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Dragonland: Under the Grey Banner

Dragonland! What musical area could they possibly dabble in? Power metal? Damn straight! For the uninitiated Dragonland make records that sometimes make Rhapsody (of Fire) seem restrained and laid back and Under the Grey Banner is no exception to the pattern, starting off with "Ilmarion" the listener gets the impression that he/she is listening to a film score such is the scale of Dragonland's ambition. It helps that the production is utterly titanic as anything less would be wholly wrong.

Let's be honest and note that such over the top power metal/Hollywood metal is very niche and tends not to travel well outside of mainland Europe but if you are a fan in any way of the genre(s) you will absolutely love Under the Grey Banner. Yes it's more over the top than is strictly necessary but that is very much part if its charm and if you aren't thrilled by the opening of "A Thousand Towers White" then you probably lack a pulse and the rest of the song isn't bad either.

If there is a slight criticism it would be that perchance the performances are full throttle pretty much from beginning to end and occasionally less can be more but that's not really what Dragonland do. Dragonland; they're Dragonland so that nobody else has to be – long may they continue.

Track Listing:

  1. 'Ilmarion'
  2. 'Shadow Of The Mithril Mountains'
  3. 'The Tempest'
  4. 'A Thousand Towers White'
  5. 'Fire And Brimstone'
  6. 'The Black Mare'
  7. 'Lady Of Goldenwood'
  8. 'Dûrnir's Forge'
  9. 'The Trials Of Mount Farnor'
  10. 'Throne Of Bones'
  11. 'Under The Grey Banner'
  12. 'Ivory Shores'

Added: August 31st 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2809
Language: english

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Dragonland: Under the Grey Banner
Posted by Scott Jessup, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-08-31 06:18:17
My Score:

Reading the above reviews inspired me to get back into this one that I purchased last year, Under The Grey Banner is the fifth release from the Swedish band. This time Dragonland goes back to their namesake land to conclude the storyline of their two epic releases The Battle Of The Ivory Plains and Holy War, one thing is for sure Dragonland aren't a Rhapsody Of Fire clone.

Drummer Morten Lowe Sorensen really kicks Under The Grey Banner along, as his performances are so very cool I really struggle to keep my feet still listening to his playing. Vocals are also wonderful but you can't expect to have anything less on this kind of release, while the remainder of the band also hook in to ensure this is one memorable epic symphonic power release.

Their fourth album Astronomy gave me so much enjoyment and really showed what Dragonland are capable of thanks to multiple great tracks such as the three part "The Old House On The Hill", like the previous Dragonland another good album titled Starfall the band changed direction for these two. While Under The Grey Banner returns somewhat to their early style and is also really worth the effort there is so much great uplifting material on here.

Dragonland: Under the Grey Banner
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-08-22 15:01:01
My Score:

Many bands have followed in the musical footsteps of Rhapsody (of Fire), but few have done so as gallantly as Sweden's Dragonland. The band's fifth album, Under the Grey Banner, opens with — what else? — an immense overture called "Ilmarion," which is followed by a female spoken-word intro to "Shadow of the Mithril Mountains" directed toward "sons and daughters of Dragonland" before the song gallops forth toward mystical lands filled with orcs, elves, dwarves and knights caught in an "unholy bargain." "The Tempest," a dramatic mid-tempo song, slows things down a bit more than Dragonland's most-obvious influences, while the death-metal vocals on the title track are ill-advised.

If so-called "Hollywood/film-score metal" still gives you goose bumps, though, you can't go wrong with the musical adventure that awaits you Under the Grey Banner.

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