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Tyranny Of Hours
April 2013
Released: 2013, Independent
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

I think something might be brewing in Portland, Oregon. Tyranny of Hours is a female-fronted symphonic metal band, with plenty of progressive tendencies mixed in. They are the second female-fronted metal band I have reviewed from Portland in less than a year, the other being the promising Cry For Eden. Portland does not conjure images of a vibrant metal scene, so not surprisingly Tyranny of Hours enlisted Cry For Eden’s James Borst on keyboards, repaying the debt owed to TOH guitarist and co-founder Dan Graham, who played some guitar parts on Cry For Eden’s debut album. Formed in 2010, Tyranny of Hours has spent two years putting together their self-titled debut album and it shows. The packaging is top notch, with the album art being particularly inspirational.

The band is fully aware of the saturated genre they are wading into, stating in their promotional material, ““Tyranny of Hours” will be released April 5, 2013 and is poised to enter the fray and earn a name on the crowded battlefield of Female-Fronted Metal bands.” Cognizant and undaunted makes a potent combination, and TOH has delivered. Michelle Mattair versatile vocals and creative melodies are delivered with a balanced dose of bombast and vibrato, able to hit higher notes but equally adept at utilizing a lower range as well. After a brief opener, “Above The Salt” showcases Mattair’s skills, but also the bands. A heavy and progressive riff is accompanied by some complex and driving percussion work from Larry London. Musically, the entire band is gifted, but I found myself drawn again and again to London’s amazing drumming. To my ears, he is the secret weapon for TOH. “Amber” is probably the album’s signature track, fusing elements of Nightwish, with Lacuna Coil’s penchant for heavy staccato chords and riffs. In certain European countries, this tune would be a guaranteed hit.

One thing that is immediately apparent is the outstanding production, unusual for an independent release and another reflection of the attention to detail on this album. Another striking feature is the often unexpectedly heavy riffs, giving the music some bite when combined with the thunder cannons of London, as the opening to “Legacy” attests. Most impressively, this does not sound like a debut album, but rather a band into their second or third album. I guess the only slight misgiving I have is whether this going to be enough for them to carve a niche in a genre that is legion because let’s face it; the competition is stiff. That my friends, is a question only time will answer but there is no arguing that Tyranny of Hours have put their best foot forward in their initial step towards making a name for themselves. This is recommended for fans of Dream Theater, Touchstone, Nightwish, and Epica.
Track Listing

1) What is Free

2) Above The Salt

3) Amber

4) Legacy

5) A Breath With Peace

6) The Hapless Wand

7) Transvaal Sphere

8) Vain Hope

9) The Warm

10) The Path That Lies Apart

11) Dark Symphony


Michelle Mattair -Vocals
Don Graham - Guitars
James Borst - Keyboards
Larry London - Drums
Jordan Harrington - Bass

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by Erich

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