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Hey look! Yet another neo-classical metal band, featuring a lightning-fingered axe-slinger. Where have I heard that combination before? OK, OK, I know it’s pointless to get angry at bands like this for their lack of originality. They simply do what the do because they love it. It’s hard to fault them for that. Besides, if the music is good, who gives a damn, right?
Too bad that isn’t the case with Ark Storm, most of the time. Featuring members of Sabre Tiger and Concerto Moon, along with the resident guitar hero Katsu Ohta, the band are certainly capable enough to pull off their material flawlessly. No problems there at all (just listen to the solo section of “Message in DNA” for proof). However, there are two problems here for me: the vocals, and the song writing.
First of all, Sabre Tiger vocalist or not, I just don’t like Yasuo Sasai’s vocals. There’s not much that can be done about that I’m afraid. The man is technically competent, but for some bizarre reason his voice just doesn’t click with me. When he goes for the Joacim Cans vocals though, man that’s bad.
The second problem is much more of a killer though. Power metal has evolved so much in the last ten years that simply playing standard stuff doesn’t cut it anymore. It takes more than fretboard acrobatics and double bass to really interest me anymore. The songs and riffs have to really impress, and achieve that soaring quality to be of use. Unfortunately most of the songs on this disc fail to reach that zone. “Ark Storm” starts off the album in exceedingly promising fashion, but the rest of the album just can’t keep up. The riffs are dull and lifeless, sort of just plodding along and existing, rather than reaching out and forcing me to headbang. Basically there are three songs on here that are good: “Ark Storm”, “Only Time Will Tell”, and “Voyage of the New Legend”. “The Burning Flame” is close but the Joacim Cans vocals on the chorus kill it dead.
I really wanted to love this album, but it just didn’t connect with me. Ah well. If you feel a burning need to have another neo-classical power metal album in your collection, this album will serve you well. If you don’t, then stay far, far away.
-------Originally posted at Metal-Rules.com-------