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Essential power metal - 91%

BloodIronBeer, February 5th, 2007

I have a general inclination to believe that any band I learn is Japanese will either be too goofy, or trying way, way too hard. (though this sentiment is slowly changing) Especially in power metal. They're normally over the top, or just plain corny. Most Japanese bands just don't get it. Galneryus get it. They get it, they know what is going on, and what they're doing - more than the majority of their European and American counterparts.

Galneryus play a style similar to the power metal and neoclassical fusion of bands like Concerto Moon, Adagio and obviously Yngwie Malmsteen. And as far as this release goes - simply render those bands obsolete.

Showcased excellently here is one thing the generic power metal bands can learn from and that is this; Galneryus are all great musicians. The keyboardist, guitarist and drummer all play at hyper speeds. Not too far from most power metal bands, right? Right. But here’s the differences, Galneryus’ guitarist and keyboardist don’t just run through scales. Their drummer doesn’t just pound away endlessly at the bass drum, and do rolls across the toms from high pitched to low, for every fill. The riffs aren’t played repeatedly with no variation. In fact, every time you hear the riff, it will be dressed with a new fill. Guitar licks like greased lightening, keyboard leads that just ooze emotion (that's unheard of, huh?), and drums fills with just the right amount of complexity showcase these players superior skill. These guys play their instruments better than most wank-fest bands, yet add to the music seamlessly, rather than cluttering it needlessly.

The Engrish has to be looked over to enjoy this music fully. It’s silly, but if you can get past it, and also realize the vocalist is perfect for this music, then you’ll have no problem enjoying it immensely.

These well written songs flow greatly and incorporate the stellar musicianship to it's fullest. This is flawless power metal, pure and simple. Again, I can't stress enough how great the musicianship is - and how wonderful it is to see it showcased in a way free of masturbatory pompous inclinations.

This album loses points only for two reasons - the Engrish, and it is lacking in originality. But I'm not asking for the world. This album is brilliant in it's own right. A power metal essential.

The Masterpiece Flying the Flag from the East - 94%

MettleAngel, July 29th, 2006

The rebel flag of hate and punishment flies high over the land of the rising sun. Osaka's own final resolution is now reached in their innate struggle for freedom. This deeply affectionate debut release of the glorious aggressor, the gallant Galneryus, resonates with mighty steel, burning the mettle hearts of all power metal minions. In the delight of slaying those souls in the heart of the storm; now lost in the distant event horizon, Galneryus rises to reign. They claim their crown of ages with their incredible loudness and earthshaking thunder from the east. I'm galvanized by the guitar virtuoso Syu and keyboardist Yuhki along with vocalist Yama-B, all who easily open new opportunities, aiming high and offering up the next generation less grief of war and perdition.

Galneryus are an obscure band, and their CDs are difficult to procure. Even their website is primarily in Japanese. As I have very little information for them, other than what I've discovered from the internet, I will just focus on the music which is top notch. The CD, which I believe to be conceptual in nature, deals with a post-war torn society now being oppressed by an evil warlord. Here a small band of rebels have risen up prepared to regain their dignity, while flying the flag of freedom. The CD commences with an overture and narration which sort of explains the thematic context of the saga. It's very difficult to decipher Yama-B's vocals given his thick accent; but he does sing in a very clear manner reminiscient of Daniel Heiman. Actuallly, the muscle and music on this CD is quite fast and aggressive like Lost Horizon's debut. I also detect an homage to classic Loudness as Yama-B also does his best Minoru Nihara impression on tracks like "Child Of Fire" and "The Final Resolution". Syu also charismatically channels the devil soldier of fortune - Akira Takasaki, grasping the tusk of the jaguar while on the prowl for licks, and breaking the heavy chains of disillusion with all satisfaction guaranteed. Yuhki's Keyboard arrangements echo the force and rampage of appreciation found in Vadim's dragon flame of youth mixed and mangled with Jan Warmen's mentality for accepting the fact of hate.

