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They play the tunes of war ... - 90%

ShatteredSky, June 21st, 2003

This release represents the best-known and first album of the Middle Ages trilogy with a magnificent production. This concept piece on the Scottish history awaits with mighty raw guitars, great sing along choruses, massive sound and nice cover artwork. The additional notes on Scottish history for each song add to the comprehension and self-contained character of the album. The music is a great mix of power and speed metal underlain by decent but not to prominent keyboards plus some interesting bagpipe parts. The songwriting is appropriate to the subject, and after getting used to Boltendahls vox there is no real weak point on this CD.
“The Brave” as bagpipe/guitar intro leading directly to the crushing riff of the fast “Scotland united”. “Dark of the sun” is a very powerful mid tempo stomper with a strange double solo guitar part. Next comes “William Wallace”, one of my all time favorites. After the haunting intro an incredible speed attack hits your stomach, contrasting with the silent chorus parts. The second refrain is followed by an intermezzo of fighting sounds leading up to an epic guitar solo. “The Bruce” contrasts as a very slow and doomy song, continuously building up towards the end. This one really knocks you down like a ton of bricks; it’s true heavy power metal. “The battle of Flodden” returns with faster pace, speeding up ´til the abrupt finish. The “Ballad of Mary” somewhat relaxes things, before midtempo “The truth” and the fast “Cry for freedom” hit the speakers. These more standard like titles are followed by two highlights. “Killing time” with rip off intro riff work presents the best chorus after “Rebellion”, which is next. This definitely is a killer track, the rawness of the rhythm section, the epic guitar plus bagpipe solo and the mighty chorus …The fast ”Culloden Muir” features a drum solo and the short keyboard track “The fall of the Brave” closes the album as kind of a minute’s silence.