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Absolutely magical (what power metal is all about) - 97%

Mr Matt, August 30th, 2018

I first came across Twilight Force when ordering a CD of Stratovarius's "Twilight Time" (also a magical album). In the list of things people have also bought was "Tales Of Ancient Prophecies". I was immediately interested and listened to it. Every big power metal fan has definitely heard of Twilight Force by now. I predict that once all of the old legends that made power metal great like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Helstar, Manowar, Yngwie, Iced Earth, Rhapsody, Hammerfall, etc, retire and die off, Twilight Force will be amongst the top bands, just behind Dragonforce and Sonata Arctica, that will continue power metal. I know Dragonforce and Sonata Arctica are already legends like the bands listed above, but they aren't that old and will still be around by the time guys like Helloween and Blind Guardian retire.

This fairly new power metal band, Twilight Force, is a lot like Dragonforce in it's fantastical sound and theme and great playing abilities. Both of them were new bands that suddenly came out and played as good as the "greats". Both have immediately noticeable and impressive guitar work. The guitarist of Twilight Force's style is reminiscent of Michael Romeo from Symphony X. He does a lot of his techniques and licks, everything from the tapping to the 7-note descending patterns. If you are wondering what I'm talking about, just go watch Michael Romeo's "Guitar Chapter" instructional from Young Guitar.

And how can I forget the vocals. 99% of the time, the guitar part and guitarists are my favorite part of a power metal album, but this time, my favorite musician on "Tales Of Ancient Prophecies" is the vocalist. The vocalist of Twilight Force is awesome at singing to put it lightly. I'm going to have to edit my top 10 power metal vocalists list. He regularly hits the notes in the high range and it's very impressive. In "Twilight Horizon", the vocalist hits a high B! That's insane. To put that in to perspective, the famous high note at the end of "Abigail" by King Diamond is a high G#, 3 half steps below the note the high B in "Twilight Horizon". While extremely impressive, I'm questioning whether it made the song great or took from it. What I'm questioning is when they put that note in and how they did it and how the melody plays out. It was a little... overkill. A little unsure what they were going for there. OOO, speaking of Overkill (I don't mean to get off topic, but trust me, this has to do with the album), there's a song from Overkill called "Wish You Were Dead", which has a high note at the beginning that is the same note as the one hit in "Twilight Horizon", just to give you an idea of what it sounds like.

Probably the best song off of "Tales Of Ancient Prophecies", also their most popular, is "The Power Of The Ancient Force". Sounds a little stereotypical of power metal by the title, but I guarantee you, the playing in that song is phenomenal. Despite how cliche it may sound in the title, it's better from what you might hear from typical power metal. It certainly has a lot stereotypes you might think of power metal, but they do it good and differently. We've all heard the typical trem picking during the verse with the Deep Purple/Rainbow drum beat or the double bass pattern following that of guitar and the vocals does its thing. Then the chorus comes and the guitar(s) just let the power chords ring out while the vocalist sings something a little slower and holds out the last note. That stuff has its place, but it's overdone and not all that original. Yeah, Twilight Force changes that up a bit. The vocal melodies from Twilight Force during the verses of each song seem carefully composed and practiced to the point where each one sounds majestic. You would probably shed a tear upon hearing the first verse of "The Power Of The Ancient Force". The originality of "Tales Of Ancient Prophecies" definitely gives at least 50% out of 100 so far automatically.

In closing, "Tales Of Ancient Prophecies" is among my top 50 favorite power metal albums. I wouldn't put it in the top 50 greatest power metal albums of all time though, but every power metal fan should absolutely listen to this. The skill and talent displayed on this album should not go unnoticed. Want to get deeper in to power metal? Welcome to Twilight Force.

