Archive for Primal Fear

Blackwelder – Survival of The Fittest

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 16th August 2015 by izaforestspirit

Blackwelder
Survival of the Fittest
Released 24th April 2015
Power Metal
Released via Gold Core Records/ ZYX Music

‘Survival of the Fittest’ is the debut album from the international power metal super group Blackwelder. The band features Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear as well as former members of Gamma Ray, Angra and Yngwie J. Malmsteen. Blackwelder was originally formed by the American heavy metal guitarist Andrew Szusc (Seven Serafim) back in 2012.

So, after reviewing some melancholic Gothic doom metal lately, I decided that it was time to lighten things up a bit. It is still summer after all, the sun is shining and everyone is out there sunbathing, swimming in the nearby lake or river or heating up the BBQ. There’s no better music for times like this than power metal. My personal power metal collection is limited to a handful of Sonata Arctica albums along with several releases by Sabaton and Helloween. Having said that, I have been to a Primal Fear show a few years ago, so when I heard about their singer’s new project I decided to check it out.

First up is The Night of The New Moon which is packed with lots of catchy guitar riffage and fast drumming paired with Ralf Scheepers’s high pitched, storytelling vocals. As far as this genre goes, Blackwelder’s signature sound tends to be a little slower than the speed-power metal style of Primal Fear and more akin to that of Helloween. They do pick up the pace at times though, such as the ultra fast “catch this if you can” guitar shredding at the start of Freeway of Life or the headbanging-friendly guitar solo at the start of Remember The Time.

Yet no matter how fast or aggressive the music gets, the vocals remain melodic and the chorus of each track is easy to sing along to. With Flying Colors is a good example of just how well the vocals fit in with the rest of instruments. Whilst the song is still very guitar-driven, the vocals are powerful enough to make the chorus linger in your head and to tempt you to start headbanging along to the tune.

Overall, this album was fun to listen to and it definitely has that “summer metal” feel that I was hoping for. It’s great to see that a bunch of experienced musicians from various corners of the world can get together to create something new and fresh. I’d recommend this to fans of Gamma Ray, Primal Fear and Helloween.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Minotauro – Master of The Sea

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 12th September 2013 by izaforestspirit

Minotauro
Master of the Sea
Released 13th September 2013
Symphonic Power Metal
Released via Dust On The Tracks Records

 photo minotauro_master-of-the-sea_cover_zps89374526.jpg

‘Master of the Sea’ is the debut album from the Italian symphonic power metal band Minotauro. The band cite classical, especially baroque music as a major influence on their sound and they work exclusively with Croatian Orchestra IstiraPhonic. This album also features some special guests including Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen) and Tom Naumann (Primal Fear, Sinner).

After a slow, orchestral intro akin to that of some adventure movie complete with the sounds of howling winds, we finally get to hear some metal. The first track The Idol combines Iron Maiden-esque story-telling vocals with a mixture of Blind Guardian -style power metal and the symphonic elements from Rhapsody of Fire. The guitar work ranges from progressive, as present in The Taste of Freedom, to guitar solo-infused and dangerously catchy depending on the track. Hero is a good example of the latter style as the guitars complement the vocals with some solos adding an extra boost of energy to the song.

There’s also a few tracks where the keyboards take the stage such as the aforementioned melodic and catchy Hero and the slow and downbeat ballad Another Day. This Is What We Need is much faster and heavier than its predecessors thanks to the pounding drums and the powerful guitar riffs ripping their way through the track’s symphonic undertones.

Overall this album would make a worthy addition to fans of symphonic power metal bands like Rhapsody of Fire and Blind Guardian. As for me, when it comes to power metal I think I’ll stick with Sabaton for now…

3.5/5

Iza Raittila