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Are you guys sure you're not a power/thrash band? - 77%

hells_unicorn, December 29th, 2010

Amongst the ever increasing supply of one album wonders in the metal world is this, the 2003 debut by the long defunct Rising Faith, simply dubbed “The Arrival”. This is one of those truly unfortunate eventualities in that there was some real potential for growth here, in spite of the foundation being extremely simple. Though hailing from Sweden, one wouldn’t guess it by how heavy, hard-hitting, and utterly thrash influenced this is. It carries a host of melodic trappings that obviously lean it towards the power metal genre, but when the high end vocals and the cliché choruses are taken out, this is power metal in the same sense that the 1982 Metallica by the same name is.

It’s very perplexing that such an act should hail from the realm of Hammerfall knights and Sabaton soldiers, just as it is that they were signed to Limb Music Productions, but regardless this is something that should have caught on. There are no keyboards to be found here, nor a massive backdrop of period instruments to give this its implied epic edge, just a pair of heavily distorted guitars that all but completely recreate the bone smashing punch that defined “And Justice For All” and “Time Does Not Heal”. The thrashing riffs and equally pummeling rhythm section have been put into a compact, formulaic, verse/chorus box that is conducive to power metal sensibilities, but apart from Iced Earth’s “Burnt Offerings”, there’s not a whole lot of reference to the sum of these parts.

The chief flaw is that the songs tend to feel a little underdeveloped, and leave almost as quickly as they come. “The Inner Truth” has this truly spellbinding chorus that leaps out of the streaming flow of speed metal riffs, but essentially is as fleeting as a 2 minute punk rock song. “Imaginations” and “Marching Out” are a similar story, though they do hang on a tiny bit longer and throw in a few lead breaks to garner the ears. In a strange way songs like these seem fitting since vocalist Kristian Wallin sounds a tiny bit like Dexter Holland, although his air siren wails turn Halford-like, but there just seems to not be enough content in some of these songs, and they seem to slightly cater to the short attention span of rock radio.

Of course this album is not wholly barren of masterpieces that don’t need to be improved in any way. The heavy thrashing “Head Of The Anvil” sounds almost like a dead ringer for Metallica’s “Blackened” until it gets to the chorus, Wallin’s vocals obviously being an outlier. “Final Day” has more of a chugging, mid-tempo feel more akin to “Eye Of The Beholder”, and then suddenly manages to work itself into a beautiful chorus section that sounds it was grown in Helloween’s garden. But the crowning achievement on here is the driving speed anthem “Shade Of Faith”, which somehow also manages to work itself from a ball busting verse riff into this really infectious refrain that sounds almost like a Bad Religion song with James Hetfield playing the guitar part.

This is borderline essential listening for anyone who goes in power/thrash directions, and will probably appeal to fans of later 80s Metallica and other works by various thrash bands where things started to slow down and simplify (“Arise” and “Souls Of Black” for example). Just be prepared to be hit with those bombastic choruses that are normally associated with bands like Paragon and Iron Savior, albeit translated into the more neck-wrecking format described above. If you are attempting to defend power metal from detractors who insist that the genre has a shortage of pummeling riffs, direct them to this album for a thorough schooling.