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Sinergy

Beware the Heavens

Nuclear Blast

Initially formed in 1997 as a side-project between In Flames guitarist Jesper Stromblad and then-current Dimmu Borgir keyboardist/backing vocalist Kimberly Goss, Sinergy became a full-fledged band when Goss departed and rounded up Mercyful Fate bassist Sharlee D' Angelo, Children of Bodom guitarist Alexi Laiho, and newcoming drummer Ronny Milianowicz. And for the metal intelligentsia, it's a good, good thing Goss did - Beware the Heavens , the band's debut album, is the sinfully delicious fruit of that wise move.

   Comparisons to the members' concurrent bands may be inevitable, but Sinergy amplifies the various power metal leanings -- oft-galloping, double-bass-bolstered rhythms; adrenalized, arpeggio-laden riffing; anthemic twin-harmonic leads; and soprano vocals - of said bands to a plateau that's simultaneously classic and post-modern heavy metal, an epic sound doubtless rivaling their contemporaries (Hammerfall, Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, et. al.). Not quite the metal priestess Lita Ford was in her respective heyday, Goss nonetheless can soar with the best of them, a commanding voice that can go from sultry to sulfurous, often during the course of a single song (e.g., the catharsis of "Razor Blade Salvation"). Those close-minded individuals expecting Goss to be just another stereotypical metal slut, however, will find themselves summarily roused and roughed-up, for her lyrics, which explore various mystical aspects through the unique lens of her gender, firmly complement the conviction of her pipes. The only head-scratcher about Beware the Heavens is the multitude of solo Goss photos in the lyric booklet - megalomania or crass marketing move? Who knows? Beneath the Heavens flat-out rips regardless.

Nuclear Blast, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106, www.nuclearblast-usa.com

--Nathan T. Birk