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Rhapsody meets Disney - 98%

iRaptr, April 4th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, 2CD, Nuclear Blast (Digibook, Limited edition)

Do you like Rhapsody but you think that they are not Disney enough? If you answered "yes" to this question then this album is for you. If you answered "no", don't close the page just yet, maybe you will be curious to hear the album after reading this review. Twilight Force, founded in 2011, put out their full-length debut in 2014 - "Tales of Ancient Prophecies". The only flaw the album had was its length, clocking at 36 minutes, and removing the narrations was more of an EP than a full-length. Fortunately, this problem no longer exists on "Heroes of Mighty Magic" since it has 1 hour and 10 minutes of epic dragons, magic and orchestrations. They are also quickly earning a name for themselves since they have supported Sonata Arctica and, more recently, Sabaton, two giants of the current power metal scene.

Looking at the album cover, made by Kerem Beyit, you get a pretty good idea of what you might expect to hear. A dragon spitting purple flames (how metal is that?!), a starry sky and, on the back cover, a castle that almost resembles the Disney one. If this isn't epic enough for you, in the booklet you can read the story of the characters of Twilight Force including their stats and a detailed map of the Twilight Kingdoms. Metal doesn't get more epic than this, I can assure you that.

Moving on to the release itself, the production was made to get "maximum fidelity and not loudness". While the guitars are, of course, existent they were pushed back giving space to the orchestrations to shine and to have a bigger role than in "Tale of Ancient Prophecies". With this in consideration, don't expect to hear tons of guitar riffs. The album's orchestrations composed by the keyboardist Blackwald are definitely one of the highlights, having various layers and instruments (they even have Glockenspiels!) emphasizing the "symphonic" part of their style and sometimes the "Disney" part. You are bound to get lost in the magic world forged by the orchestrations and almost causing you to forgot that you are listening to a metal album and not an epic classical album, being "Guardian of the Seas" a good example of that.

Moreover, all the members deserve a praise on the album. The vocalist Chrileon, owning a "battle cry" as a special skill, has a fabulous range hitting the high notes really well but still making the lyrics perceptive. The drummer, with its "infinite vitality, does a tremendous job through the record. Also, even if this isn't an guitar oriented album, the guitars absolutely shine especially in the solos part. This album also has two guests participating with their vocal capabilities, each of them being on one of the two long songs of the album. The frontman of Sabaton does a return performing on the title track, contrasting well with Chrileon using his heavier voice. The other guest, and no surprises here since he has probably participated in almost every power metal band that exists, is Fabio Leone taking part in "There and Back Again", making this song the most similar to Rhapsody (and this is a good thing).

The album ends with a narration, the "Epilogue" and it is encouraged to hear it with Headphones since it is a binaural beating. Clocking at almost seven minutes, it could be a little shorter, but that more of a personal opinion than a flaw. Just sit back and appreciate the story as the final track it perhaps one of the most memorable pieces that Twilight Force has done: a hymn dedicated to the fans, a perfect way to close a perfect album.

To sum up, this album is a remarkable journey to the Twilight Kingdoms that every metal (and non-metal) fan should hear and have in its collection. To the people that answered "no" to the opening question of the review, I hope that it got your interest. If it didn't, listen to it anyway, you might get surprised since this is one of the best symphonic power metal albums ever released.

"So, behold the flight of the sapphire dragon,
Soaring through the skies once again"