Dark Legacy

Dark Legacy

BY Storyteller, The

(Customer Reviews)
$16.00
$ 9.60
SKU: BLOD086CD
Label:
Black Lodge
Category:
Power Metal
Add to wishlist 

"It’s been eight years since we’ve seen a new album from Swedes The Storyteller, and it’s next to impossible to anticipate the quality of an album when there’s that kind of time lapse. Granted, The Storyteller was going pretty strong in 2005 with the release of Underworld, but so was Morifade, before that band went down the tubes. Conversely, we’ve recently seen a blockbuster comeback in the form of Holy Knights’ Between Daylight And Pain, so who really knows what to expect? Personnel-wise, little has changed (it’s a bit of a mess, but effectively they’ve dropped a key player and gained a bassist), and so we don’t have a major overhaul to worry about. From the outset, the only remarkable thing about Dark Legacy seems to be that its a concept album about Norse mythology, an oft-used subject that I’m not terrifically familiar with, and so I will do away entirely with lyrical and conceptual elements for the purpose of this review.

As many have probably hoped, The Storyteller is back to their usual tricks with Dark Legacy, playing fairly standard alternating double-bass and mid-tempo power metal that’s accessible, while featuring a good number of vocal hooks. There’s nothing new or even terribly different about the style of the album, but I can’t shake the feeling, even from the beginning, that Dark Legacy is somehow less inspired and less energetic than the band’s last couple of ventures, especially compared to the cracking Underworld. Persson’s vocals are the same as ever (mid-high range rasping cleans similar to Jonny Lindqvist of Nocturnal Rites), but the backing vocals throughout much of the album are an odd mixture. At times they serve the purpose of bolstering the potency of the leads, but there are moments (such as during the title track) when they just sound messy and distracting (if you don’t believe me, check out “Forever They Shall Kneel” – which is probably the best example on the album).

On top of that, the occasional harsh vocals are inexpert and unnecessary for the band’s style of music, and really add nothing (see “Sancto Spirito”). The songs on this album also follow a rather redundant formula that, while not bad, lacks the vitality of some of the band’s previous work, and therefore the effort and pacing comes across as a bit torpid. Lastly and most importantly, however, is the single most important drawback to Dark Legacy: the guitar work (or rather lack thereof). Both the rhythm and lead guitar play backseat to Persson’s vocals for nearly the entire album, which would be less of a problem if he didn’t have the sort of voice that irritated me after a while (and if the backing layered vocals were more competent). The constant moderate tempo gets tiring without any expert support from guitars – of which there is precious little. Only during opener “Release Me” and the uptempo “Break The Bounds” was I completely satisfied with the guitar’s contribution, which was otherwise fairly sterile and predictable. I feel that the disappearance of the keys from The Storyteller’s mix has also left a bit of a vacuum that has not been filled.

Don’t get me wrong, Dark Legacy is still a fairly enjoyable work, and perhaps I’ve been too hard on it. Let down as I am by the band’s “comeback”, I’ll continue to listen to this album for a while to see if it hooks me, something that is only really accomplished irregularly at this point. I’d still recommend Dark Legacy to fans of the band’s past work, and anyone looking for some more Swedish-styled power metal a la Nocturnal Rites, older Steel Attack, and Nostradameus. You may well enjoy this more than I, and you can certainly do worse." - Blackwind Metal

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Prospekt are a British Progressive Metal band influenced by bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Opeth and Circus Maximus, as well as film scores and fusion. Prospekt combine the fierce technicality of progressive metal with the symphonic elements of contemporary prog.From brutal riffs coupled with odd time-signatures, to majestic melodies, the principle of Prospekt’s music is to create an intelligent and atmospheric mix of melodic, modern progressive metal. Incorporating passionate higher ranged vocals, frenetic guitar work, haunting orchestration and solid grooves, every composition remains both interesting and original.The Colourless Sunrise was mixed by  Adam "Nolly" Getgood of Periphery and mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street.
    $13.00
  • Septum is a new metal band from Cuba (of all places).  The music of this large female fronted ensemble bears a striking resemblance to To-Mera with perhaps a touch of Mago De Oz.  Vocalist Jessica Sori has a beautiful voice that soars over the intricate compositions and chunky riffing.  Along with twin guitars and keyboards, bagpipes, flute, and violin are incorporated to lend a touch of an ethnic folk element.  In case you were wondering - yes - Ms. Sori sings in english.  The release comes housed in a mini-LP size sleeve.  Highly recommended.
