When I hear an album like this I have to smile :-)
It kind of takes me back to the early 1980's, circa 1983-84. Many people seem to forget there was more to the 80's then the idiotic glam/sleaze metal, or the lollypops and sugar of the pop metal bands. In these years there were also bands surfacing on labels such as Metal Blade, Megaforce, and Combat. It was a time when the underground metal movement was coming to life. Powerful and talented bands such as Warlord, Savatage, Omen, Fates Warning, Manowar, the list goes on and on! Tightly written songs, killer guitar harmonies, and well-trained vocalists. Thankfully there were bands like Iron Maiden and Queensryche to help propel this new generation of quality metal into the marketplace. If one knew where to look, the scene seemed so alive and vibrant in those days. One could find something new, fresh and exciting every time…
Listening to this debut album "Hellicornia" brings all of these feelings back. This is certainly a high quality band, with a lot of potential. They describe the music as "truemetalism" and it's a term that rightfully earned from where they stay true to the values established by these bands in the past, while moving forward into the future.
The band has an excellent vocalist in Jesper Max, who at times reminds me of Scorpions vocalist Klaus Meine. The band employs a very tight rhythm section in bassist Simon Lindholm and drummer/songwriter Patrick Fransson. They lock together quite well, and provide a really driving and bouncing metal foundation for Anders Karlson to work over. Karlson's work is very solid all over the album, with a nice array of arpeggios and harmony solos to go with his driving rhythm work. Keyboardist Håkan Ivarsson adds some really nice keyboard touches and sampling throughout the album.
Songs like "Ice Cold" remind me of early Queensryche, with its slow and steady double bass pattern and it's chugging rhythm driving it, along with the harmony guitar patterns above it. The Gregorian chant and keys before "Hellnicornia", add a dark atmosphere to the song before going into a tasteful and charging melodic metal riff. The album is quite consistent all the way through, exhibiting the traits of melody, harmony and power all throughout it. The album's closer "X9" is quite different however. This is a very somber and sad piano piece, and a very poignant way to end this album.
I see this is a self financed release by these guys. For a self financed recording, this production is quite solid and is very clear sounding. If anyone from a record company is reading this review, I suggest you sign these guys up! If they are this good now, just imagine how far they could go in the years to come!
2. Set us free
3. Fight with fire
4. Ice cold
7. Profile of the day
8. Rise again
9. Kings and queens