Lord Of Evil, Do Play Heed! - 94%

Caleb9000, February 25th, 2016

Heavy metal is a genre that is sometimes considered to be cheesy, but no subgenre more so than power metal (especially symphonic power metal). This release does not fight against that by any means. But once you get past all of that, you find something that is made of gold. This album contains musicianship that is nothing short of incredible and they are all pretty great on their instruments (as well as the vocalist). There is also a rather large sound, music wise on this album. There just seems to be a big wall of music here. This is not only created by the keyboards. The backing vocals, as well as the deep drumming, compliments it more than anything besides that. Quite possibly just as much. Although the cheese is an obstacle, this all helps out against all of it and delivers a pretty great release by a band that you have to take a bit of time to warm up to, in order to have the ability to enjoy the music that they make. Most stuff like this is amateur and has sloppy music, with vocalists that think that they are the next Bruce Dickinson. This is not the case here at all. As nostalgic as this is of the early work of Rhapsody, or the early work of Avantasia, there are lots of creativity that are to be discovered on this release.

Much of the music is uplifting and massive in sound, despite the lack of heaviness and occasionally flowery sound (always flowery lyrics). I would not call all uplifting and lighter metal flowery. That would mean that the music sounds small. Songs that represent this well include the opener of the album, as well as tracks like "Fall of the Eternal Winter" and "Forest of Destiny". However, sometimes it just gets too cheesy for its own good. What some of these tracks take the form of are just silly and don't even have the music to back it up as much as it is able to. There are a couple of tracks where you cannot even tell much of a different. Some would say the same about DragonForce, but this is mainly due to the formula, as well as the usual 200 BPM tempo, but they have varying musical structures and make different structures within their limits, which is something that is not very often seen on this release. The songs are not extremely similar, but they could definitely have more variety. For this reason, I will discuss my least favorite song on the album. It's actually the only bad song on the album that isn't an interlude. "Sword of Magic Steel"... THAT song is probably the cheesiest piece of music that I have ever listened to in my entire life. It seems as though they are TRYING to get themselves and their music alike to be ridiculed. This was absolutely appalling. I also never really liked the second track on the album either, as it just sounds like the melody that it focuses on is just too lackluster for its own good.

Now that I have gotten the bad out of the way, let me discuss the highlights. One is the opening track, which is the fastest song on the album. It's an absolutely soaring track with some instrumental work that will blow you right away. I also enjoy "Twilight Horizon", as it seems like it had a lot of thought put into the song structure and it has some great solos. Although the chorus is rather silly, everything else sounds good. In fact, I liked the chorus a lot more when it was played the last time in a higher key. The vocals weren't quite as high and their melody actually sounded rather beautiful. Not tear-jerking, but beautiful. "Fall of the Eternal Winter" has some drumming that was very well-crafted and it has a pretty cool chorus in it. I also love the solos. They are some of my favorite ones on the album. Right before the last solo kicks in, you hear a guttural scream. It could appear to sound out of place, but it actually just gives way more energy to the listener, in preparation for the final chorus in a higher key. My next highlight is "Forest of Destiny". At first, I didn't really like this song all that much. I thought that it was an uninspired ripoff of the rest of the music of the album. Then I listened to it a few more times and realized how catchy and well-crafted it really is. This one right here is a grower, alrighty. My final highlight just happens to be my absolute favorite track on the album. It is the final track off of the album, "Gates of Glory". I can totally understand why this was chosen as the single of the album. It's the catchiest song on the album, the most well-structured song on the album and also quite possibly the most uplifting song on the album. The high amount of instruments plus the high amount of backing vocals give this song one hell of a backbone. Sabaton's lead vocalist did some gnarly guest vocals in the absolutely amazing powerhouse of a chorus. This closing track right here is a symphonic power metal powerhouse of an anthem. This epic song gets a perfect 10/10 from me.

If you've listened to this album and you were wondering, yes, I am aware that this is a concept album. The storyline is a pretty typical and cliché one. A bunch of unholy demons and monsters, along with other things are attacking a land of make believe where peace and love reign. But as typical cliché as the song may be, it's actually put together quite nicely. It's quite thin, but it tells itself so well. Most thin storylines are shit at doing this, but not the one on this album. The lyrics are actually quite poetic at times. As cheesy as they are, they are written very nicely in their limits. Sure, there are other albums that do this as well, but not too many that are this cheesy and in this genre. No, not even Rhapsody of Fire is at this level of cheese (and no, I don't dislike them either).

