Conflicted-Never Be Tamed
Formed in 2008, Toronto's Conflicted are an award winning Hard Rock/Progressive Metal band.The band is made up of veterans of the 1990's metal scene and they have already released two critically acclaimed EPs. A popular live act Conflicted were voted "Best Metal Band" at the 2010 Toronto Independent Music Awards (TIMAS). They have also earned three prominent ImageFM Radio 2010 Annual Independent Music Awards which has made them hometown legends. Lead by the impressive vocals of Jason Orton (who sounds at times like everyone from James LaBrie (Dream Theatre) to Tim "Ripper" Owens (Iced Earth/Judas Priest) and even Metal Church's David Wayne)the band reminds me of so many great acts while sounding fresh and modern. In their music I hear bits of Rainbow, Judas Priest, Dio, Savatage, Warlord, Merciful Fate and Iron Maiden. Yet, like I said they don't really sound like copycats. Far from it. Neo-classically influenced guitarist Mark Owen is very impressive. You hear some Yngwie Malmsteen and even a little Jake E Lee in his work. Even as he plays and trades off with Ron De Coste’s colorful keyboard work the skill level shines through. I loved the killer opener "Never Be Tamed". With it's powerful hard rock sound it was the perfect way to get things going (ok, technically "After Too Long" starts off the album but as it's only a short keyboard solo it doesn't really count in my book). "Victor(ia)" reminded me of both Warlord and Merciful Fate. "Fallen" is progressive metal and it was on this track that the interplay between the guitar and keyboards works so well. It's stunning how good these two musicians are. I wish that you could hear them more in the mix though as at times it seems like Orton's vocals are too up in front. It's not bad it's simply that these the guitar and keyboard parts are so good I wanted more of them. "The Hand Of God" is a favorite. It's heavy and has this classical edge too it. It reminded me more of really good power metal than anything even with how progressive it is. That track and "Alive" were too tracks that stood out for me. The band's ability to stretch themselves and add in all of these different elements is what makes Never Be Tamed so effective. "Release" (the album closer) shows this as well as the band moves between progressive rock, hard rock and power metal with ease. It's a great cut to close off the record with some fancy keyboard work that reminded me of Rainbow. Highly recommended. You can see why these guys have become so well loved. Great full length debut album. Powerful, progressive and absolutely beautiful.