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La Danse Macabre - 68%

ShiningDoom, September 18th, 2008

It should be said that I got this album initially for two reasons, Mike Wead and Messiah Marcolin. However there is one problem with that, Messiah Marcolin isn't on this album. So while I was initially disappointed, i'm certainly not going to dwell on that. This is still a solid album.

We'll start with the vocals. Kristian Andren's vocals are good, not great on this effort. While they lack some dimension, they are consistently good power metal/crooning vocals. His vibrato's are well placed yet come off as whiny on parts of it. Overall he does a good job, but leaves me unsatisfied. The two exceptions being parts of "Crown of Thorns", when he seems to almost get angry sounding to some degree similar to Diabolus era Tom Araya and on "Morpheus (My Deadly Friend)", when he adds another degree of intensity.

The guitars give this album some rejuvenation. There are some blistering riffs on the opener "Endlessly" that definately hook you with speed and virtuosity. They create some very epic, atmospheric, and sad feelings on "Crown of Thorns" that certainly tug on your emotions. All in all, the guitars are top notch through out with the standouts being "Endlessly", "Crown of Thorns", "La Danse Macabre", and "The Beggars Waltz".

I can't really say a whole lot for the drums. They certainly don't do anything extraordinary, which leaves the feeling of "not so powerful power metal".

To summarize the sound, it comes off as more of a sad power metal album than a power/doom album. The doom elements(aside from a sluggish pace) are few and far between, the exceptions being parts of "The Losers Trial" and "The Beggars Waltz". This album is really a hit or miss. It's certainly not for doom metal fundamentalists, then again it's not for the power metal enthusiasts either. I don't really consider this "epic doom metal" either, say in the vein of Candlemass or even Marcolin fronted Memento Mori albums. I usually listen to power metal for the upbeat, high energy aspect. And I usually listen to doom metal for the heavy, "gut-wrenching", deliberate feeling. I don't really get either from this album.

It's worth hearing, just stay open-minded and try to have as few expectations as possible!