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Shiny Swedish Stuff - 75%

Dragonchaser, June 29th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Pride & Joy Music

A good showing here from Scandinavian newcomers Rexoria, already onto their second album after putting out the first a year earlier, racking up another solid release for Pride & Joy, who I suspect will become one of the frontrunner labels for new power metal in coming years. Rexoria are one of those female-fronted bands eschewing the symphonic scene for something meatier, but that’s not to say this is a spike-studded fist to the face. Keys are still in residence, and there’s the occasional nod to more commercial styles scattered about, but mainly they are here to rock you with catchy choruses, trem-picked riffs, and the powerful vocals of Frida Ohlin, a softer version of Noora Louhimo who can rasp it up with the best of them, but gives a dignified, stately performance that keeps everything locked in.

Battle Beast are a pretty good comparison, but Rexoria aren’t much into 80s pop, and remember the metal must come first, no matter how catchy your refrains are. The mid-paced cuts are very much in line with the stuff Battle Beast were doing on ‘Unholy Savior’, the good tracks, anyway, except Rexoria keep hacking away with hooky riffs laced with delicious duel harmonies, an old school mentality that comes out in almost every track. ‘Velvet Heroes’ blasts out of the gate with a Celesty-style strike of melodic power metal, morphing as it goes on into a killer fist-pumping anthem Noora and chums would give the thumbs-up to. Later tune ‘Roaring’ is a classic up-tempo HammerFall jaunt with another shiny chorus, and I have to say, Rexoria do better when they infuse their formula with speed metal drumming. Best track here by a wide yard, the shimmering ‘Reach For The Heavens In Time’, begins with a lost Tolkki lead before Frida drips her vocal honey all over it, her lines taken straight out of an 80s power ballad, then kicks up some dust with a chorus that sounds like it was written to please Kai Hansen. Rexoria vary the pace nicely, often within the tunes themselves, and it keeps things fresh. The title track begins with some annoying narration, and never really takes off, despite a decent Falconer lick, and ballad ‘Endless Nights’ comes way too early as track three, messing up the momentum delivered by the first two digs. I wish they’d ditched that one.

The production is icy smooth, giving a nice rounded feel to things, and with more experience Frida Ohlin could be a real asset to the female-fronted world. There’s nothing here that will surprise you, but it’s a cool power metal romp, and I sense good things coming their way.