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Inishmore is a very powerful Riot album, but definetly not one of the bests. The name sounds Celtic or Irish amd the opening track Black Water really gives it this Irish feel with the fiddle. It starts off powerful and lands a good impression, which however does not last. As it seemes, the song slows down, and thus the second track Angel Eyes is seems slow, though it is probably the fastest song on the album.
Music wise, the guitar riffs and licks are good, but one song sounds like the other on this album. And only a couple are actually memorable. Some songs have riffs that will put a 2 year old to sleep, while other songs have enough power to keep you up ready to rock, but not to headbang. Such songs would be Kings Are Falling and Should I Run. If you really want to see how slow and melodic this album is check out the song Watching the Signs. It has an awsome opening lick that is beautifully harmonized, but to melodic for my blood. Almost sounds like a song from a Japanese game I used to play on the Sega Genesis.
Another negative to this album is the singer's vocals. Lets just say Riot has had better singers in the past. He isn't bad at all, he just sounds like a typical singer and doesn't add anything to his vocals to make a good lasting impression. The only song he really shines out on is Inishmore (Forsaken Heart), and probably because the song isn't heavy at all, more quite, powerful, and choir like.
This album is good, I am not knocking it what so ever, but it could have been so much better. You have this awsome opening track that sets the mood real high, but then you have a bunch of fillers, maybe two or three real good songs. Then you end it with two songs Inishmore (Forsaken Heart), which is only a minute long, but reflects the theme that was placed in the opening track. Then the last track, Inishmore, which once again plays this theme with a heavier set. If all the songs would have related to a theme or would have been heavier paced leaving a better impression - then this album would have been gold. A good melodic metal album...if you dig that kind of stuff!
Riot manages to accomplish something here that's quite hard - a heavy metal album that manages to exhibit ownage without resorting to complete riff bludgeonry. "Eternal Nightmare" this is not, or "Thundersteel" for that matter. This is, rather, a power metal album that is completely melodic without becoming flowery. The guitar work is excellent, and the riffs definitely stand out and are memorable, and are not lost in wankery or 480 beat-per-minute flowery geigh Sonata Craptica horseshit.
Most of the songs here are of the same general style. We start with "Angel Eyes", which is the fastest song on here, and probably the heaviest - and also it has a really cool Judas Priest styled solo in the middle, courtesy of guitar wizard Mark Reale. Mike DiMeo's vocals are neither shrieky nor over the top, but his ability to sing is unquestioned.
We get to the rest of the album, which is consistently solid. Every song here is memorable in its own way, and the highlights are probably "Kings are Falling", and "Turning the Hands of Time". The last song, "Inishmore" is a ballad that also contains some of the best guitar work on the album.
Overall, this is one of those "Hanging in the Balance" styled albums - a lot of the time, that just doesn't work, unless you have the quality of songwriting to back up the lack of complete bludgeonry. This album definitely does.