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Creates a nice Atmosphere - 87%

Rotting_Christ_Mike, June 4th, 2011

So, here we have the new album of the Finnish viking/symphonic metallers! I had heard "Stand Up And Fight" and I had high expectations from this release. I have already listened to this numerous times, to understand it fully, and to give it a fair review. Some of the songs are really powerful and started to grow on me.

The production is of course very neat and clear, allowing all the instruments to be heard. I'm really glad the mixing doesn't bring the vocals to the front. I'm not really fond of vocal-based albums. What makes this album good is the whole atmosphere created by the theme and lyrics as well as the keyboards and happy-sounding guitars. The lyrics focus on the Byzantine empire, something I find quite interesting. The use of battle sounds is nothing groundbreaking but really adds to the music and helps you create an image of a battlefield in your mind.

The instrumentation is really solid, the guitar provides amazing melodies that make you want to hum along while the keyboards and the violin accompany them creating sweet dual melodies. The drums thankfully are not buried in the mix and we can clearly hear them pounding with power providing the needed rhythm for the music, alongside the bass. The bass is also really audible, something I always like in music. The vocals are powerful and have a wide range. Sometimes Warlord utilizes those amazing harsh vocals that add so much to the battlefield effect. His clean vocals are also outstanding and really warm. Take the beginning of the title track for example; that vocal melody "The pouring rain, sticks my hair to my face" just sets the mood so nicely! I also like it when he holds the last syllables of a word for a bit longer, again in the title track, after the part mentioned before, where he sings "the stars that once led my way" is a good example, where he stresses the "led'.

Overall this is a great release, a must-buy for any power/viking/folk/symphonic fan. Sure, you won't find any outstandingly amazing technical abilities but there are many great riffs, decent solos and that amazing epic feeling created by the symphonic elements and the dual melodies. The drumming is good, again nothing outstanding but just what the music needs and the bass playing is nice although most of the time it just follows the guitar. Moreover the album is full of catchy keyboard/synth intros. I'm pretty sure this is going to be the best power/viking/folk/symphonic release of the year. Another strong point are the superb lyrics! Don't miss this! I will buy it as soon as I find it!