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The armour guards the splendour of His kingdom! - 95%

Vintersemestre, October 24th, 2005

This is one of those albums that I gave a haphazard listen to when I was checking out a bunch of Christian power metal bands. This is probably the best one of all the ones I checked out.

When I first listened to this album I was unimpressed, it could have been for several reasons, either I was too interested in my painting, or wasn't really listening, as I'm often prone to do. Whatever the case, repeated listens have made me realize what a great album this really is.
While there is not very much in the way of innovation, there is indeed some present. The tone and mood of the songs differ from track to track, some slower with a focus on vengeful or revolutionary lyrical themes (even one song speaking of the very real persecution of Christians happening in today's society), or upbeat praise songs, like the unforgettable opening track.

The real musical gem comes in Taivaallinen Jerusalem, track nine. It is more than just the standard bearing ballad that appears on virtually every power metal album. It's very clear that alot of time and preparation went into making an interesting and engaging song; it can be very difficult to make a six and a half-minute song pass in what seems like two minutes, making you want to listen to it again. it has a Middle-eastern touch (with a European flavour) that is not entirely unexpected, given the title, but it is pulled off remarkably well, probably better than anything I've ever heard. The chorus really soars, and it will stay in your head for days. The only real beef I have with the song is that the drums sound like a silly keyboard loop at some points.

Every song - yes EVERY song - on this album is catchy and infectious, played with a masterful proficiency and arranged very professionally, accompanied with decent production value. Another song worth noting is "Wounded Moon", which is nearly identical to a latter-day Sentenced song in many respects. This is the song I mentioned wherein the lyrics pertain to the physical and idealogical persecution of true Christians in modern society. It's played at slow-mid pace and does a very effective job of communicating the indignation of its writer to the listener.

Let me finish by telling you that this is not your conventional power metal album, certain songs definitely are conventional power metal, but as a whole, if you're looking for typical Europower like Edguy, this is not the first place to look. In fact, I wouldn't be afraid to say that once you've absorbed this album, you'll conclude that it's barely power metal, but could more accurately be described as contemporary neoclassical. Much like the latest Galloglass album, this is for the seasoned power metal fan who is looking for some variation.