Status Minor - Ouroboros (Lion Music)

Rating: 3.5/5

Review

Ouroboros is the sophomore release from Finnish progressive power metal act Status Minor, following up their 2009 debut Dialog. Once again the band has put together a collection of songs that deliver high pitched melodic vocals, crunchy guitar riffs, speedy rhythms, plenty of keyboard orchestrations, and just enough soaring melodies to make these songs memorable. It might not be the most groundbreaking release you'll hear in the genre this year, but Ouroboros is a tasty treat for sure.

"The Wind" and "Hollow" kick off the album in splendid 1-2 fashion, as singer Markku Kuikka lends his powerful vocal ability to two tracks that are extremely well played and catchy, featuring no shortage of blazing guitar and keyboard passages. "Glass Wall" has a nice chorus and pleasing keyboards, while the tender ballads "Like a Dream" and " Confidence and Trust" features guest female vocals and lush piano, plus a wonderful guitar solo from Sami Saarinen on the former. The band launches into Dream Theater styled prog-metal mode on the memorable "Stain", and approach Symphony X territory on the speedy & heavy "Smile". Epic closer "Sail Away" is the CDs longest track at nearly 11-minutes long, and contains the most complex arrangements on the album. This is the one that prog lovers will no doubt be drawn to, with plenty of intricate guitar work, symphonic keyboards, powerful vocals, and complex rhythms.

Overall, Ouroboros is a decent release, and one that should please fans of progressive & power metal styles. I'm not nuts about the drum sound on the album, which comes across as really flat (though the playing is fine), and I wish the band took a few more chances musically in spots, but otherwise this is a good sophomore CD from a talented band, and another winner from the folks at Lion Music.

Pete Pardo