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SCHUSTER, MARK

 

MARK SCHUSTER

 "Losing Faith"

By Dr. Abner Mality

One-man bands are not all the unusual in the metal scene today, but most of the times, it's depressive black metal or drum-machine goregrind making up the bulk of it. It's pretty rare you see somebody take a stab at a progressive metal album ala Queensryche and Fates Warning by their lonesome, but that's pretty much what Mr. Mark Schuster has done on "Losing Fatih". With the exception of a couple of guitar solos, EVERYTHING here was done by Schuster himself, which is pretty friggin' impressive.

Well-produced and mixed, this is a professional product all the way and should appear to fans of Nevermore, Megadeth and the harder side of the aforementioned Queensryche. The album kicks off with a bang with the crunchy groove of the title track. This is an awesome melodic thrash/power tune, but like so many albums I've heard recently, it's the peak that is never reached again. The early part of the album is very strong, with "Did What I Did", "Until I See Your Eyes" and "Bitter Man" showing good aggression mixed with melodies. It is fairly obvious, though, that Schuster's vocals are not in the same league as his instrumental ability. They're far from terrible, but they often come across kind of nasal and flat. I kept imagining what somebody like Ray Alder or Geoff Tate could do with the vocals. And as the album proceeds, it begins to lose steam. We hear several variations on that strong groove heard on the title track in later songs, and semi-ballads like "Nothing Without You" and "Static" seem to drag, with Mark's vocals being kind of grating on the latter track. Last song "Lies" ups the adrenaline and exhibits tasty guitar licks, but "Losing Faith" is definitely an album that is stronger in the first half than the second.

Still, you gotta give props to this guy, because the whole thing sounds like an actual band is playing instead of something synthetic and digital. There is a lot of talent in Mr. Mark Schuster and I look forward to see it progress.

www.markbschuster.com