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After the really energetic and powerful debut album “...for those who walk the path forlorn...” I expected much of the band’s second release. It’s always that the second album is the most difficult one for any band as it often determines if they have the energy to carry on their career and create their own style or if their first record was just an experimental thing.
Well, sadly, this record is a deception if we consider the second album as an album that should determinate the band’s style and future. The songs sound all very similar and often, this group sounds like any other European power metal band. The band mostly sounds like “Edguy” with some additional keyboards. There are bands which are way worse to copy as Edguy deliver all that a true fan of European power metal wants to hear, but the sound of this album isn’t really original, fresh or innovative. Most of the songs sound really solid, but they are all quite similar. Such an album with a total playing time above one hour will become easily boring and longer as it should be.
The singer is very talented but has not a very unique style, the guitars are melodic and tight, the keyboards fit perfectly to the sound of this group, the bass guitar and drums create the rhythmic basis of the album but both musicians are somehow standing in the shadows of the keyboards and guitars. Musically and technically, the band does a solid job but nothing more. The main problem of those very similar songs is that there are a lot less catchy hook lines and choruses on this album than on their first one. The most impressive songs are the very positive and melodic title track “Ride on a phoenix” which has a catchy chorus, the epic and entertaining “Crown of creation” where you can also hear the voice of the legendary Jon Oliva who is though not doing a really convincing job or creative part, the other epic song “The jester” which sounds like an really solid Edguy song and maybe the final “Reign of Agony” which sounds really symphonic and has some Asian folk influences. These four best songs already sound like talented but very average power metal that copies the well known bands of that genre, so imagine the other eight average songs plus introduction on the CD which are even less developed and creative. There are no real surprises on this album, no outstanding song, neither a really good nor a really bad song.
It all just sounds very ordinary and I feel very sorry about this because the band had partially proven its talent on their first record and could have created a more developed and outstanding follow-up but this here is rather a step backwards. It is not a bad album, so I would not just give fifty percent but it is not worth more than seventy-five precent and that's why I quite chose the middle of the worst and best case scenario to give you an appropriated idea. It is nice to listen to but not more.
I would only recommend this album to die hard fans of European power metal or Edguy fans that wait for some good music while they are waiting for the next album of their heroes. If you like the style of this album, you should also try “Burning Point” and maybe “Valley’s Eve”, they sound quite similar, just to give you an impression.