    $8.00
  • "We haven't heard from Switzerland's Kirk in better than a decade. After a successful debut album in 2003 and some touring, the band took a hiatus after their original drummer took ill. The other members pursued new projects in the interim. But as of 2010 the band has reformed, began writing, and then recording with uber-producer Dennis Ward to create Masquerade.This is solid melodic heavy metal, possibly a touch on the power and progressive metal side. You'll get the former with the aptly titled Supersonic Speed, the latter with Devil's Claw or Masquerade, by example. But some might say that these songs or something like Time and Face in the Crowd are a mash up of both.Fundamentally, what's rather impressive is the depth of song composition and musicianship. Every song sounds really good, and different, with a truckload of catchy melodies and strong vocal harmonies. Thomi Rauch is easily becoming one of my favorite metal vocalists. But the rest are no slouches either, pulling together and pulling off some terrific sounds. When all these elements come together the result is rather dramatic and entertaining. Notable are The End of the Universe and Eternity where the smooth melody, catchy hook in chorus, soaring vocal arrangement, and crisp guitar leads of each song is quite inspiring, and simply a delight to listen to. Masquerade is a strong return to form for Kirk; frankly, I don't think there's a single dull song in the bunch. Here's hoping they stick around to give us more in the future. Quite recommended." - Dangerdog
    $16.00
  • Third album from this New Jersey symphonic rock band.  All of the band's albums are conceptual pieces based around literary works.  In fact the band's name is derived from a Ray Bradbury story.  On A Dark And Stormy Night is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel of the same name.  The album is a wet dream for any fan of symphonic prog.  As I make my way through the album I'm frequently reminded of some similarities to Glass Hammer.  This is very keyboard driven music with a healthy amount of guitar leads.  There are even some nice Mellotron sounds popping up now and then.  These guys dream big and hit the mark.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Wow!  This Canadian band sure has a thing for Pink Floyd.  Led by vocalist/songwriter Phil Burton, Innerspace definitely channel Gilmour and Co.  Notice how I phrased it.  Burton's vocals sound very much like David Gilmour and lead guitarist Simon Arsenault has more than a little of that characteristic sound to his playing as well.  Compositionally this is VERY much derived from Floyd.  There are bits that crop up that will remind you of Meddle, DSOTM, Animals, and even as late as The Division Bell.  Where they really stray from the Floyd sound is with keyboardist Paul Aubrey who is much more active a keyboardist than Rick Wright - lots of cool noodly synth soloing.  While its all original compositions this one was like a fun trip down memory lane through the Pink Floyd catalog.  There aren't a lot of bands out there that are so overtly influenced by the British legends.  I can honestly say that Innerspace do it about as well as it can be done.  Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • The split between Geoff Tate and the rest of Queensryche took an ugly turn awhile back and now we are seeing the first fruits of the fallout.  He finds himself on Cleopatra Records - the perfect marriage of exploitation partners.  I'm not sure why anyone would want to actually own this album but I guess if you are an uber-Tate fan you have to have it.  Tate's version of the band features Kelly Gray, Rudy and Robert Sarzo, Simon Wright, and Randy Gane.  The music sounds a lot like all the crap Queensryche was putting out over the past 10-15 years but maybe even less inspired.  Tate took it upon himself to cover 4 classic Queensryche songs as a bonus (oh joy).  Special guests on the album include KK Downing, Chris Poland, Ty Tabor, Paul Bostaph, Lita Ford, Brad Gillis, Dave Meniketti, and Craig Locicero.  If Jimi Hendrix was on this album it couldn't ressurect this swill.  There is one good thing about the album - the cover.  Its a pretty clever jab at his old bandmates.  I'll give him that and not much else.  Fanatics only please.
