Level 10: Chapter 1 review

Frontiers Records president Serafino Perugino is at it again. He has a rich history of bringing together metal’s finest to create some of the greatest music in the last two decades and his newest pairing is no exception. For years, Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen and Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner have wanted to work together and with one final push from Perugino it has finally happened.  The band is Level 10 and their debut album is aptly titled Chapter 1. Allen’s voice is in top form and Sinner has offered up his best batch of songs to date. He has also assembled an epic lineup consisting of industry heavyweights Roland Grapow and Alex Beyrodt on guitar, Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards and Randy Black on the drums. With additional musical contributions by the likes of Magnus Karlsson, Ralf Scheepers and Amanda Sommerville it should come as no surprise that tracks like “Cry No More,” “No Turning Back,” “Last Man On Earth” and “Demonized” aren’t far removed from Symphony X, Primal Fear or Adrenaline Mob. At the same time the added percussion in “One way Street” creates an audio tapestry quite unlike anything these distinguished artists have ever done before. While songs like “Voice of The Wilderness,” “The Soul Is Eternal” and “Forevermore” show that Level 10 isn’t just a name, but a battle cry to the volume level at which the album demands to be played. Elsewhere, lead single and video “Blasphemy” is everything vintage symphonic metal should be, while the meticulously executed riffs in “Scream and Shout” recall the power metal greatness of Helloween. Here’s the bottom line- Much like the visual depiction on the cover, Chapter 1 will set your head and mind ablaze. Rating: 8.5/10 -Eric Hunker