Black Symphony – Tears of Blood

When I was a teenager, you couldn’t go to a Oklahoma City rock show without seeing Forte’ performing as the opening act. Their bassist, Rev. Jones, had a particularly interesting way of starting off each show. Before the band would kick off their opening song, Rev. Jones would come up to the front of the stage and hawk a loogie straight up into the air. My friends and I discovered this the hard way, as moments later a huge wad of spit and snot came back down and landed on my shoulder. In true Bill and Ted fashion, I shouted, “Dude, Forte’ just totally spit on me! Yes!” and we high fived each other.

When not touring with the Michael Schenker Group or standing in with other bands (the Rev is currently playing bass on tour with Fuel this month while their bass player and his wife have a baby), the ex-Forte’ bassist stays busy with his own band, The Black Symphony.

Black Symphony actually sounds vaguely reminiscent of Forte’. Both bands incorporate smartly written metal which, while founded in good old metal, is obviously influenced by thrash, speed, and progressive metal. The limited edition of Tears of Blood comes with four cover tunes of The Who, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Queensryche. That’s probably a pretty good indicator of the band’s influences.

“Tears of Blood (Part 1)” and “Tears of Blood (Part 2)” sandwich the album and cover the musical spectrum. Part 2 is particularly awesome, and really encompasses the feel of the band. The track kicks off with the 30 second piano piece with a guitar solo echoing in the background, moves to a heavy thrash part only to be followed by an almost operatic piece. Most of the tracks aren’t as dramatic as this one, but by the time you’ve grooved your way through the entire album, it all makes sense and fits together.

Don’t get scared off by that description. Tracks like “Left in Confusion” and “I Am Hate” are as heavy as they come. What makes them seem even heavier is the flow of the album; “I Am Hate” is followed by “Death”, a lumbering, almost majestic piece of work.

You can’t put out music like this if you can’t play your instruments. Besides the aforementioned Rev. Jones, drummer Pete Holmes has performed with Black-n-Blue, Ted Nugent, Yngwie Malmsteen and Ian Gillan. These guys are veterans of the scene and it shows in their mature musicianship and performances.

Check out the guys’ website, download some of the MP3 samples and check ’em out. Black Symphony have a third and final CD coming, and new material on the way from a new band with a slightly different lineup. Fans of intricate metal everywhere should check out the buzz.

Plus, it’s loogie free.

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