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The... - 100%

OpsiusCato, August 11th, 2010

Complete title for this review:

The "Dragonlord" was able to "Cast a Spell" on "My Own Majesty". I am going "To Live Forever" in a "World of Steel" until "The Signs" for the "Ancient Prophecy" show up.

What a cheesy title, right?

I have always thought that most of the song titles in this album had something to do with each other. And this title is my own personal way to intertwine the titles. Ha!

Last Friday (August 6th, 2010) I was writing a lengthy review for Obscene Gesture's "Living in Profanity", in which I explained how I came across that album, and how my love for Speed and Power Metal made me listen to it, but, unfortunately, my computer froze and the two and a half hours I spent writing it went straight to hell because I forgot to save thanks to my excessive inspiration. I still remember most of what I wrote, and perhaps I'll write it again, but that stupid little situation gave the idea to review this album.

I stated above that I love Speed and Power Metal. Well, those are my favorite Metal subgenres, and I have spent a large part of my life listening/playing/talking about Speed and/or Power Metal. And this album happens to be my ABSOLUTE favorite Power Metal album.

This jewel came out in 1999, but I first heard of it in 2001, thanks to my former band's drummer, who recorded a tape featuring several kickass Power Metal bands. I knew most of the bands in it, but there were two that caught my attention: Morifade and another Swedish band called Zonata. I really liked Zonata's track "Viking" (the one on the compilation), but Morifade's "Dragonlord" made me go nuts. I heard that song over and over again, until I was able to find "Possession of Power" on tape.

I expected to listen to a nice album with a song that freaked me out, but instead I found a superb album with excellent songs one after another.

As soon as the song that names the album starts (a little intro with keyboards and a voice that reminds me of Merlin's voice in the Mexican translation of Disney's "The Sword in the Stone") you know that something special is going to happen.

This album has everything you should expect from a great Power Metal album. Nonstop double bass drums EVERYWHERE (which made me think of Kim Arnell as a Swedish Speedy Gonzalez that never gets tired), epic guitar riffs that actually have rhythm, (unlike most Power Metal bands who just play fast and with no rhythm), complex solos, choirs here and there, all-band-like backup vocals, semi audible bass (being a bassist this annoys me a little), and Stefan Petersson's high pitched vocals.

Up to here you might think there's nothing special, except for the rhythm thing. But there are many things that make this album almost perfect. First of all we have Stefan's vocals. They're high pitched, but not in the "almost castrati" way that hurts your ears. His voice is lower than Kai Hansen's or Michael Kiske's. It sounds manlier, yet it is not harsh or low enough to fit in a Thrash or Speed band. I find difficult to describe it since this is not the kind of regular voice you'll find in Power Metal. You must check it out so you can get the idea.

Kim Arnell's drumming is tight and precise, hitting hard and when it is needed. I read somewhere that Power Metal comes in two different speeds, Metal and Ballad, but this album proves that statement wrong. Of course there are ballads in this album, but there are also fast, headbanging songs, and mid tempo moshers with rhythm and strength. While this is album is not an absurd display of virtuosity, it is a great lesson on how to play Power with taste and ability. He does what he must do without being boring or sounding clich├ęd.

Jesper Johannson's guitar ability is showed, but it doesn't become tedious. There's no excessive guitar shredding and jerking off (coughLucaTurillicough) but he manages to make that level of "lesser complexity" interesting and fun.
Most of the time he uses distortion but every once in a while he gives room for clean guitar sound and he does so delightfully.

Keyboards are used only when needed (except for the title track which is only keys) and they are never being used excessively. Sometimes they are the leading instrument (like in "Cast a Spell") but generally they're a little held back.

The semi audible bass is the thing that annoys me a little. You have to pay attention to notice it most of the time. But if you ignore this, it was played in a very smart way. Playing just what fits the song and nothing more. I like when bassists that can do a lot more just hold back and play just what's needed.

The lyrics are about fantasy, but not in that ultra cheesy way that yells "mock me". Overall it is a great album that shows you that Power Metal can be played with taste and intelligence.

You should get it and enjoy it. It is a true jewel indeed. I have never been tired of listening to it.

Morifade is excellent.