The metallurgist forging the sword on the cover to Zephaniah’s second album, Reforged, alludes to the brute force waiting to be unleashed from within the confines of a compact disc. The word “forged” itself means that something is being made with the utmost care and concentration, particularly by beating it into shape, and preferably with a sledge. As it applies to Zephaniah, this definition manifests in their music by pounding their listeners into submission with their Manowar-inspired progressive power metal. And much like a sword, Reforged is a powerful weapon against everyday villains we all face.
The self-titled opener is a stately re-introduction to the band after a six-year hiatus, and finds the five-piece more skilled and melodic than ever before. From this auspicious beginning, it is apparent that the production throughout the album boasts a more professional attack and is, as a result, more powerful in its impact. For over an hour, every member’s contribution to the whole statement can be easily discerned, and the whole purpose aims to force the band’s musical prowess front and center.
The triptych of songs dedicated to the Mad Max series – one for the namesake film, “Road Warrior” and “Thunderdome” – are well-endowed tributes to the cult films. Appearing early on in Reforged, these three tracks showcase technically proficient performances from guitarists Justin Zych and Shaun Cothron, who deserve mention for their imaginative and harrowingly paced melodies that accompany the lyrics from vocalist Logan Detwiler. Of course, they wouldn’t quite have the same impact were it not for the rhythm section of Ian Bender on bass and Cody Johns drums providing the much needed gravity for the otherwise sky-rocketing guitarists.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect listening to Reforged is the same thing that will prevent non-metal heads from giving this album a listen out of curiosity: there is a certain thrill in wondering exactly when the pressure of the music’s blistering pace will finally cause its craftsmen to buckle. Given power metal’s implications, listening intently to an album like this can be an endurance contest in which metalheads already challenge themselves to see if they can withstand the energy bursting out of the speakers. Additionally, the progressive nature of the song structures (particularly “Quest for the Royal Crown”) inevitably makes the listener wonder how the band can keep track of the sheer number of riffs and ideas in each song.
Overwhelming as the scale of Reforged can seem, it certainly does its job in separating those who claim they like metal from those who actually love it and live it. You’ll notice that I consciously avoided using the word “epic” to describe Zephaniah and their staggering songs because given everything this band strives to accomplish, “epic” is just redundant when it comes to describing just what Zephaniah really strive for: total sonic annihilation.
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709