Magic Kingdom: Symphony of War
Looking for an impressive European epic power metal album to end the year with? The band Magic Kingdom has released one and it's called Symphony Of War.
Subsequent to hearing some impressive samples and realizing the vocals were of none other than Olaf Hayer (Luca Turilli's solo albums and the bands Dionysus and Symphonity), plus on keyboards Magic Kingdom have recruited Philippe Giordana from the band Fairyland, I ordered the 2CD edition of Symphony Of War. This version truly is the one to buy, or you will do yourself a disfavor and miss out on some great extra material from Magic Kingdom.
Even though the band has been together for many years Symphony Of War is Magic Kingdom's third release, their previous was Metallic Tragedy in 2004 and they debuted with The Arrival in 1999. Symphony Of War isn't a lightweight recording full of ballads and tranquil music, no way as Magic Kingdom's music is heavy and animated. This is a band of talented performers that really sound great together, with oodles of prompt guitar playing of the neo classical kind.
Magic Kingdom don't get the ball rolling with one of those short customary instrumental introductions, instead they take off with the rapid metal of "Symphony Of War" as guitars, keyboards and drums ignite. Olaf's vocals are introduced and as expected his voice totally suits the music of Magic Kingdom just fine, and actually the material does remind of some of his previous notable collaborations at times. There's more speed on the excellent "We Rise", which is a metal lover's delight with a killer opening riff and solo section. "Million Sinners World" is introduced at full pace before settling into a mid paced groove, this is followed by another song enthralling tune called "Evil Magician"... can this guy shred or what? Guitarist Dushan Petrossi does a fine job; he and Phillippe Giordana really complement each other, "No Mercy For The Enemy" being just one impressive example of this. On disc two you will find the thirty minute epic "Metallic Tragedy - Chapter 2: The Holy Pentalogy", and this time there is a substantial introduction. With spoken words to tell the story to an atmospheric backdrop this disc also has quite a mixture of vocals and music. It really is very good and could stand on its own as a separate release, with this second disc Symphony Of War is such great value, being something which I also factored into my score.
Those drawn to the recordings of such acts such Fairyland, Rhapsody Of Fire and I'd probably also add Yngwie J Malmsteen due to the excellent neo guitar work, will thoroughly enjoy what Magic Kingdom have come up with on Symphony Of War
01. Symphony Of War
02. We Rise
03. Million Sinners World
04. Evil Magician
05. In The Name Of Heathen Gods
06. Monte Cristo
07. I'm A Lionheart
08. Sleeping Beauty [bonus]
09. No Mercy For The Enemy [bonus]
10. Unholy Abyss
01. Metallic Tragedy - Chapter 2: The Holy Pentalogy
1 - Through The Sea Of Ice/Quest For The Holy Light
2 - Before The Apocalypse/War Of The Black Angels
3 - At The Gates Of The Last Mystic Dragon Land
4 - Resurrection Of The Wizard/With The Gods Of Egypt On Our Side
5 - Tournament Of Hell
Added: January 27th 2011
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
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|Magic Kingdom: Symphony of War
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-01-27 10:58:53
Immortals Never Die!
Symphonic power metal of this brand is typically a hit-and-miss concept for me. Sometimes the music blows me away, and other times my ears are graced with a never-ending cheesefest. Once in a blue moon, however, these two worlds can unite into a killer power metal album - such is the case with the latest effort from Magic Kingdom. Yes, this band has the same name as a Disney Theme Park and their lyrics are about warlords, dragons, and demons, but if you dig deeper, you just may find some excellent symphonic power metal. Though I have a few gripes related to the lyrics, running time, and overall bombast, Symphony of War is a generally impressive release from Magic Kingdom. People who've enjoyed their previous outings and like bands like Rhapsody of Fire, Blind Guardian, or Yngwie J. Malmsteen should be right at home with Magic Kingdom's latest opus.
The music here is symphonic power metal - the type that you either love or hate. Symphony of War is an extremely bombastic album with layers upon layers of keyboards, multiple vocal tracks, and fast double bass pedal rhythms. I wish Magic Kingdom would take a more stripped-down approach every now and again, despite the fact that it works tremendously on a few tracks like "We Rise" and "In the Name of Heathen Gods". If you get the 2CD edition (which I would highly recommend) you get 2 bonus tracks, both of which are pretty great. There's a surprising amount of harsh vocals in the 30-minute epic "Metallic Tragedy - Chapter 2: The Holy Pentalogy", and it actually diminishes my experience a bit. The song itself is weak in comparison to the other tracks, but there are many moments where growled vocals just don't fit Magic Kingdom's style. And this is coming from someone who's a die-hard death metal addict. The album does lose some steam after the first half, but my biggest issue here is with the lyrics. I'm fine with fantasy lyrics on principle, but quite a few lines here are almost embarrassing. Just listen to some of the lyrics on "Evil Magician" and you'll get what I mean. Fortunately, "Evil Magician" is a great song from a musical perspective, but the lyrics add an unnecessary layer of cheese.
The production is great-sounding to these ears, and a major asset to Symphony of War.
Symphony of War is a great album by Magic Kingdom that fans of symphonic power metal should definitely take a look into. Although it seems like I have many complaints about this release, I genuinely enjoy hearing it from time to time. I have a tough time looking past some of the lyrics and the playing time can be challenging at times, but, in the end, this has more than enough killer material to grab my attention. I'll give Symphony of War a recommendable 3-3.5 star rating in this case. Unsheathe your sword and prepare for battle!
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