It is hard to believe it has been about two years since Fiction Released TALL DARK SECRETS, an amazing debut album that I thought was pretty close to perfect. So, how would, or could the band come even a bit close to matching album number one? Would they tinker with what made me love them? Would I be let down? All good questions... now for the answers.
It is hard to define Fiction Syxx! At their core they are a heavy rock band with a lot of melody and music that is progressive and challenging. After about ten listens of THE ALTERNATE ME, I feel the band has established their own sound and identity (see above), but I can now hear a bit more 70's classic rock elements to their arsenal. Songs like Monster In The Mist and Angel Of Mine are very AOR and just easy to listen to and represent the bands 'signature sound'. For me, songs like My Darkest Hour, the title track and Tragic Magic are songs that have their deepest roots in 70's prog rock like Kansas, early Rainbow and Uriah Heep and I love that. Not to say this sounds old and dated because this albums sounds so fresh, modern and crystal clear!
Another thing that really jumps out is the deep, thought provoking lyrics of the songs. Sure I love the girls, party and 'lovey dovie' songs, but Fiction Syxx lyrically paint pictures, the expressive mode of Wind Reminds Me to some of the more introspective tracks, Fiction Syxx goes deep and makes you think... and feel.
There are two brilliant cover songs on the album, Suite Madam Blue (Styx) and The Wizard (Uriah Heep) that are done just the way I like them, super close to the original with the band's own style injected in spots. On both of these, vocalist Mark Allen Lanoue impresses in tons, covering two of the most unique and recognizable voices in rock history (Dennis De Young and the late great David Byron) and showcases his own vocal power.
I like THE ALTERNATE ME a bit more than TALL DARK SECRETS (and i friggin' loved that album) because there is some growth and maturity with the band. Beginning to end it is a very satisfying listen that shines a nice bright light on Lanoue (vocals and lead guitar), JK Northrup (lead/rhythm guitars & production), Rory Faciane (drums), Larry Hart (bass) and Eric Ragno on keyboards). THE ALTERNATE ME has something for everyone; crying leads, crunching riffs, swirling vocals, driving rhythms and keyboards that all help paint one beautiful picture.
MATMAN RATING - 5 OUT OF 5 THERAPEUTIC LISTENS
THE ALTERNATE ME from Melodic Rock Records will be released on June 28th. To preview songs and ordering instructions, including some bonus tracks, click the link below!!!!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.