Archive for British Power Metal

The Deathisodes – Inside the Universe of Horror

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal with tags , , , on 19th October 2013 by izaforestspirit

The Deathisodes
Inside The Universe of Horror
Released 21st June 2013
Melodic Death Metal/ Experimental Metal
Released via UKEM Records

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‘Inside The Universe of Horror’ is the second album from the Portsmouth-based, British melodic death metal artist Alex Loader aka The Deathisodes. It is the follow up to his debut ‘Destructive Patterns of Creation’ which came out last year and features several guest musicians.

First up is Dead Arising featuring guest vocals from Amma Robison (ex-Typheous). Muscially speaking it sounds like a bizarre mixture of Arch Enemy -style death metal, characterised by the growls and some techno-style keyboards. Not the worst of combinations, just not what you would expect from an supposed melodic death metal artist. It soon becomes apparent that the mastermind of the project, Mr. Loader, concentrates on playing either guitar or the drums on each track leaving the vocals and overall structure to the guest musicians. The end result is a complete hotch-potch of styles which varies depending on the song making the album sound very disjointed.

I’m really struggling to even classify this into a specific genre. There’s a mix of everything from: melodeath, metalcore, radio rock, techno, industrial-metal and even hints of power metal. For example, the power metal elements can be found in the guitar intro and the story-telling, Iced Earth -style vocals of Whitechapel Mystery. Then we have tracks like ‘Hellbound‘ with some weird sounding metalcore with industrial/techno-esque keyboards and Fear Factory -style guitar riffs, adding to the overall confusion that begs the question of what the hell was going on in the studio. Luckily there’s also the occasional melodic death metal track, such as Spectral Wasteland, which is easily one of the few highlights on here.

Each track seems to have a “life” of its own, trying desperately to make its mark and stand out in this ridiculous contraption of an album. It seems as though the “band” is going through a serious identity crisis and all the guest musicians do is add to pre-existing chaos. In fact, even the word “album” feels inappropriate here. The term “album” would imply some sense of cohesion and continuity; two things which this release is lacking. This is more like a compilation or soundtrack made up of individual songs by different artists based around a vague concept.

2/5

Iza Raittila

Dragonforce – The Power Within [2012]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17th April 2012 by underthenorthernstar

Band: Dragonforce

Album: The Power Within

Release Date: 15/04/2012

Genre: Extreme Power Metal

Label: Electric Generation Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Review is dedicated to the memory of Vadim Pruzhanov’s Hair. RIP.

It’s been 4 years since the release of the last Dragonforce album, “Ultra Beatdown”, shortly after which singer ZP Theart left. It’s been a fairly brutal 4 years for the London-based Extreme Power Metallers; a new album in the works, a GARGANTUAN world tour freshly completed, and the singer, beloved of the fans, is gone? Surely, a bell tolling death for most bands? Not Dragonforce. Since footage of “Cry Thunder” was leaked, having been filmed by fans watching the band support Iron Maiden, I have been far more than enthralled. As for new singer Marc Hudson, I could hug the man. He is everything ZP was and more, and his entrance has injected huge amounts of life into the band once more. The songs are far more varied in structure, and thus make for a much more enjoyable listen, but every single one still manages to soar to the octane-guzzling heights of Glory of previous albums.

“The Power Within.” There could not be a more appropriate title. The whole album is overflowing with POWER. Herman Li and Sam Totman’s epic guitar shreddery is prominent in everything the band does, their mastery being an album’s worth of an air guitarist’s wet dreams. Drums are utterly insane; while restrained on tracks like “Cry Thunder”, the 220 bpm monster of “Fallen world” (fun fact: Dragonforce’s fastest ever song, beating “Cry of the Brave” at 215 bpm) shows off Dave MacKintosh’s insane skill. There are even a couple of moments where Bassist Fred Leclerq gets to show off his talent in several extreme bass passages. And one Mr Vadim Pruzhanov (God rest his hair) is one of the greatest musicians to ever mangle a keyboard. Wizardry is the only way to describe it. But Marc Hudson’s vocals are ridiculously good – he far surpasses the expectations of any of the fans, many of who would, in normal circumstances, be winging and pining for ZP. He has stupendous amounts of talent, and with layered vocals, he sounds positively majestic.

One of the main criticisms of Dragonforce with regards to previous works was that “all the songs sound the same.” It was often insisted that they relied purely on technical ability to make interesting songs, and that was included in every song. This is not a criticism that has any grounds on this album – the songs have for the most part been shortened to be more digestible by the listener (most previous songs were around the 7 minute mark), and not every song is a hyper-speed blast to the end. “Seasons”, “Last Man Stands” and “Cry Thunder” are all fairly different to the usual Dragonforce way, but in no way unwelcome. Songs like “Die by the Sword” also mark a return to the Lyrical style of fantasy, swords and battles, not seen truly since 2003’s “Valley of the Damned.”

