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Less than the sum of its parts - 40%

chaxster, November 21st, 2007

Write a bunch of power metal anthems, get two gravelly voiced singers to come belt it out over them, and you're guaranteed a hit album, right? That's evidently what Magnus Karlsson thought when he came out with The Battle, and just to show you how committed he was, he managed to rope in Russell Allen from Symphony X and Jørn Lande from...well, a lot of shit. Following the lukewarm reception it received, Karlsson took the logical course of action - release the same thing again with a different name, and call it a sequel.

So in The Revenge, Allen and Lande reprise their roles as hammy prima donnas battling for the mike. Presumably the revenge mentioned is meant for all the detractors of the previous album. Musically, it sounds like Lionel Richie and Donna Summer grew balls and have moved on since Endless Love. Lyrically, it sounds like two Magic: The Gathering players talking trash to each other. It's difficult to tell whether either of them take any of this seriously or are just playing along to humour Karlsson, but judging by the nature of their own work, I'd lean towards the former.

It's not bad music, actually. It's just so rigidly entrenched in the bombastic power ballad format all throughout that halfway through the album, even the most staunch fan is going to be getting restless. Karlsson does his part, shredding like a bitch here and there, but as for song arrangements, he's no Arjen Lucassen. Result being the considerable talents of his singers aren't tapped all that much. You can't really tell who's singing most times, and they generally put in sub-par performances. Of course, with these guys, even that sounds pretty decent, but you can't help wishing for more. A stark contrast with something like Lucassen's Ayreon, where all the guest singers give distinctive and convinced deliveries.

The best way to hear this is to listen to one random track at a time. That way, you may actually end up liking this over a reasonable period of time. Then again, that's not much of a recommendation. My favourite part was during the title track and after an Allen delivery, we have what sounds like an aside from Jørn, waiting in the wings - "My revenge! Oho! My turn to ROCK! Grawr...etc." Haha, yeah that about sums it up.