    $6.00
  • "The beauty of Progressive music is the myriad of ways by which it may be approached by listeners and musicians alike. The Danish quartet ANUBIS GATE are soon to release their 6th album, “Horizons”, the first album without long-time members Morten Sørensen and Jesper M. Jensen, and doing well to stay with long-time producer Jacob Hansen. New members Morten Gade and Michael Bodin offer their exceptional instrumental skills in the mix. With “Horizons”, we see a continuation, albeit tangential, from the major turning point that was the self-titled album. With this release, one can expect the darkly melodic-melancholic and song-oriented Progressive music they have since become known for. As much as I loved the self-titled album, “Horizons” tops it in almost every way.“Never Like This” is exemplary of the band's ambitious, but inevitably excellent and evocative songwriting, that fuses liquid but hard-hitting riffs and airy, creative melodic work. Henrik expands his vocals here quite significantly, his immense range travelling from spectrum to spectrum and delivering catchy hooks in a deliciously Jazzy fashion. Coming from Pop roots, he offers something unique and tangible to the Metal table.  “Hear My Call” is my favorite track here; I was instantly hooked, even months ago, hearing just snippets on teasers. A deceptively heavy, yet groovy intro riff, drives the majority of the song, with yet again a creative display of melodic progressions. The chorus is delightful, with Henrik showing a soaring facet to his vocal repertoire. Both guitarists possess a unique ability to seamlessly transcend between the heavy and melodic in an instant, which is sudden and followable at the same time.Of course, “A Dream Within A Dream” requires a mention; their longest track, at 14 minutes it even surpasses “The End of Millennium Road”, but similarly combines an array of amorphous soundscapes. It also continues a neat little trick I have noticed the band perform, where certain lyrical passages would link back to previous tracks; such occurred with “Ammonia Snow” on “The Detached”. The highlight is the delicious passage demonstrated on the recent teaser, displaying a symbiotic melody between Henrik's bass and his vocals. “Erasure” is a surprising and very enjoyable acoustic piece that garnishes the end of the album. As opposed to the ballad “Ammonia Snow”, this track features predominantly acoustic guitars and a dramatic crash of distorted electric that breaks up any potential monotony. Did I mention the hauntingly beautiful lyrics?It is repressively hard not to ramble on about Progressive music with such surreal, engaging properties. In the end, any expectations I had of this release were not met, but blown away. The year is young, but it is already in my proverbial, annual top 10." - Metal Temple
    $12.00
  • "What a strange awakening to discover this amazing German act! No, this call for resistance is not the kids show on Nickelodian TV, as that is spelt differently. In fact VICTORUIS is an underground outfit who play high octane, fuel driven classic Power Metal. These titans of fury break the spell of oblivion by playing with an alacrity and fervor, unprecedented, on this their sophomore self-release.Right out of the storm gate these road warriors of steel show their influences with "Age Of Tyranny". Fans of Power Metal Mavericks: BLIND GUARDIAN, GAMMA RAY, HAMMERFALL, STRATOVARIUS, this is for you! Newer fans of SEVEN KINGDOMS, JUDICATOR, ARMORY, STEEL AGGRESSOR, etc., will also appreciate what these majestic reborn kings offer when they own the crown, and ring true in your ears.Far from being a DRAGONFORCE cliché', "Starfire" is burning with ignited passion and powerful vocals. This has more of a classic PRETTY MAIDS meets AXXIS or STORMWITCH appeal. The range of the soaring eagle front runner David Baßin - while similar to what ZP Theart articulates with I Am I - is very evocative, crisp, and well-balanced. On a powerful anthem like "The Awakening" his tantamount talent is clearly self-evident.The guitar tandem shred insanity between Dirk Scharsich and Steven Dreißig is simply stellar. Even when the songs slow down and begin to pace themselves like with "Lake Of Hope", the solos are ever present and always engaging. The necessary keyboard elements are prevalent, but not too OTT, as suggested on "Under Burning Skies".The blistering "Black Sun" is scorching, with a punishing pace, but "Demon Legions" slows it down a bit, allowing for more thick heaviness and a darkened aura. Then "Through The Dead Lands" just picks right up and never ends with its unrelenting pace. The championed "Kings Reborn" is totally triumphant!The closing anthem of steel is a song written on my mettle heart both lyrically and musically. I am so pleased that I had a chance to discover these destined soldiers of sanctuary who are flying high and touching the sky on the wings of tomorrow. It was an absolute honor to review this VICTORIUS!" - Metal Temple
    $15.00
