Sjak : The year is 1995. Unsuspecting I enter the debut album 'Relapse Of Reason' from the Denver, Colorado based band Caught In The Act (also referred to as C.I.T.A.) into the CD player. About three quarters of an hour later I'm flabbergasted. There are no words to be found for this, what a great band and what a great record, what fantastic chorus line and what an outstanding singer! Immediately this records is placed among my all-time favourites, but at the same time I realize that it will be really hard for this band to equal or surpass this debut album.
However, follow-up album 'Heat Of Emotion' (with their best song 'I'll Cry For You') proves to be another truly impressive album and the band proves to be capable of almost equalling the quality of their firstborn. Unfortunately they're forced to change their name into Guild Of Ages, because of the fact that there is a Dutch dance-act with the very same name (how on earth is it possible you might say?). Under the new name Guild Of Ages they continue to record terrific albums, because also 'One' (from 1998, with a bonus live-CD 'Live Over Germany' which is still released under the C.I.T.A.-name), 'Vox Dominatas' (1999) and 'Citadel (2001, with the outstanding 'So This Could Be You') are real gems in the genre. Unfortunately they decide to call it a day in 2002 and I was assuming never to hear anything anymore of this super band.
However, being a musician is in your blood and when the guys got together again in 2003 to relive some of the old memories they recaptured the magic of the past and they decided to restart under the new moniker Relapsed (a clear link to the debut-album of C.I.T.A.). First sign of life is this "debut album” 'Into A Former State'. I think that also the title of the album links back to their C.I.T.A. period, because stylistically Relapsed is more into the early days of Caught In The Act than in their later Guild Of Ages period. It has to be said that the level of both C.I.T.A. releases is reached nowhere, but they're coming close. The songs are fantastic as ever, the guitars are well taken care of and the vocals, both solo as well as harmony, are truly outstanding (though Danny Martinez sounds a little bit more raw than he used to). Especially opening track 'Welcome To My Life', the heavy 'End Of The Line', 'Broken', 'Mercy Pays The Dept' and my personal favourite 'All In All' are melodic masterpieces. Also the Queen-cover 'I Want It All' is okay, although a lot of people will not like bands covering Queen-songs.
The only negative remark that I can make is the fact that the production could have been slightly better, because on their previous albums, which were all produced by Bobby Barth, the harmony vocals sounded fuller and better. Don't let this get in your way though, because according to me this 'Into A Former State' of Relapsed is the best melodic rock record released this year so far.