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Out of Orbit - 38%

GuntherTheUndying, December 18th, 2013

Italian power metal bands are a dime a dozen and getting cheaper it seems. I'm no geographical expert on metal bands, but new power metal groups from Italy seem to sprout up every time a member of Rhapsody of Fire takes a dump. They all seem to hold a reputation of being lackluster and inadequate, barring a few examples such as Rhapsody of Fire and a limited selection of others. Lunar Explosion is another one of these groups attempting to slay the proverbial dragon and shine some light on a scene that is otherwise pretty dire and cluttered. Their self-titled debut is a little better than some of the turds I've come into contact with over the years, but often mired by many of the same inconsistencies and woes plaguing several of their cohorts. Typically more of the same despite the infrequent flare of brilliance.

Lunar Explosion's style is a bit more combustible and punchy than the fluffy, keyboard-orientated approach used by many of their kind. However, the band's efforts often reek of amateurism and underdeveloped ideas that retrace the same patterns over and over again. The riffs remind me of Gamma Ray and other riff-based, heavier power metal factions, which may sound impressive, but they really aren't that noteworthy overall. The guitar work is simply rudimentary and basic, like cookie-cutter Gamma Ray instrumentation stirred into light cuts of fourth-rate Maiden traits. On the bright side, there are many excellent guitar solos constantly soaring throughout the record like an unchained eagle, and it's really a sight to behold—the dazzling leads color up an otherwise tiring experience.

They do seem to rely heavily on constantly drowning the listener in solos, however, which is a bit of a ruse considering how predictable and vapid most of the album is beyond the flash and flare. But come on, you know the drill: this is just lame power metal. They run through the motions of a Gamma Ray-esque tribe and deliver songs that sound more like musical recipes for making fruit cake than actual anthems. The vocals? Dreadful, honestly. Lunar Explosion's singer sounds fine during the album's easier moments, but this guy's tone goes off like a Geiger counter in Hiroshima whenever he attempts hitting higher notes or moving beyond his vocal sanctuary. Listen to "When the Sun No Longer Shines" and prepare to cringe. No, that's not a nail slowly scratching a chalkboard, believe it or not.

Well, he’s not that bad, but yeah, no me gusta. The one thing that the dudes of Lunar Explosion have going for them is their passion. Unlike so many groups from this region, they are overflowing with an energy that is simply overbearing. Far from cheesy or falsely passionate; they sound ravenous and eager to prove themselves. Then again, Rudy was far from being Notre Dame's star player even though he was a dedicated, hungry dude striving for greatness. I suppose it's much better to be on this side of the coin than to be utterly unenthusiastic or pointlessly challenging. Lunar Explosion's efforts are mundane, but based on the zeal, I hope they work out the kinks and give it another go, I really do.

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