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Symphonic power metal is definitely a hit or miss type subject with me, either it's really overly symphonic and not the good type of symphonic, trading less metal elements and becoming more of a Within Temptation type band instead of utilizing symphonic elements, being grandiose and epic all while still remaining a metal band. HolyHell is one such band that seems to understand this, although it's not quite as consistent as it should be, on their first single Apocalypse containing 4 choice songs displaying quite a professional approach to the genre, probably owing much debt to master shredder Joe Stump and his knowledge of the music business and such.
The first song, the title song, being the best here featuring awesome symphonic type orchestrations allowing for a very grandiose and majestic feel feeling like something from Luca Turilli's side projects meets neo-classical bliss in this fast number that creates quite the imagery. I can clearly see myself standing on the ramparts of a castle whilst arrows darken the sky and legions of foot soldiers clashing on the fields below, bloody and guts everywhere and maybe a fucking Nazgul flying at me, especially at the 1 minute mark; yeah... you know what I'm talking about.
What makes this a bit more unique is the lead vocals of Maria Breon and her Simone Simons like approach, but probably not quite in the same league as her. Breon's still very talented and knows how to sing, she's nowhere as operatic as her colleagues but still knows what she's doing. The drums are what you should expect to find here with double bass euphoria and guitar riffs mixed perfectly with keyboards that scream neo-classical symphonies, being very similar to that of Rhapsody.
Resurrection is more of your stereotypical symphonic power metal song with some gothic metal type riffing and drumming patterns. It's not as powerful and doesn't strike as well as the title track, but the lead guitar work is fantastic and being a slower ballad-esque type song, it highlights Breon's vocals very well, showcasing her range very well. Mixing lower type slow singing to rapid fast falsettoes almost, doing a very good job. Last Vision is similar in this aspect, though once again featuring very nice symphonic elements but lacking the powerful punch that Apocalypse had; this once again showcases a slower and more traditional symphonic power metal song approach.
Out of nowhere these is a live song from the Masters of Rock Festival in 2005 being a cover of the infamous Phantom of the Opera, which every symphonic metal band does, but being slightly more unique featuring the one and only legend himself, Eric Adams. I've always enjoyed this song, especially Nightwish's rendition of it and HolyHell's cover is quite decent getting the crowd into it and making it more energetic. Breon does a good job, as she should because she's quite talented and Eric Adams, being the metal vocalist god that he is does a very good job, but unfortunately it doesn't do as well because there are no orgasmic ridiculous falsettoes that I wish for every night... fortunately though the mighty Joe Stump makes up for it shredding and soloing all over the place making it much more. At the end though, when the crowd is going nuts as Stump shreds the fuck out of the guitar and Breon does her best Tarja impression, Adams should have been ripping out one of his infamous "Kingdom Come" ending falsettoes, oh well, I suppose he didn't want to steal HolyHell's thunder.
So HolyHell does a decent job with this first release/single and has quite the professional touch with this, with Joe Stump's help and influence in the band making it a lot better that it would be and more unique. It's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, but it's quite unique in it's own right making it a decent offering. This is worth picking up just for the title track alone, it being such a fantastic symphonic power metal song that packs quite a punch and has such majestic orchestrations. Fans of Rhapsody, Luca Turilli, symphonic power metal as well as shredders take note and watch out for HolyHell's upcoming full-length.