Escape From Reality
12/30/2003 - Review by: Eric Compton
Duke - Escape From Reality 2003 Massacre Records
Scanner was originally formed in 1980 under the name Lion's Breed. Then the band became Scanner and released "Hypertrace", "Terminal Earth", "Mental Reservation", and the glorious "Ball Of The Damned". Scanner had their roots firmly planted in the "old" German sound of acts like Angel Dust, Helloween, and Reactor (the band even had SL Coe as their vocalist at one time). The band split in two after the release of "Ball Of The Damned", with half the band keeping the name Scanner and carrying on in a more modern-mainstream fashion, while vocalist Leszek "Haridon Lee" Szpigiel carried on with the other half of the band with new project Duke. Now, after securing a record deal with Massacre Records, Duke have finally released their debut album, "Escape From Reality".
This record is exactly what Scanner should sound like. This is the perfect follow-up to "Ball Of The Damned" and is even in line with the band's most populer work, "Mental Reservation". This new offering is very well brewed German ale, with strong melody, tons of double bass, fast riffing, and the extraordinary vocals of Mr. Szpigiel. This band doesn't quite get caught up in all of the Masters Of The Universe hoopla, sticking to a more unique metal sound but keeping the heavy elements that bands like Angel Dust, Tad Morose, and even Nevermore live by.
Opening song "The Duke" cracks like a whip, running from the gate in true traditional gallop. Other tracks like "Friends" and "Black And White" keep the same whiplash pace, while more groove-oriented cuts like "Arrant Rascal" and "Illusions" slow the race down a notch. Fans of Reactor will eat up "Center Of Destuction Unkown", while Crystal Eyes and Stratovarius fans will indulge in "Rising Child".
This album is as diverse as a Golden Corral buffet, with plenty of everything to offer those with different appetites. Modern and traditionalists should find plenty to like here. The production from Roland Grapow (Helloween, Masterplan) is excellent and Massacre has done a great job with the packaging and promotion for the band.
Of Note: Scanner was originally Lion's Breed. Former Angel Dust vocalist SL Coe sang on Scanner's "Terminal Earth" album. Scanner's vocalist Leszek Szpigiel once sang in a band called Crows with ex-Angel Dust drummer Dirk Assmuth. Dirk Assmuth's younger sister, Anja Assmuth is the current Duke drummer. Also former Scanner bass player John Smith went on to form Gallow's Pole, which featured ex-Scanner vocalist SL Coe doing backup vocals and helping with production. So there you have it, the Lion's Breed-Scanner-Duke-Crows-Angel Dust-Reactor-Gallow's Pole connection. Plenty of useless info for those drunken heavy metal trivia sessions.
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