  • "This is all I have to write and it would be a good review but I have to play the unbiased party. Christian Muenzner, he’s one of the guitarists for OBSCURA and previously worked in NECROPHAGIST having the album, “Epitaph“, under his belt and also has his solo project going for him and several other projects. Not only did he deliver the masterpiece, “Omnivium” in 2011 but also within a month’s time after this magnum opus his solo project’s debut “Timewarp” was released. In 2012 we see the release of SPAWN OF POSSESSION’s “Incurso” and now we have PARADOX’s “Tales Of The Weird”. I really hope he keeps up this stride and as far as the material here goes there’s nothing to worry about him slowing down anytime soon.The title track, “Tales Of The Weird” begins with a stormy night, rain pouring and etching the earth with acoustics pushing the music forward. A wolf howls into the eternal night, calmly but rushingly surging that energy through your spine. The acoustics control your movements, confined into the black night turning towards the eminent dawn. Once the rest of the instruments start to engage you are hypnotized, senselessly trying to bring you back from that beautiful shock you didn’t know you were in. When it comes to the multitude of solos the first one sounds like time shifted into the Egyptian realm trying to resurrect a pharaoh from his decrepit sarcophagus. Well done Muenzner and not only him but the rest of the crew. This is easily one of the best songs on the album.I don’t know what equipment Muenzner used on the album but he sure has a different unique tone. It’s apparent on “Brutalized”. On the first solo you get this new tone and it’s just warming and comfortable to hear. A melodic solo and when it reaches a higher pitch it’s what I’d like to compare as a bee humming a song during the brightest summer. I didn’t hear it upon my first voyage through this album. In fact it took me three times to really notice it. On the second solo it’s like “Screw it! I’m Christian Muenzner and I want to play a full on progressive/technical death metal solo.” It’s called “Brutalized” for a reason and no I don’t think he’s conceited as I make him to be so just follow along and don’t pay too much mind to it. The outro is folk influenced as was “Tales Of The Weird” after the howling of the wolf. Spellbinding and it leads you into the mood of the next song. It’s like reading an ancient book and following along with the unorthodox adventures.I could be wrong but “Fragile Alliance” seemed to be slightly influenced by CHILDREN OF BODOM. Listen to “Cry of the Nihilist”, the riff starting at (1:40). Let that song sink in and come back to this one. It’s about less than a second but it has the same vibe, at least to me. It repeats itself three times on different points of the song. On certain passages Charly Steinhauer sounded like James Hetfield back when his voice had a more melodic and innocent quality to it. Also there’s clapping towards the end or maybe it’s something else but I agree that this album deserves an applause. “Escalation” starts off real thrashy also the riffs prior to the solo have a classical-esque composition quality to them and as a classical music fan I really enjoy combos of the sort. Muhammed Suicmez is quite guilty of this as well, check out the song, “Intestinal Incubation” full of that great majesty of the 18th century. “Slashdead” gets the award for strangest song off the album but hey this is “Tales Of The Weird” so it fits nicely. It’s a straightforward thrash song but it articulates a bit on tangents. Towards the ending it brings back good memories of Pokemon when it says “Slash!”, Sandslash anyone?“Zeitgeist”is personally my favorite song off the album. I actually know the word since it was discussed in my psychology class. If the translation is correct it means “spirit of the times.” It’s the perfect track in describing the obscurity and gentleness of the album. First “Tales Of The Weird” with its trip back to the times of pharaohs and during a period where the sun was deemed as a god and among several other deities. Then “Escalation” with its classical fluidity and now “Zeitgeist”. This song’s where my inception of the idea of the humming bees came from, “Brutalized” further supports the point. The concept of spirit of the times fits great with my perception of the bees which leads to that birds and the bees speech to explain reproduction. It is the beginning of life and exploration. It creates people and with people it creates these atmospheres during a certain period in time, thus spirit of the times or “Zeitgeist”. On “The Downward Spiral” it seemed to be influenced by DEATH’s “The Flesh and the Power It Holds” (around 3:03) on two different points during “The Downward Spiral“. The bass created the illusion that I was going in a spiral. A chaotic stream of an evolving abstract staircase that disappeared within a few moments if one isn’t quick enough to get on the ride.Overall, this is a very impressive album and trust me when I say the more you listen to it the better it gets. There’s a chance you won’t think much of it the first time around as you might be hypnotized by Muenzner’s guitar work that initially the rest seems inferior to it. Alas don’t fear, digest the album well, its replay value is really high. V. Santura did an amazing job on mixing and mastering, definitely giving PARADOX an evolutionary album. Bass had a tendency to be technical in sneaky places but Olly Keller had his own style. The synergy between the bass and guitars reminded me so much of OBSCURA. Only problem I seemed to have is the drums were at times oblivious in the mix. I actually heard the bass more than the drums. I’m sure though with a few more runs with this album I’ll be able to hear it more and better comprehend Daniel Buld’s contributions." - Metal Temple
    $17.00
