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Write a bunch of power metal anthems, get two gravelly voiced singers to come belt it out over them, and you're guaranteed a hit album, right? That's evidently what Magnus Karlsson thought when he came out with The Battle, and just to show you how committed he was, he managed to rope in Russell Allen from Symphony X and Jørn Lande from...well, a lot of shit. Following the lukewarm reception it received, Karlsson took the logical course of action - release the same thing again with a different name, and call it a sequel.
So in The Revenge, Allen and Lande reprise their roles as hammy prima donnas battling for the mike. Presumably the revenge mentioned is meant for all the detractors of the previous album. Musically, it sounds like Lionel Richie and Donna Summer grew balls and have moved on since Endless Love. Lyrically, it sounds like two Magic: The Gathering players talking trash to each other. It's difficult to tell whether either of them take any of this seriously or are just playing along to humour Karlsson, but judging by the nature of their own work, I'd lean towards the former.
It's not bad music, actually. It's just so rigidly entrenched in the bombastic power ballad format all throughout that halfway through the album, even the most staunch fan is going to be getting restless. Karlsson does his part, shredding like a bitch here and there, but as for song arrangements, he's no Arjen Lucassen. Result being the considerable talents of his singers aren't tapped all that much. You can't really tell who's singing most times, and they generally put in sub-par performances. Of course, with these guys, even that sounds pretty decent, but you can't help wishing for more. A stark contrast with something like Lucassen's Ayreon, where all the guest singers give distinctive and convinced deliveries.
The best way to hear this is to listen to one random track at a time. That way, you may actually end up liking this over a reasonable period of time. Then again, that's not much of a recommendation. My favourite part was during the title track and after an Allen delivery, we have what sounds like an aside from Jørn, waiting in the wings - "My revenge! Oho! My turn to ROCK! Grawr...etc." Haha, yeah that about sums it up.
The first Allen/Lande album is one of the five best albums I've heard. It had everything. Catchy choruses, talented vocalists, cool guitars, you name it. But their sophomore album can't really keep up with it's proceeder.
First of all, Jorn Lande and Russel Allen are both great singers. So an album with both of them really can't fail. At least not for a fan for their genre. But unlike the debut "The Battle" there's something missing on "The Revenge".
The songs are well produced and more often than not do the guitars, drums and keys work in perfect harmony. But this album has no really hit song, and there's actually some quite boring songs here.
Second track "Obsessed" featuring only Allen on vocals is a huge bore. The verse is absolutelly tasteless and the chorus is mediocre. And "Gone To Far" isn't that fun either. Actually, Allen's solo songs are much worse than Jorn's. And not only by vocal performance.
But there are some realyl bright spots on the album as well. Opener "The Revenge" is a song in the same vein as "Another Battle" on the last album. "Under The Waves" and "Her Spell" are both really catchy and beautiful.
All in all, this isn't the album I wished for, but it's still solid melodic metal. Jorn deas a great job on the vocals, Allen is OK. It's an album to at least download a few songs from and see if you like it if you enjoyed Masterplan, Jorns solo work or the last Allen/Lande album.