Titan Force

Titan Force

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The recruitment of former Jag Panzer singer Harry Conklin in 1988 proved to be the catalyst that the remaining members of Titan Force had been waiting for since first launching the band half a decade earlier, and while the contract they subsequently earned with independent label U.S. Metal was hardly significant enough to land them on the cover of Billboard, the Colorado metal group seemed poised to make the best of it with its self-titled debut from 1989. Sure enough, though it was released with little fanfare and met with equally limited exposure outside the heavy metal community, Titan Force instantly proved its namesake band's technical mettle to all and sundry, after years of underground woodshedding. As for the music itself, the blueprint established by American '80s metal masters like Queensr├┐che, Fates Warning, and, sure, Jag Panzer -- that is, aggressive but always melodic and semi-progressive classic metal -- provided the general template for Titan Force's material as well, meaning that token tracks like "Chase Your Dreams," "Lord Desire," and "Fool on the Run" boasted the sort of choppy staccato riffs from Mario Flores and piercing vocal acrobatics from Conklin that were common to this era. But the full extent of Titan Force's heavy metal scholarship could also be appreciated in the strutting bassline lifted from Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" for "Master of Disguise"; the dual guitar harmonies and galloping rhythms borrowed from Iron Maiden for "Toll of Pain"; and the flourishing speed metal (soon to be renamed "power metal") championed by bands like Helloween and Agent Steel, which they replicated for the frantic "Blaze of Glory." That is to say, Titan Force may have been followers more than leaders at the end of the day, but their qualifications were still beyond reproach, and that's why this eponymous debut offered a consistently engaging listening experience, despite bringing little in the way of innovation to the table. [The album was reissued in 2006 by Sonic Age Records with six bonus tracks tacked on, four of them demos from 1988 (later recorded for this debut) and two of them demos from 1994, cut near the end of Titan Force's existence.]

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