  • Reign Of The Architect is a multi-national metal project with its core musicians based in Israel.  The main "architect" appears to be Yuval Kramer, guitarist for Amaseffer.  Not surprisingly there is a musical connection here as well.  While most of the members are Israeli, some prominent names crop up: Mike LePond (Symphony X), Jeff Scott Soto, Joost Van Den Broek (After Forever).  The album is put together like a metal opera with various vocalists - male and female filling the different roles.  The overall feel is purely epic in nature.  In terms of musical reference guideposts, Amaseffer and Saviour Machine come to mind but the male/female vocal parts bring to mind Beyond The Bridge.   Highly recommended."Reign of the Architect are a multi-national progressive metal band that came together in 2008. Originally started as a side-project collaboration by Mexican drummer Mauricio Bustamente and guitarist for Israeli progressive metal group Amaseffer Yuval Kramer, the group also numbers Israeli singer Yotam Avni of death metal band Prey For Nothing, who wrote the basic storyline for what would turn out to be their debut album Rise.The group emailed ideas back and forth until it was time to record in 2010. To fill out the lineup, the group recruited several well-known and respected metal musicians, including bassist Michael Lepond (Symphony X), as well as guest musicians in keyboard player Joost Van Der Broek (Ayreon), highly regarded Israeli jazz fusion guitarist Assaf Levy, and the legendary Jeff Scott Soto (Yngvie Malmsteen, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to perform on certain tracks. Reign Of The Architect’s first album was delayed due to the inability to find a label to release it, but finally it has seen the light of day. What could have been a disappointment instead was revealed to be a truly gripping, cinematic work of symphonic progressive metal.Rise is a sci-fi concept album of some sort. According to Kramer, the story is an “allegory of the powers that rage inside the human soul”, dealing with the subjectivity of things such as good and evil, and right and wrong. In accordance with this duology, the music on this album falls into one of two categories; either slower dramatic and mournful, or heavier bombastic and angry. Both are done in a very cinematic fashion, and combining influences from Latin, Middle Eastern, European, and jazz fusion traditions into one melting pot of progressive metal riffing.After a symphonic intro, the album opens, interestingly enough, not with a high energy song as would be expected, but with a waltz-type song, and then a ballad which starts very minimal and then turns into something more dramatic for the finale. The song “False” has a heavy, desperate feeling, and is a very powerful metal song which descends into a very surprising but very fitting jazz fusion-esque solo. The song also ends with an almost-ragtime piano section, which nicely contrasts the rest of the song.There are three vocalists featured on the album: Davidavi Dolev, Tom Gefen, and Denise Scorofitz – and this is one of its greatest strengths, as each one is given parts that perfectly suit their range and sound within the music. It adds an amazing amount of dynamicism and variance to the album.There are also a few guest vocalists to add even more to what Rise has to offer. The singers are given specific characters that are important to the concept to sing. Most appear throughout, as the concept demands, but Jeff Scott Soto makes his mark on only one track: the brilliant “We Must Retaliate”, the second single release from the album. Members of the Israeli thrash metal band Dark Serpent appear on the final song, “Hopeless War” as soldiers, and also making guest appearances (and acquitting themselves wonderfully) are Joost Van Der Broek (playing a keyboard solo on the first single release, “Distant Similarities”) and Assaf Levy, who provides guitar solos on “False” and “As The Old Turns To Sorrow”.Musically, the rest of the band is excellent. The guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards all sound fantastic and work very well together. Guitar-wise, the riffs in the more metal moments are strong, flowing, and cohesive. The bass parts, half of which are played by Michael Lepond who replaced original bassist Kyle Honea when the latter was unable to continue, are their own entity not just following the guitar. Lepond is a fantastic bassist, one of the best in progressive metal, and it shows here.Rise is three acts and fifteen songs long, running at 65 minutes. It is not long for progressive metal record, but it does occasionally feel like it drags a bit. All the songs are within the four to six minute range, and contain enough variety to keep things interesting for the most part, but the back half of the album is less interesting than the first half. The first seven songs are brilliant, while the next nine have a few shining moments, namely “We Must Retaliate” “Crown of Shattered Dreams” and “Hopeless War” among others, but are generally a little less remarkable. It is also the first part in a planned two part saga. No word on when the second album will be released, but one can hope it will be just as good as this one. Reign of the Architect have created a fantastic work of progressive cinematic metal for their debut. The variety of sound showcased, and the strong composition and musicianship along with some great guest musicians make this an excellent addition to any progressive metal collection. It is very well-produced and has some very thoughtful lyrics. Rise is definitely one of the top progressive metal albums of the year so far." - The Monolith