This is an album that may take a while to be enjoyed for how good it is due to the thick layer of cheese that covers it up, but once you do, there's a great reward. You get to realize that power metal is actually getting some new bands that are actually both relevant. Most of the famous ones that are more recent are from bands that have been releasing music for over a decade. There is a new wave of power metal that is living among us and it generates some great music, something that a lot of power metal bands in the last decade sucked at. The mainstream may not care lots, but we have a scene and we're proud of it. This is innovation and if there are some that cannot grasp that, the rest of us are doing just fine with the absence (not that most metalheads are elitists). In that wave of innovation, this is one of the brightest pieces of gold that is findable, without the requirement of looking hard throughout the scene.

Cotton Candy: my Guilty Pleasure - 86%

Valfars Ghost, June 13th, 2015

Tales of Ancient Prophecies, the debut album from Swedish power metal outfit Twilight Force, is cotton candy. Fun, fluffy, sweet, but mostly devoid of substance. This album is another adventure through territory that Rhapsody of Fire, Ancient Bards, and Fairyland have already explored. Though there’s nothing on this album you haven’t heard before, it’s conceived and executed well enough to be worth your time if you’re a fan of this sort of thing.

Don’t let the fact that Twilight Force looks like a bunch of kids getting ready to go trick-or-treating in their band photos fool you. These guys can play, the guitarist and keyboardist especially. Daniele and Felipe are an amazing team and their songs are filled with jaw-dropping neoclassical soloing. Grandiose, catchy, and medieval-flavored rhythms abound between the verses, where surprisingly speedy playing often compliments the vocals.

The keyboards, however, are often a little too prominent. ‘The Power of the Ancient Force’ is the best example of this weakness. Though the song still has the fun, carefree feel to it that the best of this genre evokes, the keyboards sound intrusive rather than atmospheric and add too much sweetness, an issue that pops up on the remainder of the album from time to time. Fortunately, though, the interplay between guitar and keyboard is intricate and dynamic enough to make this less of an issue than one would think.

The singer is good though his style doesn’t differ much from the traditional power metal approach. His lack of prior experience with English can clearly be heard in his weird way of enunciating words, which might bother some people. Though he’s a good fit for the band, he hasn’t quite mastered the high notes yet, sometimes losing control of his own voice when he reaches the highest points of his range. Apart from these rare painful moments, he does a good job of evoking the feel Twilight Force is going for and on ‘Gates of Glory’, Joakim Broden from Sabaton makes a guest appearance, touching on deeper parts of the human vocal range, which makes for some refreshing variety.

Because Twilight Force embodies every stereotypical aspect of symphonic power metal, the album includes a ballad (Made of Steel) that’s just as dreadful as any other power metal ballad you’ve ever heard. Rounding out the list of stereotypes, there are also two songs here, both under a minute in length, that are just narration. Contrary to what you’re expecting, these moments are among the most interesting on the album because they’re delivered in such a cartoonish and overly dramatic way that I’m convinced they’re funny on purpose. Really the only trope that’s missing is the ten-minute-plus song.

Apart from some sour moments, this album is a fine example of soaring, Luca Turilli-inspired power metal and an impressive debut. It’s got all the right ingredients and pulls them off well enough to impress fans of the genre. Still, though, this is the sort of thing you can’t listen to when your friends are nearby without feeling embarrassed. Tales of Ancient Prophecies only aims to be simple fun in its imitation of Rhapsody (of Fire) and in that regard, the album is a roaring success.

Magic Powers Summon Wings Of Steel! - 70%

Dragonchaser, December 29th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Black Lodge Records

Sweden's Twilight Force seem to be getting a lot of good press, and for the most part it's deserved. Their debut “Tales Of Ancient Prophecies” is a rollicking ride through power metal conventions, though it does seem a little over hyped. For a start, people seem to believe a band like Twilight Force, playing power metal to the letter as so many bands did at the turn of the century, are heralding a return to former times, but to me this just seems to have come about ten years too late. Don't get me wrong; if you love the early releases from Rhapsody, Dark Moor, and to a lesser extent, Stratovarius, you're going to play the hell out of this. If your lyrical poison is Dungeons & Dragons styled heroic fun, then “Tales” will most likely provide the soundtrack to many a tabletop battle. But there is no innovation here, no true acceptance of modern forms, only cliché after cliché.

