Rain' is a ballad which manages to rise above becoming too soft, a duet with an unnamed female singing alongside Grant. Orth provides layers of symphonic keyboards as a backdrop, and it takes several minutes for the guitars to kick in, adding some necessary grit to avoid becoming too predictable e.g. rocker followed by ballad etc. If 'Breaking The Chains' era Dokken is your bag then same favour might be found with 'If You Said Goodbye', where Grant hints at Don Dokken's vocal range as does the overall hook, suggesting Dokken as a whole. Much more satisfying is 'Evil Ways', far more immediate with the riff attack, multi layered and more in keeping with late 80's Leatherwolf, straight ahead metal with predominant double drum beats from Miller. 'K.M.A.' works along the same lines, with Orth pulling out tricks from his vast array of guitar skills, a three plus minute instrumental displaying the mans amazing dexterity. This heavier leaning is continued on 'Til The End', which if you force yourself could make you think it is still 1985, it's that well rounded in a retro sense. This ones not unlike 'Thunder In The East' Loudness, commercial chorus, but retaining a ferocious wall of noise. 'Til The End' is a track I had been familar with for some time, and the spitfire riffing hasn't lost its charm in that time, magnified further in its final version. 'The Savior' blazes from the word go, shaming anything Iron Maiden have put out since 1992, direct and fast with immediate impact in the rhythm department, an unrelenting blur of guitar and drumming expertise. Quite a statement to conclude matters on.

In Summary
Most of the noise in power metal comes from Europe currently, something Ken Orth himself admits. Finally the US has a genuine contender to those genre leaders, with an effort perhaps more powerful than many of those. For a debut this is so accomplished, in every facet, that you can't imagine where there is for Wycked Synn to go, except 'up' if there is any justice. Personally I believe Wycked Synn sound at ease with faster and heavier material than the Dokken sounding numbers, tracks six through eleven, a virtual audio onslaught that never gives out to anything resembling mainstream. Nothing forced here, just an exceptional group of musicians with metal running through them and their label. This should be investigated as an alternative to the Euro metal acts hogging the attention as it proves that US metal always has the final say.

Track Listing:
01 Into The Darkness
02 Tell The Tale
03 The Vision
04 Let It Rain
05 If You Said Goodbye
06 Evil Ways
07 K.M.A
08 Til The End
09 In My Mind
10 Unchosen Path
11 The Savior

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