    $14.00
  • "Code of Silence is the creation of Paul Logue, founder and bass player of Eden’s Curse, and friend James Murray. These two Scotsman had the idea to create a new melodic heavy metal band composed mostly of their country men. It almost worked out for them, three out of five ain't bad.Logue wrote the music and Murray contributed the lyrical themes (based upon history and legend of the Knights Templar), but also plays bass. They got Scots John Clelland and Scott McLean to play drums and keyboards, respectively. The two also pitched in on some songwriting. Logue and Murray turned to England for guitar, recruiting young prodigy Ben Randall, and to Brazil for the experience of vocalist Gus Monsanto (Revolution Renaissance, Takara, Adagio).The result is a rather stellar Dark Skies Over Babylon, 11 songs of classic melodic heavy/power metal. If you like the sound and direction of Eden's Curse, then Code of Silence will be right in your comfort zone. In other words, there's a perfect combination of heaviness, melody, hooks, and rock groove. Along side these things is very strong song composition, artfully merging the arrangement with every instrument. You'll hear these strengths the notable songs Dark Skies Over Babylon, Black Abyss, and Here to Heaven. For the some of that aforementioned hearty hooks and groove look to Sky Is Falling Down and Witches of November. Alternatively, Tame the Tempest may also have some slight prog metal nuances and Knights of the Crimson Cross delivers straight power metal. Fundamentally then, Dark Skies Over Babylon is a well-crafted and entertaining record of traditional melodic metal. Quite recommended." - Dangerdog.com
    $15.00
  • "There are some bands that have a feel of “going through the motions” when releasing new albums, either relying on successes of previous efforts or generally uninspired by the process. Then there are bands that put every bit of energy, heart, and soul into each and every album driven by a desire to create stronger material, never lazing under the notion that albums “can’t get any better than ‘x’ release.”Ever since 2003, Swiss folk metal act Eluveitie has been captivating with every release, as if the word “monumental” was ingrained in the band's genes. It’s not simply because of its Celtic roots, or the combination of melody with that splash of extreme, or the use of what seems like hundreds of instruments (most of which you can't pronounce), but also the amount of blood that runs through the songs like veins inside each album. There is energy with every album that transcends the boundaries of just being music….it’s a blanket that warms, a beer that satiates, a lover that satisfies, a book that creates worlds, and music that emotes. “Origins” might just be the best album in the band’s history and clearly is a top contender for 2014.Eluveitie also has the distinction of being one of the few groups that has the ability to inspire fans to delve deeper into the historical content of each release, especially after witnessing a live performance. It’s one thing to live in the comfort of a well-produced album with the ability to perfect the sound, but once you see this band in a live setting – meticulously re-creating the sound of the recorded masterpiece note for note, instrument for instrument with deadly precision – the true beauty shines through. Only by visualizing this culmination of what must be a motherload of practice and effort that has led to perfect timing and execution will you then have complete appreciation for how much this band gives a shit about its craft. Calling it extraordinary seems so ordinary.“Origins” expounds upon the formula blazed in “Helveitos,” but harkens a bit back to the days of “Slania,” with much higher production values. I was a bit perplexed by a backlash from some critics of “Helveitos” who cited a rather startling “lack of originality,” so it wouldn’t be a shock to see “Origins” met with similar caterwauling. More astounding is trying to comprehend exactly what the expectation level is given the history of Eluveitie since “Evocation” was released in 2008. With “Origins” you can brace yourself for much greater Celtic “origins,” more bagpipes and flutes, and more participation from Anna Murphy, who has now become just as indispensable as Chrigel.There is plenty of “Slania” here to keep the “trve fans” satisfied – check out “Inception,” “King,” “Carry the Torch,” or “The Silver Sister.” For those that also love intricate and pulse generating Celtic melodies with more flutes, tin whistles, and Gaitas than you will ever find at a Riverdance show, all reinforced by Chrigel’s death grows and interlaced with Anna Murphy’s astounding voice – look no further than tracks like “Celtos,” “From Darkness,” “The Nameless,” “Sucellos” and what sounds like the sequel to “A Rose for Epona” – “The Call of the Mountains.” The only chink in the otherwise perfect armor is the swiftness that this album passes, even though it clocks in at 52 minutes, not including intros (58 with). I suddenly wished for an hour and a half, knowing it will probably be too long.In the end, Eluvetie raised it's stock higher, carving a greater niche and ascending a crowded folk metal scene. In what will surely be a fiddle fight death match with bands like Elvenking and Equilibrium, Eluveitie may just be the strongest contender this year, barring no subgenre. “Origins” will astound the faithful as well as garner more critics desiring “something different.” The fact remains….what Eluveitie does is in of itself “something different” and “Origins” may be the best effort yet." - Metal Underground
