Titan Force - Winner - Looser (1991) (High Roller Records Edition 2016)

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Titan Force - Winner - Looser (1991) (High Roller Records Edition 2016)

Príspevokod užívateľa Horex » 12 Dec 2023, 06:55

Titan Force - Winner - Looser (1991) (High Roller Records Edition 2016)

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Year : 1991 (High Roller Records Remastered Edition 2016)
Style : Progressive Metal , Power Metal
Country : United States
Audio : 320 kbps + all scans
Size : 109 mb


Bio:

Colorado Springs in 1983, Mario Flores (g) his siblings John (b,v) and Stefan (d) got together to form a metal band. In the beginning the band was named Titan and released a 4-track demo tape a few months later. After the demo release the recruited Bill Richardson as a guitarist/keyboardist. This line up persisted a few years, before they managed to find a vocalist after renaming themselves to Titan Force. Harry Conklin, known for his work with Jag Panzer, joined Titan Force in 1987/88 after being involved with Satan's Host and playing a few live shows with Riot. The band got in contact with Harry in the early days when Titan played a few times as an opening band for Jag Panzer.Harry Conklin, with his unique vocal style, added a whole new dimension to the Titan Force's sound, which developed from heavy metal to melodic power metal with a progressive touch. The 2-track demo tape with the songs "Fool on the run" and "Immigrant song" was recorded. But even though Titan Force managed to play a very unique type of power metal mixed with progressive elements, no record company offered the band the ability to release their material at first. Since their first demo didn't get positive reactions from record companies, the band entered the stage once again to record the professional 5-track demo tape entitled "Blaze of Glory". This demo tape was the reason for a small German metal label (U.S. Metal Records) to offer the band a contract. The self-titled debut album was released on that label in 1989 and received fantastic acclaim in most fanzines and magazines. Due to being signed to a small label like U.S. Records the album didn't sell nearly as well enough to match the music's promise. Nonetheless, U.S. Metal Records kept Titan Force under contract for another album, which came out in 1991.Though "Winner / Loser" offers songs which are a bit easier to listen to than its predecessor, it still contains lot's of progressive, almost jazzy, parts. But like "Titan Force" the album didn't sell well enough and in the end U.S. Metal Records, which by that time merged with another small record company (Shark Metal Records), cancelled the record deal. Without a deal but already having a few new songs, Titan Force were finally able to play a very short tour in Germany, together with Anvil and local newcomer Scene X Dream. Once again the critics were enthusiastic about Titan Force's music and live performance. The 2 new songs "Darkness" and "Only The Strong" that Titan Force introduced to the German audience were later used on a 4-track demo CD called "Only The Strong" which the band recorded to find a new record deal. Unfortunately times in music were changing, and in a time when Grunge was popular, no record company was willing to sign a band like Titan Force. When Harry Conklin got the offer to rejoin his first band Jag Panzer he couldn't turn the offer down. After Harry's departure, the band Titan Force began to fall apart, and when Bill Richardson died it was the end of the band for a long while.The Flores brothers first carried on under the name of Hip Pocket and played radio oriented rock. Harry Conklin nowadays is better known for his work in the still active Jag Panzer while Titan Force, after a handful of reunion shows (for example Germany's Bang Your Head!? Open Air 2002) is on hold. After their reunion there were rumors going round about Titan Force recording a new album, Unfortunately this album hasn't been released yet.

Album:

Remastered edition from High Roller Records.Like a lot of bands it took Titan Force several years to finally get off ground and put out a full length album, however it was more than worth the wait and effort with them launching one of the best melodic USPM albums out there. They would be quick to release their follow up Winner / Loser two years later in 1991. Still perhaps a bit too late to the game though as they would fall back into obscurity after this, with only a single demo released in 1994 it would take them another 10 some years to return for touring and some compilations. As it currently stands this is the second and last official Titan Force album.For 1991 Titan Force still didn't put the brakes on anything being remotely mainstream or contemporary here, in fact they step in the other direction and take a new approach with this album with more experimentation. As usual, for better and worse. The main theme is duality, from the album cover art itself, the title, the lyrics, and how the majority of the tracks generally play out shifting between low dark brooding sections, to positive upbeat and uplifting energy that fueled the debut release. This works to great effect. I think they accomplished this on the debut as well, here however it's definitely the main focus with each and every track and it works for the most part. The problem is rather that some of these tracks in general just don't really do anything interesting and fall a little flat. Some elements are toned down too, Conklin included. He actually displays even more dynamics here, channeling John Arch and then even Eric Adams at times, but he's softer and more reserved, when his relentless energy on the debut really took it to new heights. So it's questionable as to what they were doing with him here or maybe he himself wanted to try something a bit different. It's hard to complain since it's still an awesome performance, there's just a strange difference to pinpoint.The production is still top notch just like the debut and I love how much the bass comes through. An excellent balance of all the sounds but again, it's hard to accept Conklin's push to the background. The darker sections on most of the tracks here are a real highlight and something they didn't really steer strongly into on the debut. There's a real eerie sadness when they go all in on it, to the extent that my favorite track off this album is probably the finale Dreamscape. Which almost sounds like a lost track from 1991-1992 Solitude Aeturnus, not a comparison I could make on the debut or throughout most of this album. Even down to Conklin's delivery on this track and the echoes of his vocals in the open space without much instrumental interference. A captivating and moody track that hits hard with a lot of complexity going on despite its slowness, the same cannot however be said for some of the other weaker tracks like Shadow of a Promise or Face to Face. These just come off as really monotone without any strong hook to them. You keep waiting for them to do something, but they don't. Eyes of the Young is the cool one where Conklin humorously reminds me of Eric Adams and Manowar, a nice mid paced number with some excellent soloing and bass jammin', though I think the back half of One and All has the coolest groove. That track and the first one Fields of Valor rock. Small Price to Pay easily sounds like something that could have been on the debut, fast, catchy, and fun. Title track Winner / Loser is my other top favorite next to Dreamscape, really nailing the duality shapeshifting from dark to light, damn cool track.Certainly a strange release. It's not like a huge slip up at all or anything and it's always a bit shameful to let a really good album (their debut) overshadow the rest, this is still a great record on its own. It's still a grower that maybe just continues to need time. Either way I still recommend giving it a shot and a little time if you're a fan of melodic white collar progressive USPM and any of the bands I mentioned in the reviews for this and the debut. Now, Titan Force have been consistently active for the last several years with KIT festivals, the main brothers and Conklin are still active and there's been rumors about new material being released... but the years continue to pile up and it's a shame nothing seems to be coming to fruition here. Metal is really healthy again thesedays and classic styles have re-emerged, all the while Titan Force's material holds up really well and they didn't concede to any bad or lazy mainstream traps, I hope they can somehow get some new material out again (outside of compilations).

Line-Up:

Harry Conklin - Vocals - See also: Jag Panzer, Satan's Host, ex-Tyrant, ex-Riot, ex-Ballistic
Mario Flores - Guitars
Bill Richardson - Guitars
John Flores - Bass
Stefan Flores - Drums

Production:

Remastered At – Temple Of Disharmony
Remastered By – Patrick W. Engel
Recorded At – Colorado Sound Recording Studios
A&R – Bart Gabriel
Engineer – Kevin Clock
Producer – Kevin Clock, Titan Force

Tracklist:

01. Fields of Valor 05:41
02. Shadow of a Promise 05:03
03. Winner / Loser 05:04
04. Face to Face 04:57
05. Eyes of the Young 05:16
06. One and All 05:53
07. Small Price to Pay 05:30
08. Dreamscape 08:00


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