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With their third album the Italians changed the style adopted in the first two discs, leaving the metal and on to an epic power metal a little dirtier. Another noticeable change was for the entry of a new vocalist, Davide Dell'Orto. In the first few songs you realize that Dario Beretta continues composing great tracks, but there is still something to put the Drakkar in a range above the third level metal world.
In the first two tracks "Razorblade God" and "Man And Machine", are left aside the issues of cloak and dagger to invest in something more modern and cyber. The result is interesting, but confuse the old fans. Since the song "To The Future" is very antagonistic, with vocals Tim "Ripper" Owens and a melodic chorus. This same track also draws attention to new keyboardist Solarino Conrad. With an introduction by bass and keyboards and clear the track "Inferno" shows something more rhythmic and modern trends in its overall structure, but again with melodic passages, although the chorus has no major attractions. Again there is a good emphasis on keyboards this time and a cool guitar solo.
The next song is called "The Matrix", shows a more lyrical of the new directions the band, citing the character Morpheus from this cult movie. In general the result is weak, but you can not say a bad track. In "Galadriel'Song" the group back into the realm of fantasy with an acoustic ballad median, those made to occupy more space than make a difference in the set list from disk. With a strange title "Lo Shan Shen Long Pa" again shows that keyboards are the new weapon in this work group, but without exaggeration and well placed in this power metal Another highlight was the vocals and epic choruses. Surely one of the highlights of the disc.
The latest songs are: "The Next Generation", a little below the others and to damp oscillations in vocal performance by Davide. Even so, after some auditions you may end up liking this song. Next comes "Witch's Dance" which is another very different position than the band had presented so far. Here we have a lot more vocal swing and dispossessed, and a keyboard very evident [more than necessary]. For me music is still very weak and that is there at the end of the disc. Also new here is the presentation of a cover for "Kingdom Of Madness" [Magnum], which adds little to the final outcome of this disc.
In my CD [released by Hellion Records label doBrasil] there is a bonus called "N-Zone," a nice melodic power metal, and the fastest track on the disc. Pretty cool, but I can understand that she was a little out of the new musical proposal of Drakkar. Also on the CD is a music video for "to the Future" with an animated film and amateur and formulaic, but at least counts as distribution and can be seen in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt9SX63mveM.
If the proposed change of lyrical and musical will be better or worse, will say only fans, but for now I think the band has simply evolved, or at least tried to escape the stagnation of a style sometimes too saturated.
Commenting on the non-musical factors critical to the booklet is worth a pretty rudimentary, primary, and do not use the space more intelligently. The cover is beautiful and already indicates a certain change in red tones, real different from those used to identify the band in the first two discs.
Drakkar is the second of three Italian bands that I bring to the review table this month. If you are interested in the Italian scene or sound, then I suggest you also check out my reviews of Doomsword and Heimdall from this month.
Drakkar made their debut in 1998 with their first full-length, QUEST FOR GLORY, followed by GEMINI in 2000. Both albums are of the typical Italian style, melodic and symphonic power metal, solid, though not overly impressive. Following the release of GEMINI, Drakkar underwent massive lineup changes, replacing every member of the band save for two founding members, guitarist and songwriter Dario Beretta, and drummer Christian Fiorani.
On RAZORBLADE GOD, Drakkar take a new path separate from most of their Italian colleagues, this time playing a heavier, speedier, more aggressive, and riff-based flavour of power metal. With the new blood comes new life, including a powerful new vocalist Davide Dell’Orto, who would just as easily fit well into a classic 80s metal band, his voice having the edge that is complementary to Drakkar’s new style.
The change in Drakkar’s style is evident from the opening riffs to the leadoff title track, a straightforward power metal track. Not leaving the symphonic element completely behind, this track features some nice synth fills courtesy of new keyboardist Corrado Solarino, as well as a fairly typical Italian catchy chorus. The style carries over through the next track, “Man and Machine” until “To The Future,” one of the best songs on the album. This song opens with a deceptive, mellow piano intro before blasting into some killer speed metal. Beretta and Solarino trade some mean guitar and keyboard solos towards the middle of this track. Dell’Orto really shines on this one, as does Daniele Persoglio with his prominent basswork.
Unlike Drakkar’s previous two albums, RAZORBLADE GOD is not a concept album. The lyrics on this album range from the sci-fi “Man And Machine,” and “The Matrix” the voyage of Lief Erikson on “To The Future,” Dante on “The Inferno,” and pay homage to Tolkien on “Galadriel’s Song.” Almost surprisingly, the ballad “Galadriel’s Song” is one of my favourite tracks on the album; the lyrics, acoustic guitar, and delicate keys creating a mournful track fitting for the Elf Queen. My other favourite track on the album is “Witches’ Dance,” which opens with a catchy bass intro before blasting into an excellent riff/synth combo to get my head banging instantaneously. Closing out the album is a very cool cover of the classic Magnum song, “Kingdom of Madness.”
The production on RAZORBLADE GOD is clean, though I feel it could be crisped up a bit more in some places. Also, while the songwriting has improved considerably from the first two, I feel that a couple of the songs tend to sound the same and run together after a couple of spins. Still, this album is a huge step up for Drakkar. With hope and luck, this lineup will remain stable, and we will have more releases to come from these true Italian metallers. The packaging on the CD is very nice overall, despite being in digipak format (which I abhor), and includes the music video for “To The Future,” which is a great touch. Fans of classic, speed, and power metal as well as any fan of the Italian scene would do well to check out Drakkar’s third and strongest release.
(originally written by me for www.metal-rules.com, January, 2003)