    $16.00
  • "The phrase, "A New Dawn" has become one widely used these days with the ascension of the Obama presidency in the United States, and certainly, that is a breath of fresh air for most of us. However, it’s also a good time for a metal band, with that phrase as a name, to make a serious arrival on the international music scene.A New Dawn isn’t really new. They’ve actually been around since 1998 in one form or another, although they began as a side project. Several demos and one semi serious EP and DVD later, the band has released the title under review here and is primed for a run at the big time.The band is a 6 member group headed up by a duel female lead. That lead, Sanne Kluiters and Jamila Ifzaren do something of an operatic front end. The guitars are provided by Elbert de Hoog, bass by Michel van Beekum and drums are compliments of Rik Bruineman. The final member is Michiel Glas whose responsibilities include vocals and grunting. Poor Michiel has the unenviable task of replacing the lovely Monica Janssen who played bass and was clearly the most impressive female grunter in metal. She was always, for me, a significant interest in this band and will be missed, but, as they say, the show must go on.It should be noted, however, that this CD was actually produced with a different lineup, and Monica is the grunter and bass player here. The additional clean vocals are done by a friend of the band, David van Santen. Willem Cremer performed on guitar and Peter van Toren did drums on this recording. With the completion of the CD, the changes came about, so this is the swan song for Monica. And that’s unfortunate but certainly not devastating. Lineup changes in European bands, unlike many American bands, are like changing your clothes in the morning.Doesn’t matter really who does the grunting, this is a B & B Gothic metal band. That Beauty and the Beast approach serves as the focus of A New Dawn and carries through much of the music presented here. And, as B and B bands go, this one is pretty good. They’re Dutch of course, and utilize a style found in numerous western European bands, even if the composition is a little unique. The sound, however, is pretty much mainstream metal, with a few twists.Falling from Grace opens with a beautiful little piece called Black Lotus, the two female leads doing an operatic harmony over a lovely symphonic background. You get the feeling we’re in for a lovely bit of harmonic Gothic, heavily orchestrated. Something like what we’d hear for a movie about life in the Middle Ages. David van Santen even joins in with a lovely male vocal component to augment this direction. The tome lasts some 1:22. . .. and then things change.As mentioned previously, A New Dawn is Gothic Metal, fairly hard Gothic Metal over a solid guitar base. The vocals, the female vocals anyway, are operatic, but they ride a cushion of heavy guitars to get where they’re going. Living Lie begins this journey, and pretty much introduces the real A New Dawn. And Monica’s grunting provides a highlight to the composition.Arguably, the most interesting song might be the following title, Veil of Charity. It made the Sonic Cathedral release A World of Sirens and gets significant airplay on the radio outlet. The song opens with an interesting guitar line over a metal core. Things heat up fast and flow to the duel female lead, which is juxtaposed against the grunting female vocals. This is, of course, the core of the A New Dawn sound and is probably the best implementation of that sound on the CD. Guitars are always secondary to the vocals with A New Dawn but they cannot be ignored, especially on this title. They are solid and get significant solo time, as well they should.The CD being somewhat new I haven’t been able to get lyrics online. However, the English of singers Kluiters, Ifzaren, Janssen and David van Santen is excellent so you can pretty much understand everything they’re singing. That’s not always the case with European bands, especially as they move further to the east. When you get to the Russians, they quit trying.A New Dawn does most of its work in heavy mode. However, there are exceptions. Wisdom of Hindsight is actually something of an acoustic number, at least at first. Vocals are different as well. The band does a sound like a Medieval Folk song on occasion, and this is one of those numbers. However, even here, the metal comes back at some point, but the movement back and forth is really interesting. There are almost three or four distinct styles here in one song.The acoustic sound carries through on other numbers as well, especially as an intro. A short number, Prelude to a Farwell, uses this technique to serve as a mid point on the CD, almost like an intermission, very beautiful and moving.That midpoint takes us to the second part of the CD, introduced by Kissed Goodbye. Again, the song starts slowly with a moving guitar that takes us to the lead female vocals. It should be pointed out that these vocals are not all that similar and are used differently, even when done at the same