Now, Twilight Force do have a lot going for them. They write almost perfect power metal cookers, from the opening salvo of “Enchanted Dragon Of Wisdom” to the squeaky clean “Twilight Horizon”, from the epic ballad “Made Of Steel”, to the lead single, and best song here, the rather fabulous “Power Of The Ancient Force”. They are intensely talented musicians, proving that they can shred on the guitar and keyboard better than Turilli and Staropoli, bash the kit like Jorg Michael, and sing as high as Kiske. They know exactly what power metal fans want, that being high-pitched choruses fit with huge backing chants, lyrics about victorious whispering winds, and more double bass than you can shake a stick at. So what's the problem?

First of all, I can't shake the thought that Twilight Force are truly and utterly taking the piss. The narration here is stupid and asinine (as well as damn right hilarious), and the vocals of Christian Hedgren, while technically astounding, are so over the top it's hard not to crack a smile. It's just so damn triumphant; it's like these guys fell through a magic trap door into The Shire and decided to take up residence there. And the cover art; have you ever seen anything so ridiculous? Plus, this album is only 36 minutes long, with many of those minutes being taken up by narration and symphonic interludes.

So what exactly are you getting for your money? Seven bombastic power metal anthems, some silly voice overs, and a couple of keyboard pieces. That's it. If you think Twilight Force are the saviours of power metal, you can think again. This has been done to death by many bands, some of them modern (Thaurorod springs to mind, Pathfinder and Wisdom, too), but if you can't get enough frilly-shirt wearing, dragon-slaying, magic-sword-wielding action, “Tales Of Ancient Prophecies” is a safe bet. It's just so sweet, you might want to follow it up with some Dissection or something just to blast your eardrums back to health.

A new force arrives at magic hour. - 95%

hells_unicorn, September 28th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Black Lodge Records

While approaching the 20 year mark from when European power metal was given a massive shot in the arm after a period of recession courtesy of the likes of Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, a reformed Helloween and a few others, it is breath-taking to note the amount of evolution and expansion that the style has enjoyed while never quite losing that original triumphant and campy character first purveyed by Helloween in the late 80s. Be this as it may, the style can generally be broken down into 2 opposing camps, one that puts a more serious spin on things with a lot of philosophical overtones (this often comes with a progressive or speed metal edge), and one that goes 3 sheets to wind down the road of campiness and relates to the former strain the way the 1960s Batman show would to the Dark Knight perspective more popularly sought after today and also more representative of the original story. Contrary to what one might assume, both of these extremes can yield truly spectacular results, though more often than not, to a metal head the campy approach tends to be more of an acquired taste.

Sweden recently birthed a symphonic tinged power metal band named Twilight Force that stands as one of the purest and unabashed examples of pure camp. Some might be tempted to compare this act to the likes of Rhapsody Of Fire and Fairyland, and while musically this conforms much more closely to their brand of songwriting and general sound, the actual character of their debut concept album Tales Of Ancient Prophecies bears far more similarity to the ultra-catchy, campy to the point of 80s B fantasy cinema greatness Polish band known as Pathfinder. The songwriting is a bit humbler and tasteful with its technical gimmicks than said band, but the lyrical content, storyline, and exaggerated vocal display is a dead-ringer for the over-the-top flavor that painted every second of Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time. Vocalist Christian Hedgren was one of countless many that auditioned to be ZP Theart's replacement in Dragonforce, and much like another rejected applicant with an impressive voice in Thomas Winkler (who fronts Gloryhammer, another band that takes power metal camp to a similar extreme successfully), the rejection was definitely not for any inability to shatter glass with his high notes.

Though this album contains a host of stylistically familiar elements and will easily rope in anyone with an affection for the shameless optimism and consonance of Freedom Call and the epic atmosphere of Rhapsody Of Fire, it's a somewhat odd affair as a whole. Short in scope, with songwriting that largely sticks to standard structures and scarcely goes beyond the 4-5 minute mark, this listens more like an EP than a full length studio offering, particularly when discounting the frequent and extremely brief interludes. The choruses are massive, layered heavily with backup vocal harmonies, thundering symphonic components, and all the usual guitar and drum lines that make for an up tempo melodic affair. The only outright speed fests come in the forms of the Rhapsody Of Fire meets Alestorm cruiser "Enchanted Dragon Of Wisdom" and the lead fill steeped cruiser with a symphonic gloss "Twilight Horizon", leaving much of the rest of this album to basque in a more moderated up tempo category more befitting of Stratovarius, particularly in the case of this album's single "The Power Of The Ancient Force", which features a prominent piano theme that could have been penned by Timo Tolkki if he got as ambitious as he was back in the late 90s with his current project Avalon.

