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Perhaps the 2nd most common cliché for now defunct metal bands, the most common being the breaking up just before getting signed (aka the unsigned NWOBHM cliché), is the final compilation of past glory in order to fulfill an existing and now unwanted record contract. Dionysus became the latest contributor not too long ago, putting forth a rather jumbled, yet representative collection of songs from their trilogy of studio accomplishments, underscoring the somewhat uncommitted approach the band had to glorifying the various older and newer influences they were drawing from. At times the demeaning label of flower metal could be attributed to them, while at others they were clearly channeling some of the harder edged members of the NWOBHM, no accounting for a consistent methodology.
This outfit is clearly comprised of a solid crop of musicians, including the powerful vocal presence of Olaf Hayer, and though at times the band seems to be hit or miss even within the various sub-categories that they go back and forth from, they get the job done nicely on several songs here. On the more traditionally oriented heavy metal side, “March For Freedom” and “Spirit” deal out an impressive combination of Iron Maiden, Accept and Manowar influences, the former dealing out a crushing low end groove with a melodic twist that calls on “Metal Kings” and “Piece Of Mind”, while the latter deals out a crushing groove that beckons back to “Balls To The Wall”. Meanwhile, one the lighter side, “My Heart Is Crying” and “Anima Mundi” introduce a more consonant element and draw upon Helloween and Stratovarius with solid results.
For the most part, the dilemma for this band, which hounded them particularly on their 2nd and 3rd albums, is an absolute inability to write a ballad that can do anything other than grate on the nerves. “Forever More” takes the cake for one of the most poor attempts at channeling the softer side of Queen’s 80s era, and is just so keyboard heavy and syrupy that you can’t listen to it without pancakes. “Don’t Forget” is a little bit better, but still gets dangerously deep into easy listening territory, walking a line somewhere between Richard Marx and Celine Dion. Suffice to say, even when the band gets wildly unoriginal and starts taking ideas from Stratovarius as is the case with “Eyes Of The World”, it still beats the nightmare in a pop ballad factory that emerges when this band tries to be sensitive.
This is actually not a bad representation of the band’s career, and could suffice as the lone purchase of their discography if you’re not inclined too heavy towards the lighter side of European style of power metal. This doesn’t really hold a candle to Hayer’s amazing work with Luca Turilli, but it is a pretty good and easily accessible band for anyone who wants a little bit of Hammerfall and Stratovarius existing on the same album.