Ride the Sky

New Protection

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As heavy metal bands assembled from assorted spare parts go (i.e. musicians drawn from numerous bands), Germany/Sweden's Ride the Sky is bound to cause more confusion and potential frustration than most. Although the group was founded by former Helloween drummer Uli Kusch, and even named after one of the German power metal kings' famed early songs, most fans are aware that said song was recorded nearly a decade before Kusch's addition to that band -- a fact which may explain why Ride the Sky's first album, 2007's New Protection, only occasionally resembles strictly defined power metal (see energetic numbers like "Break the Chain," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "A Crack in the Wall"). Rather, and for the most part, synth-heavy material such as "A Smile from Heaven's Eye," "Endless," "Heaven Only Knows," and the title cut, would be better defined as catchy, melodic, commercial Euro-metal; more preoccupied with tight composition, poppy hooks, and distinctive choruses than metallic aggression or flashy musicianship. Ride the Sky also delve into some synthetic orchestral passages midway through "Corroded Dreams," and reveal their Swedish-ness in the intro to "The End of Days," which has a neo-classical flavor, à la Yngwie Malmsteen. In closing, heavier-leaning metal fans may also take issue with New Protection's sparkly-clean recording (so clean, Kusch's drums sound synthetic at times), but they'd be missing the point entirely in terms of Ride the Sky's obvious, intended inclinations toward performing an efficient, accessible mixture of hard rock and metal. [The CD was also released with a bonus track.]

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