STAGE TWO – Stage Two

STAGE TWO - Stage Two


Release Date: February 14, 2005

User Review
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The spatial, symphonic “Times of Silence,” fading into “Voice From Behind” opens this set from the female-fronted, German Power Metal outfit Stage Two. A melancholy guitar riff introduces “Dead Angels,” the album’s best song, which showcases what Elena Bihler’s voice could be, backed up the band’s near perfect rendering of Maidenesque Metal. The rest of the musical arrangements are nothing groundbreaking, evoking memories of early Dio and Ozzy, but neither are Stage Two a blatant emulation of any one classic Metal band, rather bits of the best of several.

The predominate dissonant element is frontwoman Bihler’s voice, which too often sounds more like the 80’s eccentric pop diva Cyndi Lauper than a mature Metal maiden such as Therion/Cradle of Filth/Angtoria chanteuse Sara Jezebel Diva or Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia. Yet, the Lauper comparison is not entirely uncomplimentary. On “Time After Time,” Cyndi proved she indeed has pipes, and Elena indicates likewise on the aforementioned “Dead Angels.” She has more power and sustain in the mid registers, so perhaps merely a change in key could boost her presence as a vocalist.

Musically, there is something for several subgroups of Metal fans, including Progressive purists, Power Metal patrons, and the Guitar God guys. There is also a serpentine male vocal that could appeal to some Black Metal fans, yet it could be used more extensively and to a stronger effect, such as the interplay between Cristina and Andreas in the previously mentioned Lacuna Coil. Rather than relegating this potentially powerful element to the background, the band has the opportunity to create a balanced Beauty and the Beast scenario between the two vocalists.

The production is fair for an independent release, however, the band would be wise to attend to better drum production next time out, as the hollow percussion tone saps much of the potential punch from the band’s music.

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