So much progressive metal sounds the same these days that it is refreshing to hear a CD by a new band that sparks some interest from my ears. This six -piece band from Sweden hints at the style of bands like Symphony X and Rhapsody, but throws in a little 80’s Dokken for good measure. Instrumentally they are perfectly sound, and manage to throw in some classy hooks and melodies as well.
The opening track “Preludium-Oblivion” contains all the frantic “faster- than -the -speed –of- light” guitar riffs, classical keyboard runs, double-bass drums, and high-pitched vocals. The thing is, you instantly remember the melody. The title track contains some impressive, technical guitar solos, kind of like a combination of Schenker, Malmsteen and Lynch. Keyboard player Thomas Blum shows off his chops on the instrumental “Skeleton Scales”, while “Veins of Hell” is an all out thrash metal number. I was reminded of a pretty obsure 80’s band called No Heavy Petting on the melodic “The Deciever”, while “Change Your Heart”, one of two ballads, has a hook that Dokken would have loved to write. There of course are a few complex rippers in the tradition of Symphony X, most notably “Steel of the Dagger” and the wah-wah laced guitar frenzy of “Masterplan.”
Castle of Yesterday actually turned out to be a lot of fun, and while not a CD to that will shake the earth, this is definitely a talented bunch. It will be interesting to see what they can do next. Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention the neat cover painting which shows a snake wrapped around a mountain which rests a castle, atop a raging river. Cool stuff!