What tends to seal the deal for this album is its unapologetic embracing of camp, which includes but obviously doesn't begin with the extremely cliche, but very well crafted storyline and its comical undertones. The voices of all the characters featured during the narrated sections are exaggerated all but to the point of slapstick imagery. Think of an amalgamation of Monty Python's "Quest For The Holy Grail" with an extremely low-grade 80s B flick in the medieval fantasy genre like "Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom", the one where Bo Svenson (probably best known for his brief role in Kill Bill Vol. 2 nowadays) joins an ensemble cast of mostly unknowns in one of the goofiest low-budget adventures ever to come out of the mid 80s. Interestingly enough, when combined with the nimble guitar and keyboard acrobatics of the musical content and the soaring counter-tenor vocal exploits of Hedgren, the spoken parts manage to fit in quite nicely. It's understandable that some might be turned off by it in much the same way as was the case with the voice-overs on the latter albums of Rhapsody Of Fire's "Emerald Sword Saga", as most bands that utilize this element attempt to keep things more serious.

This is fodder for just about anybody who likes European power metal, and will probably go down as one of the best, if not the best album in this style of 2014. There are just so many moments of pure gold here, from the majestic sing-along chorus on "Forest Of Destiny", to the vocal cameo of Sabaton's own Joacim Broden on the album's closer "Gates Of Glory". The only thing that can really be said against this masterpiece is that it ends far too soon and could have done even better with an additional 10 minutes of music, but hopefully this album will prove to simply be an amazing introduction to what will be a long career of campy storytelling. It's always exciting to see some new blood reinvigorate the power metal scene, and Twilight Force may indeed usher in a new wave of storytelling albums just as Rhapsody Of Fire did seventeen years ago.

There Is Lightning In Their Eyes! - 89%

Larry6990, July 16th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Black Lodge Records

Fire? Check. Wizards? Check. Magic? Check. Swords? (preferably steel) Check. Castles? Check. Most importantly - Dragons? Check-a-roony!

This album has made quite a stir in the power metal underground recently, with more than a few of my friends asking me excitedly "Hey Larry! Have you heard Twilight Force yet?!" I'll admit the band's name didn't exactly stand out as anything significant. But just one glance at that amazing artwork and I was sold. No pre-listening was required from this Swedish quartet. A dragon blasting fire at a wizard on a mountain, with a castle in the background? "Tales of Ancient Prophecies?" Song titles like "Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom", and "In The Mighty Hall of the Fire King"? Shut up Twilight Force and take my money.

Of course I remained weary, for with great excitement comes the anticipation which leads to inevitable disappointment. However, I was just excited upon the release of Evertale's "Of Dragons And Elves" - and that begot my only 100% I could not quench the eagerness for long. Therefore I hastily unwrapped my brand new Twilight Force CD, placed it gingerly in my stereo, pressed 'play'...and was swept away on a tidal wave of fantasy metal Godliness!

The first three tracks of "Tales of Ancient Prophecies" show just what these Swedish newcomers are capable of. The phrase 'Rhapsody-clone' will instantly spring to mind, but the sheer joy and enthusiasm of playing grandiose symphonic power metal that oozes from this band will dispel any negative notions plaguing your mind. Opener "Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom" is one of those tracks that instantly plants a huge, overbearing grin on the face of any power metal fan. Irresistible melodies, impressive symphonics and unbearably catchy choruses are the lessons today - and Twilight Force have come chocked to the gills with them.

The production is especially profound. I never thought any band could fuse an orchestra with metal as successfully and smoothly as Staropoli and co. - but Twilight Force have managed it with ease; wisely letting the bright symphonics carry the beautiful melodies while the rhythm section punch away underneath - accompanying with professional power. As for lyrics...well...

