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2008's Metal Opera Masterpiece! - 95%

Oakenson, October 3rd, 2008

I think it is safe to say that metal operas are much more of a common thing these days than, let's say, in 2001 when the first Avantasia album came out - there have been great successes (Avantasia, Final Chapter) and unfortunate failures (Aina) throughout the rather short metal opera history so, when taking this into consideration, where does the first all-Brazilian metal opera fall? Soulspell consists of an original, core band, joined together by a pretty vast assortment of respectful and reputable guests (including members from bands like Hibria, Tribuzy, Dark Avenger and Tuatha De Dannan) that help give the record the dramatic, "operatic" aesthetic of having multiple characters, perspectives and so on.

The album sweeps open with two absolutely fantastic tracks: The Gathering/Age Of Silence and Troy. Both songs feature sweeping, galloping rhythms, excellent vocals and a strong sense of dynamic that is prevalent throughout the instrumentation, song structures and melodies - the songs flow exceptionally well as individual compositions but also as pieces of a larger whole, which, in the case of a concept album, is very necessary. The Blacksmith and The Impaler are two very strong tracks that work very well together back-to-back; The Blacksmith is perhaps the "rockiest" song on the album, with a completely phenomenal guitar solo, whilst The Impaler is a true metal masterpiece, showcasing a precise and effective use of keyboards as well as vocal-lines and song dynamics (which, at this point of the listening experience, is something that the band clearly has no problem with). The album closes out with The Last Life which is, undoubtedly, my favorite track on the album, as well as what I would consider to be the year's greatest power metal song. The song stands at nine minutes in length and features an array of changes, giving it a very strong progressive and epic feel that, truly, steals my breath away with its power and might - this is an epic that stands right alongside any of the genre's greatest works (Rhapsody's Symphony Of Enchanted Lands, Avantasia's The Seven Angels, etc) ... what a wondrous, wondrous way to end the album!

Please do not think that, because I only mentioned specific songs above, that the other songs that remain unmentioned are unworthy or, in some way, are lower in quality for they absolutely are not. A Legacy Of Honor is a conceptual album that is necessary to listen to in full to truly experience it in its (obviously) entirety. With that being said, I really do hope that Soulspell gets the recognition they clearly deserve amongst the many metal circles that exist today, for their debut effort here is one for kings ... I expect even greater things from the band in the future although, for the time being, let this album slake your thirst for true, glorious and epic power metal - hail!