Through the Mirror
After releasing the highly praised Demo EP, Flight of the Phoenix in 2006 (notably an 11/12 score in Heavy! Magazine), the band returns with their first full-length album, Through the Mirror. Drawing on influences from metal giants such as Judas Priest, Metallica and Queensryche, alongside contemporary acts like Edguy and Dream Evil, Final Stage form a unique mix of classic and modern heavy power-metal. Now armed with their first full-length album, the group aims to not only match it's previous feats, but also surpass them. The socially conscious record features an array of heavy-metal songs, showcasing a wide and varied dynamic. The album boasts a range from progressive tracks such as Infidel, to flat-out heavy metal in Murder on Contract, to radio-friendly, melodic metal from the album's opener, Rise Again. Impressive production values flow throughout the disc, rivaling such classics as Judas Priest's Painkiller, or Ride the Lightning from Metallica. Recorded at the same studio as the Phoenix EP - Spectre Sound - the album captures much of the same energy and power, all with astounding production values. Several musicians also guest on the album, notably Betrayer front man, Jeff Klingbeil, who contributed backing vocals, and guitar virtuoso Chris "CSP" Pitre. Read this review from the Windsor Star: Some people mock bands like Iron Maiden. These people might as well stop reading and go die somewhere, because Windsor's Final Stage proudly stands on the foundations of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, while wielding a spear of crunchy contemporary thrash influences. Think American power metal along the lines of Iced Earth. I've been waiting for this trio to release a full-length album, and these 11 tracks don't disappoint. Coming from a young band, there's remarkable dedication and craftsmanship on this CD. Epic sensibilities with excellent studio execution. Powerful, melodic, high-flying vocals. A balance of ornate guitar riffs and thick, rhythmic ones. Some really sweet harmonized parts. The songs tend to be more consistently mid-tempo than other examples of the genre, but the fills and flourishes are so good that I don't mind the uniformity. Check out the unexpected Middle-Eastern touches on Infidel. Rating: 4/5.