Reviewed by Progressivity_In_All on January 11, 2012
"King deftly creates melodies and stories, especially with the emotional 'Awakening.'"
In one of the most striking recent examples of why heavy metal will thrive in the midst of music industry stagnation, Lance King laughs in the face of music genres where record executives don't understand their audience. Having utilized the talents of artists attached to the record label he heads (Nightmare Records), former Pyramaze/Balance of Power vocalist Lance King formed a smart team for this solo offering. King is an example of a record executive that not only surrounds himself with talent, but delivers his own talents on record again and again. This is the polished sound of metal synergy.
This solo effort is backed by a cast of Nightmare Records artists as well as technical experts in production: Jacob Hansen, Kim Olesen (Anubis Gate), Malek Ben Arbia (Myrath), Markus Sigfridsson (Darkwater), Kevin Codfert (Adagio), Morten Sorensen (Pyramaze/Wuthering Heights), and many others. Anybody who knows Nightmare Records knows that they’re a prog powerhouse, especially with fierce 2011 releases by Anubis Gate ("Anubis Gate" reviewed here) and Myrath ("Tales of the Sands" reviewed here). "A Moment in Chiros" sounds, thankfully, like a seamless combination of these associated acts. For all intents and purposes, this should be called "Tales of the Anubis Gate" or "Anubis Gate of the Sands."
At the beginning of the album, "A Sense of Urgency" and "Awakening" both set forth a concept with the lyrics. However, if you were to ignore the lyrics altogether, the album would still be worthy of a 4-star rating for its pacing, memorable leads and themes, and very tasteful production values. King deftly creates melodies and stories, especially with the emotional "Awakening." Keyboard and guitar riffs abound, bringing lots of focused movement to songs like "Manifest Destiny" and "Sacred Systems," leaning towards Eastern sounds.
"Joy Everlasting" sounds much like a B-side to the aforementioned Myrath album, while the title track sounds like a B-side to "Anubis Gate." "Kibou" actually approaches Flower Kings territory with its uplifting vocals as King gives poignant advice: "…the future is a newborn baby – with care and attention, with love and protection, it begins to crawl. And walking, soon running." There are also nuanced orchestrations and electronic influences behind the main instruments on most songs for keen listeners.
King has an impressively dramatic vibrato to his voice, as well as an ear for harmony for his backing vocals. At times dripping with sneer comparable to Alice Cooper and lyrical emphasis comparable to Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), his easily 3 and 1/2-octave range is given the focus. As an album representative of 21 years of solid heavy metal experience, "A Moment in Chiros" is a flattering reflection of its creator.
Highs: "Manifest Destiny," "Sacred Systems," and "A Moment in Chiros."
Lows: There are some cheesy spoken-word lines.
Bottom line: A prog heavyweight with an 11/11/11 tie-in.