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Kerion: Cloudriders Pt1

Well here's one for the symphonic metal lovers out there and especially those who like to flick through (maybe even read!) the odd sci-fi novel or two. Kerion started life as the French instrumental progressive metal act Kirlian, until the wise decision to add a vocalist (the lovely Flora) spurred not only a change in focus and name, but also in style. Initially two conceptually focused demo albums were released, before the band ventured forth with their first album proper Holy Creatures Quest, then gathering the best of their earlier demos for album number two. Now these guys (Remi and Sylvian (both guitars), Stephane (bass) JB (drums) and somebody is playing keyboards here as well - I'm just not exactly sure who...) may have pulled back from the uber technical realms of singerless prog metal, but they certainly still know how to play their instruments, with the guitar frets blazing and the drums clattering with intent. However the two main driving forces on Kerion album number three, Cloudriders Pt 1, are the vocals of Flora which intertwine quite expertly with guest singers Rapha Dantas (Caravellus), Phil Giordana (Fairyland) and Adrien Eyraud (Silent Fall), and the space-pirates romp story-line written by Chris Barbieri (author of the fantasy novel Conspiracy Of Darkness). Tying all of these different aspects together is a tall order and it is to the credit of Kerion that Cloudriders doesn't buckle under the weight of its own intentions.

Short spoken word sections, sound effects, didgeridoos and all manner of effects, link the thirteen tracks that make for a tale of pirates in space, initially proving quite interesting (although they do start to grate on the nerves a little as you get to know the album better) adding to the "Arrrr Jim-Lad!" conceptual, theatrical tone of the album. However it is the combination of voices that really sets the story telling atmosphere, providing a cutting edge for the stylish, if expected, symphonic metal the rest of the band serve up. Nightwish unsurprisingly spring to mind both vocally (although Flora can't quite reach the Tarja stratosphere) and musically, with galloping guitars thumping drums and string-like passages being augmented by whistles, pipes, flutes and a forty strong choir. Actually if you think Broadway Musical meets Nightwish via sci-fi sea-shanties and amazingly you won't be far away from what Kerion serve up. From that description this album really should be a bit of a mess, but it certainly never is, but neither is it anywhere close to as original in sound as could be hoped for either. Yes "Tribal Vibes" comes over like a spacey early Porcupine Tree flute inspired float, and "Celtica's Song" is almost Enya or Clannad like in structure, if not quite execution, but there's no denying that "Ghost Society", "Everlasting Flight" and "Fireblast" are all extremely well executed, standard symph-fare.

Bold and bombastic in places, expected and middle of the road in others, Clouriders Pt 1 suggests that with a little more daring individuality Kerion could be on the verge of muscling in on the symph-metal big boys. Until then shiver me-timbers and brace the main sail, let's set a course for the stars!

Track Listing
1. Riders Theme (Intro)
2. The Map
3. Everlasting Flight
4. Bounty Hunter
5. The Sky Is My Ocean
6. Fireblast
7. Tribal Vibes
8. Never More
9. Celticia's Son
10. Ghost Society
11. The Fall Of Skycity Part1
12. The Fall Of Skycity Part2
13. Riders Theme (Outro)

Added: February 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Metalodic Records
Hits: 1792
Language: english

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