Along with Iced Earth, Jag Panzer remains the cream of the crop for American Power Metal. Welcome back boys, nice to have you.
Unfortunately Elysium (the album) fails to meet the expectations that Polaris set out. I really wanted to love this album and gave it more listens than normal but I came out loving parts and feeling very ambiguous about others. The band has managed to create an awesome half record, while the rest is ‘okay’. That said it’s a damn sight better than the Elements albums!
Rhapsody of Fire have spared no expense on this EP, treating it with the same amount of care and detail that they give their full length releases: great story line, fully orchestrated songs, huge production, choirs, blazing guitars, and, of course, Christopher Lee’s voice.
Hey Hellbound Readers, welcome to the second edition of Postcards From Natalie Zed for 2011. We met Natalie just about a year ago now when she won our big year end contest, taking home more than 50 CDs, records, posters and t-shirts. In a surprise move, Natalie then asked us if she could review her winnings for us. How could we say no?
Well, Natalie is all done with her original batch but has decided to keep on doing her postcard sized reviews for us. So, without further adieu, here is part nine of her ongoing series which we like to call “Postcards From Natalie Zed”. This set includes reviews of MITOCHONDRION, GRAF ORLOCK, THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL and more.
“The moment the overture of “At the Edge of Time” began, the Kool Haus erupted. The audience was no longer a collection of discrete individuals; the room was suddenly occupied by a single entity, one cacophonous voice entirely at Blind Guardian’s mercy for the entire two-hour set. Very few shows can inspire this kind of intense, unifying energy, but this was such an event.”
Natalie Zed reviews the recent Toronto performance from power metal legends Blind Guardian, who were joined by Holy Grail and Seven Kingdoms.
For my money, I’d pass on this record. It isn’t awful but it’s really isn’t very good either. The pieces are in place for a good record but they need to find a much better guitar tone, help the singer find his niche (or write in a more comfortable key) and reign in the keyboardist.
Despite my quibbles with the lyrical content, this album is a great piece of throwback metal, Andy Sneap harnessing the classic 80’s Accept sound and bringing it into the 21st century. Their last Udo-less effort may not have aged well, but Blood of the Nations is timeless.
It’s a real testament to the song-writing ability and musicianship of a band when they can have superstar guests on their album but don’t really need them. Poetry for the Poisoned features such notables as Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid (Soilwork), Simone Simons (Epica), Jon Oliva (Jon Oliva’s Pain, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra) and hotshot guitar player Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy) but all of the songs would have done just as well without the famous help.
“Arriving at the Opera House a little late (missing Unleash the Archers for the TIFF presentation of Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins) we walked into a friendly greeting from Leaves’ Eyes growler Alex Krull. That second or two was characteristic of the relaxed and intimate vibe that held for the rest of the night. With Kamelot off the line-up, the Leaves’ Eyes / Blackguard billing drew a smaller crowd, making it easy to get close to the stage and giving the in-between-song banter a more conversational tone. The casual atmosphere made me a little more forgiving of the often muddy mix for all three bands that blurred some of what, on record, comes across fairly clean and precise.”
Make no mistake, this is POWER metal. The songs on At The Edge of Time are arranged with a classical ear, the attention to detail on this album cannot be denied.