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Airged L'amh: The Silver Arm

Greek mythology. You know it - Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse incident told in the prose of the blind singer Homer. Zeus, Posiedon, Aphrodite and their immortal friends in Mount Olympus with the rabble rousing gang of killers, philanderers and warmongers. You know the names, and you may even know that some of the stories would be too racy for today's public TV.

Irish mythology. You know it - the Celtic legend of Lugh and the tribe Of Tuatha de Danaanm, King Nuada Lámhairgid. of the Silver Arm - also called airged l'amh - the silver prosthesis was because he lost it in the first battle of Moytura between Tuatha De Danaan and Fir Bolg... What? Never heard of this stuff? Okay then - any self respecting metal band looking for a mythological theme ought to stick with the better known Greek stories, especially if the band is from Greece in the first place.

Well this band and its concept CD - both named for Nuada's silver arm - obviously have no fear of swimming upstream. All hail to this 10-tear-old Greek metal outfit for having the gonads to spurn their national myths and legends in favor of the lesser known stories.

Having said all that - the music itself is not the progressive / power / Blind Guardian styled metal you'd expect. This is heavy metal meets epic metal - or Iron Maiden meets Manowar. This 5-piece lineup does not include a keyboard player, yet there are 'tron sounds and other lush keys in several sections - like in "Edge of insanity", the ballad "The Arrival", and the CD's minute-long introduction, and there are pleasant oif short piano passages. But on most tracks they're present but held far back in the mix. No - this is mostly a dual-guitar / drums / bass / vocals outfit. The rhythm section may be the strongest component of the band - ripping along in an almost constant stream of semi-quavers delivered by drums and rhythm guitar - not much double-bass kick here. The singing is gritty and heartfelt although some aspects of the technique may not have universal appeal. In a few places - like "Balor Of The Evil Eye" - the vocals adopt a not-quite-death metal growl, which is brief and is used to advance the narrative.

"The Arrival" sounds like a Loreena McKennitt song put to metal. "Mourning Grief" is a standard power ballad awash in 'tron sounds and soft keys, elegantly underpinned by dual acoustic guitars, and sung in a breathy mid-range. Very nice. The rest of the album is heavy - well, mid-weight - metal boasting some nice solos, some nice arrangements, and some nice melodies. The whole record is - nice.

The Silver Arm is melodic, and has that quality that will permit multiple replays. It's a bit rough around the edges but with a bit of polish you can expect to see a lot more of these guys. And that's no myth.

Track Listing:
  1. Intro / Guardian Of The Ancient Deeds (7:55)
  2. Fate Of The King (3:11)
  3. Dissention Seeds (3:11)
  4. Warp spasm (3:40)
  5. Mourning Grief (5:46)
  6. The Silver Arm (6:37)
  7. Balor Of The Evil Eye (6:45)
  8. The Arrival (3:35)
  9. Armies Assemble (3:12)
  10. Splendor Divine (4:25)
  11. Painless Vengeance (3:03
  12. End Domain (5:02)
  13. Homeland (0:57)

Added: February 23rd 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Airged L'amh's Web Site
Hits: 2485
Language: english

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