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On disc: James Byrd's Atlantis Rising

Beyond The Pillars - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Beyond The Pillars

Beyond The Pillars
(Lion Music - 2011)

Guitarist James Byrd left Fifth Angel and some songs he wrote for Fifth Angel in 1987 are now see the light of day at Beyond The Pillars. The album offers 14 tracks and 7 of them are 'lost' ones. The other 7 tracks fans will recognize as they were released on James Byrd's solo debut, but different recordings. The versions you get here are the original masters which singer Freddy Krumins incidentally found in a box with old tapes. As the songs been recorded in the late 80's the sound quality can't be compared with nowadays recordings, at least not professional ones, but metal fans who still listen to their old vinyls and CDs of that time won't be disappointed. Especially fans of Fifth Angel and James Byrd's Atlantis Rising this is a real treat, coz the songs from the Atlantis Rising album are heavier and rawer - authentic. Mr. Byrd mixed up the songs a bit and it's obvious that they were done at the same time.

Waiting In The Shadows sticks out a bit, but it still shows Byrd's significant guitar play - this time in a dramatic and dark tune. The atmosphere of the song reminds me a bit of Mercyful Fate, but surely musical this is different. Another track which offers something different is Angel Of Mercy which some might know from the Atlantis Rising album, but the ballad gives Freddy Krumins the chance to show more of his emotional side. Acoustic guitar and vocals is what dominates this one. One of my favorites is Stranger In The Night, a mid-paced track with great guitar play and expressive vocals. Another highlight is the power ballad Gotta Find You due to Krumins' vocal performance.
The closer is an instrumental piece called Requiem Atlantis which gives James Byrd more space to show his talent, but don't expect just shredding! He cites some classical piece and then moves on into his own musical universe.

Well, metal fans who never really got into the late 80's sound, won't get into this album, but everybody who loved Fifth Angel and similar bands will fall for it! Thanks for releasing this piece of music!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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