TITAN FORCE - S/T

TITAN FORCE - S/T

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\r\nWhen the word comes to American power metal, it’s hard to ignore one of its monuments, the first and same titled album from Titan Force, which can easily stand among the genre’s top 5 recordings.\r\n

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\r\nEven though the album was released in 1989, the band’s story began long ago, in 1983, at the heart of U.S.A., in Colorado Springs CO, where the Flores brothers, Mario on the guitars, John on the bass and vocals and Stefan on the drums, formed a band called Titan. Their first 4 track demo was released soon after, while a little time later the band recruited Bill Richardson to take over duties as guitarist and keyboardist. However, Titan Force’s real history starts in 1988, when their ranks are joined by vocalist Harry “Tyrant” Conklin, already known as a member of locals Jag Panzer and whom had just left Riot after only a few months with them. With the addition of Conklin, Titan Force acquired an outstanding vocalist, able to give the band the boost and the chance they needed to capitalize on the very good material they had already started to develop.\r\n

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\r\nConfirmation came in the next year when the band, after consecutive efforts and 2 demos, managed at last to cut a deal with a small German label called U.S. Metal Records and release its self titled debut which received critical acclaim by both fans and press of the time, even though their label did little to promote the album due to its limited capabilities. Of course, the album’s quality alone was enough to place Titan Force high in the estimation of fans, as it contains first quality American power metal.\r\n

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\r\nSo, how good is really this album? First of all, there are no fillers. And either the talk comes to the sweeping opener “Chase your dreams” or the mid-tempo “Lord Desire” or even the instrumental “Will O’ The Wisp”, every single track is distinguished by excellent work concerning both composition and execution, while at the same time the songs manage to stick to your brain. Moreover, there is also a bit of a progressive feeling, crawling around the songs and adding to the composition’s depth. Of course, the thing that strikes you on a first listening is Conklin’s flawless performance, the man giving the best of himself, taking his voice to extreme heights (Ι still get chills by his scream in the middle part of “Chase your dreams”…) or lowering it to give a more theatrical tone to sing the notably well-crafted lyrics. As for the music itself, it is very obvious that Titan Force master big technical abilities but at the same time they are able to write great tunes without necessarily sacrificing any power. The guitars deliver a load of powerful harmonies, riffs and solos, while the rhythm section makes itself distinct rather than settle for just accompanying the guitars. Nevertheless, all the above couldn’t give such a special record had it not been for its really great production, which is far from the typical bad 80’s productions that almost condemned to obscurity many great bands of the time. Luckily here the listener can have a recording that is both clear and powerful, giving every instrument its space and letting the musicians elevate their compositive and technical abilities. Besides, a very distinctive point is the bass sound, which can hardly be heard in such sharpness in comparison to other recordings of that time.\r\n

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\r\nThe album may have been praised by fans and critics but unfortunately failed to make any serious impact on commercial terms due to limited promotion, as U.S. Metal Records was not even able to organize a decent tour so that the band could present the album to a wider audience. The same fortune was reserved for the band’s second offering, 1991’s “Winner/Loser” and so, instead of becoming a huge name in the metal scene, Titan Force ended up to be regarded as an obscure or even a cult band. Nonetheless, it still stands as a fact that “Titan Force” remains a milestone for the American power metal and heavy metal in general, a milestone that is surely not going to be surpassed by anyone.\r\n

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\r\nLambros “Metalshock” Panetas
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