The first 4 tracks on this epic are real burners, blazing beyond the ground and pound cache. The melodies of ancient rage and rancour are quite infectious, and overall this is an awesome CD. Requiem is an instrumental, providing a break in the speed and the last track with its very familiar melody, is a bit slower and more epic; but essentially this creates balance and breath for the CD which is thoroughly entertaining. Galneryus' second offering is stellar as well, leaving me no eternal regret. They will soon be enticing fans with a new CD called Beyond The End Of Despair, so my quiet wish is to hear that and hopefully write another promising review.

as originally posted at

Power Metal Masterpiece - 96%

Opus, January 15th, 2005

Take the awesomeness of Lost Horizon, mix it with the speed and musicianship of Children of Bodom and add a bit of the neo-classical flair of Nation, and you get Galneyrus.

This is a Japanese band, and what the Japanese do, they do well. So naturally, when a Japanese band decides to play power metal, we get a power metal masterpiece. Not only the songs, but also the musicianship on this album is breathtaking. Guitarist Syu can also be found in Animetal, and there is a slight hint of their computer game melodies in some of the solos, but just a hint; nothing that will draw your attention from the epic and heroic themes of the music. His playing is reminiscent of Yngwie, but, unlike maestro Malmsteen, Syu has a wide variety of techniques to choose from, which he utilizes to the fullest when necessary, from crazy tapping to emotional bluesy licks. Next up, the vocals: I swear Yama-B must have been studying Lost Horizon thoroughly - in his phrasing and vocal melodies he sometimes is a dead ringer for Daniel Heiman, and in my book that’s certainly not a bad thing, considering that Heiman is one of the finest singers in metal. And like Heiman, he’s able to move between the octaves with astonishing ease, from a quite low, somewhat raspy mid-range, where he stays most of the time, to ear-piercing highs. The keyboards are exceptionally well played, though actually being very prominent, blend in perfectly with the music. Usually I’m no big fan of keyboards, but this guy knows how to shred! The rhythm section is a bit problematic. Sure, the drummer has chops and flawless technique, and the bass is audible, he’s playing proper bass lines and lightning speed runs, but you can tell that they haven’t been involved in the writing process. I can’t help but feeling that they aren’t displaying their real potential. A very minor complaint, I know, but they are so close to perfection…

This is a concept album and the story deals with a hopeless post-apocalyptic world where an evil dictator is ruling with an iron hand, but a few brave men form the resistance and leads the revolution. The concise intro with a spoken part serves as a framework for the story to come, and then the album takes off, pulling no breaks, double-bass galore. The first four songs are fast numbers, semi-aggressive yet highly melodic, describing the beginning of the journey to free the land. Then it’s time for an instrumental, where Syu can show off. It’s a slow, ballady song, but in no aspect does it turn into a wank-fest; it’s still a song, and very much part of the story. After this the tempo picks up again, full speed ahead.

The eighth track, Child of Free(sic), had me wondering the first few times I listened to the album. The singer utilized a completely different tone, sounding a bit like Geddy Lee. I thought it had been recorded at a different time, but checking the story it makes perfect sense; this track act as contrast from the previous songs, where we get to follow the heroes' quest to fight the evil. Here we are given a lighter atmosphere before the final battle, a hope that the tyrant may be defeated; as the song takes on a different character, so do the vocals.

As the last track comes, the final stand, I am reminded why I enjoy power metal. It feels as if I’m standing on the battlefield, sword in hand, fist in the air, filled with the pride of being the one who defeated the tyrant and freed the land. Cheesy? You bet, but it is a glorious feeling!

The one thing people might find troublesome about this album is the Engrish. Being Swedish, this doesn’t bother me at all, but I can see how one who has English as their first language could have difficulties getting past this. I find it to be part of the charm, and, more important, the singer has really good pronunciation, it’s the grammar that’s a mess, but not to the point where you can’t follow the story.

If you like Lost Horizon’s Awakening the World, this album is for you. It might not be readily available - I got my copy off eBay from Singapore - but it’s well worth the trouble of tracking it down!