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another patient for PM clinic - 85%

DARKLIGHTER, December 4th, 2005

Another hopelessly obsessed patient for the Power Metal Syndrome Clinic? Yeah, this is the case. Is it absolutely incurable? I hope so. And I, for one, don’t intend to treat these guys for their obsession. I, damn it, like this diagnosis no matter how common and contagious the disease is.

Though the personal case history dating from1999 is rather brief according to today’s criteria, Dionysus’s founding fathers are not unknown to the Heavy Metal World. Established by Ronny Milianowicz (ex. Sinergy), Olaf Hayer (Luca Turilli), Kaspar Dahlqvist (Stormwind), Johnny Öhlin and Nobby Noberg (Nation), this Swedish-German formation has released two studio albums by now “Sign of Truth” 2002 and “Anima Mundi” 2004.

Debut “Sign of Truth” is a brilliant specimen of today’s power metal stage. Recorded in “Studio Fulda”, which is best known for its productions with Edguy and Avantasia, the album was produced by mastermind Tobias Sammet and mixed by Tommy Newton (Keeper of the Seven Keys 1 & 2). I’m absolutely sure these names don’t need a special presentation and in themselves are indisputably a quality mark.

Though Time Will Tell is rather a trite title to be a promising start, the musical constituent is able to catch even the most sophisticated metal ear, especially due to its solidly built riffs and instantaneously gripping chorus. Actually, the guitar and keyboard endeavors here are quite exemplary throughout the album, though I do not a bit feel like derogating from others involved. I must admit that both drums and bass are not only perfectly mixed to mould a beautiful frame around the melodies but themselves create outstanding improvisations here and there. Vocalist Olaf Hayer also made his significant contribution on the album making an expose of all his singing talents and blowing off all his steam. There won’t be a shade of doubt that he worked through the whole album at the breaking point once you completely concentrate on his singing.

The title track, a speedier one, is just a model power song with a beautifully arranged guitar-keyboard solo (not the only one) duel in the middle. A sepulchral voice, as obscure as one can only fancy, jeers right at your face and your hair stands on end because of weakness and inevitability, but redemption is just around the corner with Bringer of Salvation at your service. This is where I’m ready to pay my compliments without a break. It’s an absolute appetizer for a real connoisseur of melody and might combined. Just a bridge alone can make you crave for more and more. This one will, no doubt, recompense the money you spend on the CD.

Not being highly competitive with its predecessor Pouring Rain is still a terrific song with magnificent riffs and subtle wow-wow hooks in the chorus that grab your attention once and for all. Anthem (for the children) is another gem of the album. Beginning with a dark Gregorian chanting in Latin it gradually grows into a majestic mid-tempo almost marching song able to maintain its medieval gloominess throughout the track. Its grand chorus does nothing but increases one’s thirst for more.

The following power pattern Holy War is yet another fast-pace track containing presumably the best guitar solo here, which starts with nearly Floydish flavor and insensibly accelerates into a passionate guitar triumph ever. Now Don’t Forget. This is where your mental fatigue and tension can be relieved to some extent as you are going to experience a first-class ballad with the refrain so catchy it will get stuck in your head for good. And if a guitar fingering in a mid-tempo Walk on Fire delusively keeps on raising you higher and higher up to the serene and the most of the track only serves as an intermediate catalyst, the following Never Wait with its power and energy will surely force you to come down to Earth with a bump. Loaded Gun, a bonus, doesn’t ruin an overall picture and is nothing else but a logical speedy addition to the whole album.

All in all, we have the whole bunch of good melodies plus perfect sound production in a pure power metal work with lots of adoptions that, nevertheless, by no means are a fly in the ointment. Quite the other way, they are exactly to the band’s advantage since they do emphasize and amend the axioms invented by such style Titans as Helloween or Gama Ray. Moreover, I wouldn’t palter if I said that the child has certainly outdone his parent in some respects borrowing and polishing up his best features. If speaking of other similarities, Johny’s guitars here remind me of Rage’s Victor Smolsky and Metalium’ s Henning Basse’s vocals would be the closest comparison to those of Olaf’s, though both Johny and Olaf are unique in their own way. No doubt, the band itself is quite exemplary and could easily serve as an object for imitation. I’m firmly confirmed it’s one of those releases that help us remain the truly followers of the genre. So, if you’re a fan of genuine power metal, in the strict sense of the wording, you should get your hands on this album even if it’s a kind of retrospection by now!