Flames of mighty dragons
Lighting up the the skies.
A new day dawns
Of magic glory eternally!

Exactly. Perfect.

Unfortunately, a very minor air of negativity hangs over this otherwise stunning debut. One glance at the tracklist leaves you wondering how an 11-track symphonic power metal album could clock in at a mere 36 minutes. Well, the answer lies in 4 tracks which are barely longer than a minute and contain almost nothing of worth. That being said...the narration on "In The Mighty Hall of the Fire King" and "The Summoning" is utterly hilarious. At least Twilight Force take their fantasy story with a pinch of tongue-in-cheek humour.

Despite this moderate qualm, "Tales of Ancient Prophecies" is a phenomenal first release, which shows great promise for this up and coming power metal act. If you are a fan of Fairyland, Rhapsody, Thy Majestie etc. I promise you will be grinning from ear to ear within the first 30 seconds of this album. If the artwork, superbly high-pitched vocal performance, convincing symphonics and infectious choruses don't persuade you - then the special guest appearance on "Gates of Glory" by Sabaton's Joakim Brodén certainly will. Oops! Didn't mean to spoil the surprise!

Twilight Force - Tales of Ancient Prophecies - 94%

Spiner202, July 15th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Black Lodge Records

Power metal is certainly not a genre in need of reinvigoration, but every once in a while a band comes along that really gets it and adds a huge kick to the music. 10 years ago it was Lost Horizon and Dragonforce, and more recently it was Pathfinder. What these bands all have in common is that they take the essential elements of power metal and shape them in their own unique way to create something truly memorable and masterful. In 2014, the band that changes power metal is Twilight Force. Their debut album “Tales of Ancient Prophecies” is an enthusiastic burst of energy that rivals many of the most innovative power metal bands. The primary influence, as you might imagine, is Rhapsody. Everything from the melodies to the keyboard use and chorus vocals, to even the imagery screams Rhapsody, but Twilight Force manages to outdo even the masters of this sound.

The biggest reason that “Tales of Ancient Prophecies” is so impressive is its sheer enthusiasm. It is triumphant, majestic, and completely appropriate for all battles. This emotion is accomplished in three ways that are no secret to power metal fans: keyboards, guitars, and vocals. The keyboard playing on this album outdoes Rhapsody in creating an amazing atmosphere, both in supporting the rest of the music, and taking the lead melody. The beginning of the album, for example, opens with a fantastic keyboard section that prepares you for the upcoming 36 minutes of glory. Likewise, “Twilight Horizon” begins with a driving keyboard melody, followed by a solo that shows you don’t need ridiculous speed to be skilled. The next fantastic element is the guitar work. Twilight Force’s guitarist is incredibly talented, and he has no problem showing that off. His solos, while not quite as pompous as Dragonforce’s, are definitely impressive. Whether it is through sweeping arpeggios or more traditional metal licks, this guitarist can seriously impress. Of course, power metal will always live and die by its singers, and vocalist Christian Hedgren does the band’s grandeur justice. He has an incredible range, a unique voice, and the ability to switch things up when required. Compared to a singer like Fabio Lione, he has similar enthusiasm and skill, but more versatility. His performance, particularly on tracks like “The Power of the Ancient Force” and “Forest of Destiny”, will completely captivate you. It is “Fall of the Eternal Winter”, however, where he shows his true skill. In the chorus of this song, he pushes his voice beyond normal limits, and brings back a talent not seen since Daniel Heiman from Lost Horizon.

Once you look past the individual performances on this album, you’ll find a set of incredible songs. There are only 7 full tracks, one of which is a ballad, but all of them present soaring choruses with instant memorability. These songs are certainly nothing new for power metal, but they are well written, with not a single moment that leaves you scratching your head. This ability to be concise is one area where Twilight Force reigns supreme over 99% of power metal bands. The genre is too often plagued with hour-long albums filled with an endless number of tracks that simply repeat themselves many times over. By contrast, Twilight Force puts their energy into just over 30 solid minutes of music to provide the most unforgettable songs possible.

