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Comeback Album of the Year? No. Decade. - 93%

Dragonflame1994, October 17th, 2016

Perhaps the biggest musical surprise of 2016 was the announcement that Symphonity would be returning with their first album in 8 years, when a band takes that long to release new material, it's hard to meet expectations (Can anyone say Wintersun?), but Symphonity has surely crushed all expectations here. Comeback album of the decade? At the very least power metal comeback album of the decade! Yes, King of Persia is just that damn good. I'd go as far as to say it's even better than Voice from the Silence. The album is masterfully produced by Sascha Paeth, his production really makes the fantastic orchestral framework of the band's sound come to life, especially on the expansive 9 minute epic title track.

King of Persia is co-carried by the dual vocal talents of the main man and go to for many Euro power bands over the years, Olaf Hayer and one of power metal's most prolific new talents in recent years, Herbie Langhans. Hayer's timeless voice sounds just as good as ever (Proven alone by that opening scream on In the Name of God)

While Symphonity has toned down the neo-classical elements in this album and gotten a lot more riff driven and heavy, reminding me very much of Symphony X at times, the band never lost their ability to write killer, uplifting, memorable choruses that are quintessential for any power metal album, (It's near impossible to take one listen of The Choice or King of Persia and not be humming those choruses for days to come) and the addition of Herbie Langhans' deeper, grittier, aggressive vocal style fits perfectly with the heavier Symphony X like songs such as Children of the Light and he shows some vocal diversity on the more melodic tracks like Live to Tell the Tale or Flying, which has some of his absolute best vocal work to date in the soaring (Heh) chorus.

So even though Symphonity have decided to go the heavy, riff driven route that doesn't discredit Libor Křivák lead work because though it's in shorter bursts than on the debut, it's just as virtuosic, just listen to the blazing fretwork on Children of the Light, Unwelcome or Live to Tell the Tale and even the shorter melodic solos on The Choice, In the Name of God or especially the beautiful closing instrumental Out of This World and he's bound to impress most shred fanatics. Though the keywork isn't as prevalent though the album, there are some great keyboard solos in a couple places.

Another thing that gives King of Persia that added heaviness is the backbone of the band, the drums and bass which are now handled by Martin Škaroupka who has a nice variety of drumming techniques and even throws in some blast beats occasionally and Ronnie König who really solidifies that Symphony X sound with dark and heavy Mike LePond like bass lines that enhance the songs.

When all is said and done the only real weak points of the album are the two ballads A Farewell That Wasn't Meant to Be and Siren Call, not that they're even bad songs, but they're a bit too slow and feel out of place on the album. Ballads aside, every track on this album are exemplary embodiments of symphonic power metal with all musicians giving it their all, if you enjoy your power metal heavy and with a progressive edge, this album will certainly satisfy you.