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EVERYTHING that can go wrong in power metal. - 10%

Napalm_Satan, December 4th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2003, CD, Nuclear Blast

If ever there was an album that was essentially a repository for all of the worst ideas ever conceived within the realm of power metal, but without any charm or quality that the bands that came up with these ideas would bring, you would get something like this. Alternatively, you can think of this GODAWFUL TURD as an unintentional parody of the dregs of power metal, specifically Europower. If you asked me a few months back what power metal was, I would probably end up describing something that sounds very close to this. Yeah, the most generalised, sweeping, off-base and uninformed view of power metal is the best description I can give to this - a pretentious exercise in writing mid-tempo, fluffy, tepid, and vocally oriented music driven by keyboards and triggered double bass.

From the first moments of this album, you know something is wrong. This thing sounds so unbelievably light, fluffy and 'plasticy' that it is revolting, to be honest. It isn't even the production's fault, this lies solely on the construction of the songs. The guitars... where are they? Like, most of this is solely based on fluffy keyboards and orchestrations, not, you know, on the MOTHERFUCKING 6 STRING RIFF MAKER! The odd riff or two makes an appearance in the intros to the songs, and to be honest the guitar tone is quite good, in fact. The few riffs here sound decent, but the problem is that they make up about a quarter of this album. The rest is comprised of nothing but drums which stick to one timekeeping beat, bass which has more time in the spotlight than the rhythm guitars and does nothing cool anyway, the sheer amount of masturbatory, dressy leads and the cheesy, fake as fuck keyboards. The double bass of the former, as well as the incessant lead wankery and the loud, pompous keyboards attempt to cover up and dress up the songs as something epic, powerful and grandiose, but they are in fact hollow, tepid, vapid, and SHIT.

And good god... FUCK THE VOCALIST! This Tim dude's voice here sounds fucking terrible. They fail as power metal vocals, because they have, well, NO POWER. They are thin, reedy, and sound very uneasy. You can hear his voice wobble a fair bit, as though he is singing a register above his natural range. And listen to the pre-chorus of something like 'Eagleheart'... that right there is off-key, no way around it. In addition, he lacks any real range, and has to rely on vocal layering (i.e: when his voice is made artificially louder and is less exposed) to make his voice sound like someone who actually has balls... IT DOESN'T FUCKING WORK! Seriously, this guy sounds more ball-less than a eunuch choir boy... just listen to that exposed part in 'Soul of a Vagabond'. Dude; just kill yourself, that bullshit is about as whiny as it comes in power metal.

Oh, and the songwriting sucks balls. These songs don't really move as such, rather they kind of plod along in circles, cycling through the whole verse-chorus cycle thing over and over. These songs don't really start or finish either, with the ending usually being a fucking fade-out, and often songs start on the same note that they end on. There are no real points of tension or climax in the longer songs, no energy ever flows through these compositions, and they are so boring that I would rather watch my own hair grow. The 'riffs' (read, solos and chord progressions) generally follow vocal melodies and vice versa, and nothing of note ever really happens elsewhere. Some solos on here aren't that bad, but they are trying to dress something that doesn't exist (that being the main body of any metal song, THE MOTHERFUCKING RIFFS.), so it all falls to the floor as soon as they try to dress it all up.

As for all the aesthetic shit that isn't just clearly 'taking boredom and attaching streamers to it' (thanks Gutterscream), the production is solid. The problem there is that everything is very crisp and clear, so all of this album's individual layers can be picked apart very easily. And the MOTHERFUCKING VOCALS ARE TOO FUCKING LOUD. I don't want to hear them, but their loudness was probably just another attempt at masking the sheer fluffiness of what little rhythm section there is. The cover art is fucking hideous too. The shitty '90s looking logo and title are slapped on sloppily, and that statue looks fucking terrible. And the lyrics really drizzle the mouldy cheese on this pile of compost, being utterly boring and shit cliché power metal lyrics, with added whine and testosterone deficiency thanks to those goddamn bloody vocals!

This is boring, vapid and pretentious shite. It is so overblown (that fucking title track takes the cake) that it is unbelievable. This is barely metal, to be honest. It is more a saccharine and 'jovial' style of synth-laden rock, and it still fails at that. All the elements at play here are either utterly banal (the double bass, soloing) or just ABSOLUTELY FUCKING TERRIBLE (vocals, songwriting). This is a monumental failure, a blatant nothing that has been spray painted with rainbows and unicorns and fluffy clouds, a VACUOUS PILE OF SHIT.

FUCKING AVOID!