With that said, there is one easy criticism of this record: the interludes. Interludes by themselves are not a problem; Lost Horizon has shown how to use them effectively. The problem on “Tales of Ancient Prophecies” is that the interludes show some of the lamest narration metal has ever seen. If you are familiar with the narration on Rhapsody’s “Rain of a Thousand Flames” album, this is somehow worse. If not, just bear with these interludes (or delete them) and move on to the brilliance that surrounds the rest of the album. What is so frustrating about these interludes is that despite “Tales of Ancient Prophecies” showing every power metal cliché in the book (including the awesome fire-breathing dragon on the cover), the album is very serious. These interludes take away from this atmosphere substantially. The final interlude starts to build towards something decent, but it's too late to redeem the earlier ones at that point.

When all is said and done, however, “Tales of Ancient Prophecies” is an album that will stick around for a long time. It is not the most original record out there, but it is far more inspired than many of the bands peers. It has the rare combination of musicians who are astonishingly talented, alongside great songwriting. Twilight Force is the future of power metal, and there is no better time to start listening to them than now.

Originally written for Skull Fracturing Metal

Currently the best debut of 2014. - 90%

PowerProg_Adam, June 19th, 2014

Something you see often with new bands in the genre of European power metal is that many of them sound a lot like already established bands. Sometimes this can be a blessing or a curse. If a band sounds like a cheap knockoff that doesn't offer much new then it doesn't really give you much of a reason to check them out. On the other hand if they resemble a certain era of a classic band that doesn't really currently convey that same sound then it may give all the more reason to give them a chance. Twilight Force seems to has all of the cards in their hand in getting attention among legions of power metal fans. They hail from the same town in Sweden as Sabaton, who is currently one of the most massive bands in the world right now, they are on the same label that produced several of Sabaton's first albums, Joakim Broden does guest vocals on one of the tracks, their drummer used to be in Sabaton, and their singer once auditioned for Dragonforce, who is pretty much the one band who got a whole new generation of people into power metal. With all of this being said it kind of builds up anticipation and excitement for listening to the album before even pushing play.

Tales of Ancient Prophecies kicks off with a track that sounds very reminiscent of early Rhapsody called Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom. This song literally has everything that makes the genre so exciting; fantasy lyrics, epic keyboard arrangements, extremely catchy choruses, memorable guitar passages, and a singer with a high note from hell. This is definitely the kind of song that will get stuck in your head on first listen. The guitar and keyboard solo interplay is phenomenal which is something that there definitely needs to be more of in power metal.

The Power of the Ancient Force invokes a lot of folk metal elements, especially with the keyboard intro. It then kicks into a galloping guitar riff over the top of singer Christian Hedgren's amazingly clean and high vocals. The chorus is particularly catchy as well with a lot of rhythmic gang vocals, which is also something typically lacking in the genre. Once again there is another really complex and extended sweeping yet melodic guitar solo about halfway through the song that gives you the feeling of being transported to a distant land with sword in hand.

Two amazing tracks down, they are going to start letting up right? Completely wrong. Twilight Horizon kicks in with the most intense keyboard intro so far and a bit faster pace and much faster drum parts than the previous tracks. The choruses are definitely not forgotten here either and are easily one of the best aspects of this entire album along with what I would rank as being one of the newest most powerful vocalists in the industry.

Fall of the Eternal Winter is more of the same but different. There is yet another intricate shredding keyboard intro that then gets into being a bit of a dance beat. The guitars take a little bit of a backseat in most of this track. Most of the riffs are basic chords. There are still very clean leads about half way through and a very emotional guitar solo followed by a bit of a galloping riff and back into the original dance keyboard groove from the intro. The real highlight is that this is probably the one song where the vocals go the highest. If you can imagine early Fabio Lione meets Daniel Heiman meets Keeper era Michael Kiske, you'd have this guy. This is probably my favorite song on the album and to me definitely the catchiest. For anyone wanting to check out a song I would definitely recommend this one. It has pretty much everything that makes this album great.