This album… blew me away in a way I’m quite sure most of the albums released this year will fail to do so.  All the apprehension is gone, and we should welcome the new Dragonforce with open arms. Utterly, utterly stunning, utterly, utterly brilliant.

5/5

Alasdair Dunn of Norderobring

Dakesis – Trial By Fire [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 19th November 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Dakesis
Album: Trial By Fire
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

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Dakesis – Birmingham based progressive power metal quintet – are considered by some as one of the UK’s fastest growing independent artists. Mixing progressive and power metal, the band have established a strong and loyal fan base over the last two years. Looking at the album cover, one would easily get the impression that the album is a mixture of Tolkien’s work and Greek mythology.

The epic and majestic sound of “Shield Of Achilles I” starts the album. The orchestration brings about a dramatic and tense sound, much like the theme to Jaws. The title track “Trial By Fire” comes blazing next with a mixture of highly energetic guitars and strong vocals topped with intelligently played drums. The vocals have a strong and heroic sound to them, almost Odysseus-like in their strength. The guitars show hints of some European metal influences – Without the overly cheesy sound that has come to be associated with stereotypical power metal. The keyboards offer up a brilliant sagaic flavour throughout the track as well. The only other parts of the track that truly deserves praise would have to be the guitar and keyboard solos – Both of which are well composed and well cleverly placed like the Spartans at Thermopylae.

”Liar” takes a less power metal approach in its intro though the high pitched wail that soon follows changes that. The guitars and drums are well structured and the keyboards are strategically placed to reinforce the rest of the music. The combination of male and female vocals – the latter of which are brought into the song by the band’s keyboardist Gemma – are pretty easy on the ears, feeling a tad like the combination of vocals in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic “Phantom Of The Opera”. The track however is obviously dominated by male vocals, slightly disappointing, but hey, what can we do about it? For those of you who like keyboard introductions, you’ll love the harmonious yet solemn keyboard heavy beginning to “After The Storm”. The vocal work is primarily female – And before anyone says anything, no, the song does not sound like a Nightwish track! Wayne’s vocals make a slight appearance in the song without taking away from the sound already established. The speed metalesque styling of “On Wings Of Steel” takes the album by storm with its keyboard dominated introduction. Wayne’s vocals lead the charge into the musical fray of masterfully composed guitar sections and keyboard riffs, followed by Gemma’s vocals that don’t feature as heavily throughout the song – Either way though, the combination of their vocals makes the track more exciting.

”Broken” starts with a depressed and slow-paced section being composed of Gemma’s vocals and piano before the melodic guitar work joins in, keeping to the slower march of the song. Wayne’s vocals can be heard as well, adding extra strength to the song. “Into The Light” starts with the sound of bass that grows stronger as it progresses before the rest of the instrumentation dominate the track much like the way the Roman Empire dominated Europe. The vocal work, provided by Wayne, is diverse on this one, offering up a mixture of high and low notes. The solos keep everything in the song – and the album – sounding fresh so need to worry about the sound going stale after a few listens. The slow but epic musings of “Valhalla” add a sound of Eddic proportions to the album. The vocal work is grand, blending with the music well. The lack of emphasis on the keyboards does make the song feel a bit bland, though it does give it a very old school power metal sound – Iced Earth meets Helloween kind of power metal. “To The End” brings back a faster tempo to the album as well as emphasis on the keyboards in sections. Wayne’s vocals are coupled up with what sounds to be growls in the background, making the song more aggressive and violent sounding – much like the violent sound heard coming from a raiding party of berserkers mixed with metal. The guitar solo is placed in an unusual section of the song and ambushes the listener before the keyboard solo carries on the onslaught of masterfully played musical craftsmanship. Gemma’s vocal work has the proverbial last word of the song, ending on a solemn note with the piano.

”Shield of Achilles” casts forth an ethereal sound that could only come from the depths of Hades – or some other eerie and misunderstood mythological afterlife. The track progresses into a sound as mighty and as powerful as the legendary Achilles himself, truly a song worthy of the legend. Thankfully Homer [Author of the Iliad] never composed music, otherwise he’d have probably written this centuries before hand! The album’s end comes in the form of “440 (King Of The Road)”. The song takes a less fancy musical approach, favouring a raw sound with the guitars over any fancy technical work. Wayne’s vocal work is once again quite diverse while the guitars offer up a virgin sacrifice of musical goodness to the ears of the listener. They keyboards keep flow nicely in their designated sections, keeping that European power metal in place.

If Homer, Beethoven and Iron Maiden had a love child together, Dakesis would be the clearly epic sounding result. Never has there been such a perfect sounding debut full length album like “Trial By Fire”. The vocals are more diverse than the usual vocal styles found in power metal and the instrumentation show a range of influences from classic metal to prog. metal and European power metal. It’s easy to see why Dakesis are considering one of the fastest growing independent acts.

5/5

Nico Davidson