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Album Review : Starbreaker / Dysphoria

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Former TNT Frontman” Tony Harnell” has decided to get together once again with Primal Fear guitarist “Magnus Karlsson” for album number three under the Starbreaker banner, with 2nd album 2008,s “Loves Dying Wish” being a particular highlight of mine from all of Harnells work that he has put his name to over the years. Following on from Harnells departure from TNT in 2017 one of rocks finest vocalists is now back doing what he does best, keeping his legions of fans contented with some fresh material.

Opening track “Pure Evil” comes blasting out the speakers like its title suggests, with double kick drums and a vibe that sounds like vintage “Helloween” the vocals soar high into the stratosphere and the power/melodic guitar is pretty jaw dropping as the song careers along at 100 MPH although extremely heavy with riffs left, right and centre its still displays a fine controlled melodic vibe.

“Wild Butterflies” slows the pace down considerably but still maintains that heavy crunch of thumping drums and huge guitars, I get the impression with the way that “Harnell” is attacking his vocals on this album he is out to prove a point and this song in question being quiet simply a master class in vocal delivery a very impressive semi ballad indeed.

“Beautiful One” with its soft piano intro and gentle violins heralds the mellow soft side of the group with a lovely flowing feel that is captivating and at times haunting, but the listener can just feel it building and building until nearly the 3 minute mark when the drums kick in and “Karlsson,s” guitar just peels off a contrasting heavy as you like solo before cascading back to just a solo vocal and simple fade out. I don’t say this as a exaggeration but you have to listen to “Harnell” on this track because I have not heard a more polished delivery from any vocalist in a very long time.

“Fire Away” with its back bone of keyboards and backing vocals has a solid groove with peaks and troughs tempo wise and a catchy chorus and “Karlsson” taking centre stage with some fluent soloing, This song incorporates so many different styles of power / soft, which makes it all the more entertaining.

The group have hit a winning formula and most importantly a entertaining formula everything just works on this release and “Harnell / Karlsson” compliment each others styles perfectly.

“Starbreaker” the classic “Judas Priest” song and I presume where the group lifted their name from ? is added to this release and is performed at the same pace as the original but with more aggression and is there not to be taken too seriously with vocals that are somewhere up there between Mercury and Mars, Its nice when you get a group in the studio who are most probably just having a warm up or a Jam session and decide the track their messing around with why not just stick it on the album ? It just displays the simple but affective approach to music that sadly many bands lack..

Having played this album from begining to end it really does not disappoint, with title track “Dysphoria” starting like a “Nightwish” song before racing along and easily becoming one of the most enjoyable

tracks on this release,with it being the nearest the band have got to a epic track and deserves to be the title 0f this superb CD.

With so many positives to be taken from this fine album I would highly recommend this to any fans of classic “Helloween” with a touch of “Pretty Maids” thrown in for good measure, this is what hard rock is all about. With a fresh sounding modern production this ticks all the boxes for me.

Review by Steve Bruty


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