time. One is more operatic, the other less so, and they work in different ranges. Very different in the style and effect. Anyway, the slow stuff doesn’t last long, the guitars crank up and the metal goes full tilt.Much of the second part of the CD follows this format, slow and dreamy intros that lead to a crunching guitar guiding the female vocals to their face offs with Monica’s grunting.The final number, Ascension, Part III, is worth mentioning. It’s been a favorite of mine for some time and has video clips on YouTube where you get to see Monica (and the rest of the lineup at that time) in performance. This is one of the songs where the grunting is more up front, the guitars are a bit harder and we get the image of A New Dawn on stage. Of course, the two female vocalists are a delight and the band performs this number in much the same style as they would on stage, there is an electricity to their sound that transcends the recording.I’m sure that, in all respects, the band is every bit as good as ever, but I’m sure going to miss that little brunette bass player with the killer voice. Fortunately, we still have the strong contributions from the two female leads who carry the majority of the load.Oh well, progress is inevitable, and, in this case, we move with the tides. A strong offering from a band we will, no doubt, hear much more from in the future." - Sonic Cathedral
    $17.00
  • "For his first solo release since 2009s House of Insanity, Trans Siberian Orchestra/Savatage guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Chris Caffery has enlisted the help of virtuoso drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Ozzy Osbourne) and keyboard player/composer Lonnie Park to create Your Heaven is Real, a 13 song collection of blistering heavy metal that not only continues to display his stellar guitar chops but also his continued confident & improving vocal ability and strong songwriting skills. Your Heaven Is Real was recorded, mixed and produced by Caffery at Face The Music Studios in New York with additional recording done by Lonnie Park at Ultimate Sound in Groton, NY and Brian Tichy's Big Timers Studio in Canyon Country, CA. Instantly memorable and catchy, Your Heaven is Real is immediately more appealing and accessible than its predecessor, filled with some of his heaviest as well as most commercial sounding material to date.The opening title track, a tale of a very true frightening situation experienced by the guitarist, kicks in with sledgehammer riffs and snarling vocals, a true headbanger's delight and easily one of the must hear songs on the album. "Arm And a Leg" is another dark, menacing slice of heavy metal, complete with Caffery's venomous 'Jon Oliva-meets-Alice Cooper-meets-Sebastian Bach' vocal delivery, which is then followed up by the instantly catchy, hook laden metal anthem "Just Fine", one of the most upbeat, fun songs he's ever recorded, complete with a killer chorus and great guitar solo. Things take a turn for the poignant & melancholy on the Savatage sounding "Why", a fabulous song with a great lyrical message and emotional vocals (some of Chris' best ever) to go along with many guitar and keyboard textures. Without a doubt it's another highlight of Your Heaven is Real, and pushes past the 7-minute length as the one of the albums two epics. "Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don't" is an upbeat schizoid heavy metal gem, complete with complex riffs and some futuristic, almost prog-rock styled synths, while the blazing instrumental "Hot Wheelz" (dedicated to a special someone perhaps?) is chock full of manic drumming from Tichy and plenty of Caffery's blazing guitar licks. "I Never Knew" is more of an atmospheric rocker thick with keyboards and layers of lush guitar work, providing the framework for Caffery to inject some heartfelt, hook laden vocal passages. It's a nice change of pace, and I'd love to hear more in this style from him.The back end of the CD is equally as strong, kicking off with the energetic riff monger "Sick and Tired", and continuing on with the mid paced, grinding "Death By Design", a doom laden piece that will instantly appeal to fans of vintage Savatage as well as Black Sabbath. After the brief but lovely guitar instrumental "2-26-15", Caffery unleashes "Too Soon To Be Too Late", a rampaging, addicting example of metal guitar firepower packed with catchy vocal hooks and irresistible melodies. This is one of those songs that if it existed in 1987 would have been a huge hit with teenage hard rock & heavy metal fans. The second of Your Heaven is Real's lengthy songs is "Over and Over", an emotional ballad that slowly builds to a powerful climax, again showcasing Caffery's confident vocals and featuring a sizzling guitar solo. This leads to the gorgeous "Come Home", a short keyboard/guitar/vocal piece that takes the album out on a tranquil note, again displaying the huge amount of variety that Caffery has included on this fine new release.I've been saying for years that Chris Caffery has yet to top his best solo release, which was his first in Faces, but I think, now a decade later, he's finally done it with Your Heaven is Real. Well rounded and showing off much of what makes Chris Caffery 'click', Your Heaven is Real permeates with positive energy, power, and majesty, obviously a very personal album for the artist but ultimately his most revealing. Well done." - Sea Of Tranquility
    $15.00