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Gothic Knights: Up From the Ashes

I really want to like Gothic Knights, one of only a handful of American bands on Europe's premier power-metal label Limb Music Products. But does the world need another generic power-metal band singing about honor and glory and queens and warriors, oh my?

Well, considering the pedigree of Gothic Knights even the name conjures stereotypes Up From the Ashes is worthy of at least a little of your valuable attention. With a history that dates back to 1990 in Brooklyn, New York, and a list of current and past players that numbers no fewer than eight (including former drummer Brian Dispost, who left the band in 1998 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis), Gothic Knights mixes old-school power metal think Manowar and Virgin Steele with a classical baroque undercurrent fueled by Paganini, Bach and Beethoven influences. Plus, Frank Gilchriest, who has also appeared on Virgin Steele's last few albums, holds the current drum slot.

Up From the Ashes, Gothic Knights' third album, overflows with the high-pitched wails (and shouts) of singer Rick Sanchez and heavy riffs courtesy of founding guitarist John Tsantakis. A guest keyboardist adds elements too frequently missing from much of today's power metal, and a solid rhythm section gallops at varying paces. Opener "Power and the Glory" is a post-9/11 anthem, and the entire last third of the album is a little less intense and more creative than the first two-thirds. And I would love to hear the limited-edition digipak of Up From the Ashes, which includes a cover of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf." If Gothic Knights' version is a decent one, that alone would justify this band's existence.


Track Listing:
1) Power and the Glory (5:35)
2) Warrior of Faith (4:17)
3) Down in Flames (4:15)
4) Up From the Ashes (5:54)
5) Vampyre (6:38)
6) The Witching Hour (5:11)
7) Sleepy Hollow (7:02)
8) Guardian Archangel (4:43)
9) Heaven's Fire (4:44)
10) Dear Queen (6:48)
11) The 13th Warrior (6:14)
Total Time: 61:26

Added: May 7th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Gothic Knights Web Site
Hits: 1666
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Gothic Knights: Up From the Ashes
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-23 07:07:07
My Score:

Hailing from Brooklyn New York come "The Gothic Knights"! This is a band that shows that Power Metal has not only been relegated to the European Powers of the world. Given the fact that many Stateside bands are leaning to the Grind core or Thrash core vibe it's a pleasant change to find some musicians holding high the banner of more inspirational Metal. Steeped in "old school" mannerisms Guitarist John Tsantakis shows he has been influenced by the melodic masters of the form and at times really rips it up. Bassist Mario Cosentino shows an adept level of skill as well thundering across the drums of Frank Gilchrist. Vocalist Rick Sanchez has some moments of shining glory as well and in particular makes "Warrior Of Faith" and title track "Up From The Ashes" among the best tunes on the album. Fans of vocalists along the line of Kiske and similar melodic wailers will enjoy the way he performs. The changing tide of the music industry makes it hard for a band like this to keep steady footing and perhaps that is why this album has such a familiar feel to it. Very musical and containing songs that are on the catchy side more than they are not; the band keeps it safe by not pushing the envelope all that much or taking any risks. That fact alone does not make this a bad album at all but might limit the impact they are setting to make with their music. Fans of the traditional feel of Metal will be impressed to some degree and again it is nice to see more Metal like this coming from the States. Other tracks of note are "Sleepy Hollow" and "Dear Queen". The air of mysticism and the unknown is broken however by the bonus inclusion of "Hungry Like The Wolf". The quirkiness of adding a Duran Duran number, even a metallized one takes away from the seriousness of the Metal they are delivering all around the album.

The special edition of this CD comes with a richly illustrated booklet, poster and a sticker. It's a very ornate packaging and impressive to look at. Give this a listen if it piques your curiosity, it certainly has its moments.

Note: Since its release the band has had some lineup changes leaving Tsantakis and Cosentino as the only original remaining members.




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