INTENSE - The Shape Of Rage

Intense - The Shape Of Rage

9 songs
51:38 minutes
***** ***
Pure Legend


Intense are from England, but you don’t often come across power metal bands that sound more American. The quintet was founded back in 1991, but they took things slowly at first. They released eight demos before they finally decided to come up with their debut album in 2004. The Shape Of Rage is their third album and also the first one I have heard of them.

The opener Anubis is an exceptional smasher where the balance between melodic and powerful elements is just right. This is also one of the album’s strongest songs, but don’t most bands start their records that way? Don’t worry though, because also the remaining material is very much listenable. Especially the excellent interaction of the two guitars is driving the songs forward, allowing comparisons to Nevermore, Iced Earth and also older bands like Omen. Occasionally the band is acting in a more complex way by adding progressive metal components. Fans of Symphony X and Kamelot should have a lot of fun with the album’s title track. Another strength is vocalist Sean Heatherington who has a very firm voice that puts its stamp on the music. Maybe the vocals are sometimes too upfront in the mix, but they are definitely quite striking. This may not be a stylistic match, but they remind me of Candlemass’ Messiah Marcolin. I only have my difficulties with some of the mid-tempo parts that are not always as thought through as I might like. The semi-ballad For The Fallen doesn’t really pick up pace, and the eight minute long Skull Of Sidon II, despite a sufficient amount of strong moments, suffers from a weak beginning.

Intense are always at their best when they play straight forward, no matter if they do this in a melodic or an aggressive way. When their power metal is at their most uncomplicated, it is most fun. I suggest they do without unnecessary experiments in the future and do what they can do best. Intense may not yet be one of the best power metal bands around, but they have enough redeeming values to make listening a pleasant experience.

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