The intro to Forest of Destiny reminds me very much of Rhapsody's Holy Thunderforce. In fact their guitarist has a style very similar to Luca Turilli, which is quite impressive and something that you don't really see very often. They are definitely carrying on the torch that bands like Rhapsody and Skylark lit years ago. The chorus to this track to me isn't quite as catchy, but the rest of the song is just as epic as the others. The lyrical themes here have been done quite often but somehow Twilight Force still manages to keep it sounding fresh unlike many other newer bands of the genre.

Every power metal album seems to have a ballad thrown in somewhere. Some of them are great at it, some of them aren't so great and some bands seem to just do it because they feel like they have to. Honestly, Made of Steel is a pretty solid track, but isn't quite as memorable as some of the others. The chorus isn't as catchy, but the guitar solo makes up for it a little by being extremely emotional. This is probably my least favorite track on the album, which is saying something because I still love it.

The finale is a moment that everyone has probably been waiting for, guest vocals from Sabaton's very own Joakim Broden. Gates of Glory is an extremely happy sounding track. The vocals are traded off between both vocalists which adds a whole new dimension to the track. The song has a vibe to it that makes it seems like a natural climax to a phenomenal album. It sounds extremely uplifting all throughout. Once again the chorus is quite memorable, there are some palm muted guitar riffs, and excellent interplay between the guitars and keyboards.

This album took me by complete surprise, especially for a debut album. I'm not saying that it is not without its own faults. It is technically only 7 songs since 3 of them are spoken word tracks that last barely a minute or so, and the album clocks in at barely over half an hour. However, all the tracks are incredible, the vocalist has one of the most incredible ranges that I've heard in quite a while, and the entire album will be stuck in your head for days. Currently it is probably my favorite power metal album of the year and definitely my favorite debut. I am giving it a 90% only because it could have used maybe a couple more songs. If you are a fan of Rhapsody of Fire or Lost Horizon I would definitely pick this album up immediately, you will not be disappointed.

Originally written for Horror Metal Sounds.

The Golden Example Of Great Epic Metal! - 95%

ghoulemperor, June 9th, 2014

As I first got into power metal I, like most power metal fans, stumbled upon the more popular and well known bands at the start like Rhapsody, Helloween, and Hammerfall, and I felt that each had their own unique and stylistic sound to their music, but both bands I have found certain holes and spots for improvement. It was all until I began searching deeper into the realms of power metal itself trying to find the golden sound until I found this incredibly new band, Twilight Force. As I first saw the album cover, I automatically assumed another Rhapsody or Power Quest with very fast beats and symphonic chorus' in every song along with a keyboard solo somewhere in there, but once I began to listen to the first track, Enchanted Dragon Of Wisdom, I was incredibly convinced of being wrong and rather in the moment of awe and amazement. This is mainly because of the fact it sounded rather original with each instrument having its own unique sound and contribution to the songs.

The instrument that really caught my attention was without a doubt the guitar. Simply because of the flawless sound it gave off in my ears with the amazing guitar solos in each song. Reasons why the solos are of such a big deal here are because that this band is incredibly fresh with this being their first album to be released and the fact that the guitarist has such a talent with clean sweep picking, melodies, and riffing just completely blew me away. With the combination of the keyboards adding an enchanting atmosphere and the drums adding tons of flashy, speedy sounds to stack up with the epic sounds this album just completely exemplifies a nearly perfect album.

The only part of the album which has not really given any major impact to the music has to be the tracks with only dialogue. In a way the dialogue-only tracks sound just slightly cheesy as if they were ripped from some fan-made remake of Lord of the Rings. However, the tracks like that were only to add the epic and medieval mood and style to the whole album so other than that this album is stunning in all corners with each track giving its own personal mood and feeling.

At last, I've saved my view on the vocals for last for a good reason. The singer in this band really gives the heart and soul of each song simply because of the fact he has an incredible vocal range of the combination of voices like ZP Theart and Fabio Lione and a very responsible use of his range as well. This simply means that in each track depending on the tempo and dynamics is how he sings and this simply shows that he has a very large capability of controlling his vocal range which is the true key to a masterful and impressive vocalist, especially for a band that just got started recording. Overall, for a band this new and fresh to barely release their first album and possess so much talent and effort means that we can only expect better in the future for this band and this album really trademarks a complete example of what I've been searching for a while as a golden album by combining all the top and vital keys needed to craft a masterful power metal album.