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Dragonland: The Power of the Nightstar

It's been 11 (!) years since melodic Power Metal legends Dragonland released the preposterously excellent Under the Grey Banner, and the band's fans have been patiently (not really) waiting for anything from the Swedish titans for eons. Guitarist and main man Olof Morck has been busy with his other band, the wildly successful Amaranthe, and it seemed like chances of getting anything out the Dragonland camp was slim to none. Well friends, wait no longer for The Power of the Nightstar is here, and it's bringing its melodious, high octane, sci-fi ass thundering right into your lap. And it shall not be denied.

Dragonland are a first rate band in their genre. The melodies are catchy and sublime. The individual performances of each member are stellar, with soaring and complex guitar solos and vocals alike. The rhythm section storms and thunders and the keyboard and synth soundscapes are all fantastic. Of course, none of this means anything if the songwriting isn't up to snuff. Like it's predecessor, "The Power of the Nightstar" is up to snuff. The band opts for a Sci-fi setting on this release as opposed to the more tried and true medieval high fantasy setting of yore. The Sci-Fi synthwave 80's camp esthetic is ever so chic these days, as it were.

After a brief intro track, we are led directly into the fray with "A Light in the Dark". A great intro track that sets the stage wonderfully, it's anthemic, glossy, and pristine melodies are immediately memorable and fist pumping. Single and barn burner "Flight from Destruction" is textbook power metal with double kick drums-a-plenty, and out of this world guitar solos. It took 11 years, but holy hell are these guys here to play.

Things slow down a bit with the more subdued and mid-tempo (but excellent) "Through Galaxies Endless", then ramp right back up with "The Scattering of Darkness". The latter of the two featuring a headbang-inducing intro and female siren call vocals as the cherry on top. Mini-epic "A Threat from Beyond the Shadows" is a progressive influenced romp that changes things up and brings in some of the more theatrical elements of the band. You get your spoken-word bits and bobs and what feels like the entire cast of a broadway musical righteously weaving their voices to and fro as the band just shreds through the various musical backdrops.

After a brief instrumental interlude, "Celestial Squadron" is a regal, fist pumper of a track. It's how I imagine a pre-battle montage of a Sci-fi flick sounding if it were metal as hell. "Resurrecting an Ancient Technology" is quite the mouthful, and a fine track as well with it's rhythmic riffing and kick ass drumming. It's a bit less memorable than what surrounds it, and it seems more like a vessel for the album's story as opposed to a stand alone track. The title track and lead single is next, and it's straight up epic action movie adrenaline porn at it's finest. You can easily see yourself piloting a one man spacecraft against insurmountable odds as the track explodes from the speakers.

"Final Hour" is a blistering, high stakes battle made into a fiery and intense power metal track. It's loaded to the gills with theatricality as well, with more spoken-word moments to flesh out the tale of the Nighstar. Album closer and 9+ minute closer "Journey's End" is a fitting and cinematic end. It's somber and triumphant all at once, and while it's long it doesn't overstay its welcome. The orchestrations and little touches and guitar flourishes and chugs are just so well thought out.

The Power of the Nightstar is a modern power metal masterclass. In a sea of pretenders and cookie cutter acts, Dragonland are still one of the best and most vital bands in the scene, even after an 11 year break between albums. Would I recommend this to people who don't like Power Metal? Probably not, but those people are soulless anyways. For fans of the genre though, this is heaven.

1. The Awakening
2. A Light in the Dark
3. Flight from Destruction
4. Through Galaxies Endless
5. The Scattering of Darkness
6. A Threat from Beyond the Shadows
7. Aphelion
8. Celestial Squadron
9. Resurrecting an Ancient Technology
10. The Power of the Nightstar
11. Final Hour
12. Journey's End
13. Oblivion (M83 cover)

Added: February 18th 2023
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 656
Language: english

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Dragonland: The Power of the Nightstar
Posted by Jose Antonio Marmol, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-02-18 14:17:01
My Score:

The Power of the Night Star is the sixth studio album by Swedish Symphonic and Power Metal band Dragonland, a band well-known within the community for their fantasy and astronomy-themed concept albums. To this day, the band is comprised of Jonas Heidgert on vocals, Olof Mörck on lead guitars and occasional violin, Elias Holmlid on keyboards, Jesse Lindskog on guitars, Anders Hammer on bass, and Johan Nuñez on drums. The album has been released more than a decade after their last output, Part III of The Dragonland Chronicles, and even though is not as strong as the latter, it still delivers very high quality music, great songwriting, unique and beautiful arrangements, great musicianship, and a very interesting story to follow to.

There’s no Star Wars without the proper epic instrumental intro, and that’s exactly what “The Awakening” delivers just before the album enters full power metal mode and the sung narrative of the musical storyboard begins… and let’s be honest… I am in my mid 40’s so this type of science-fiction themes, about alien invasions, escape routes to another planet to preserve the species, the actual galactic conflict, etc., is not that appealing to me, though my kids would love it for sure… but the purpose of this lines is to review the album as a whole and not it’s lyrical content… so I’ll go ahead and just try to do that.

Sixty plus minutes of melodic power metal, no that symphonic to my ears, in fact I would state that I find more progressive metal moments than symphonic ones, with tons of double-bass drumming, scorching guitar soloing and heavy riffing, spectacular keyboard leads and arrangements, and amazing vocals… every song has its own appeal, its own hook, and also narrates an specific episode of the story… this is a well-thought and well-put together album, its one that will definitely appeal to lovers of the genre. There’s only one song that I feel a little off topic and that is the one that closes the album, “Oblivion”, not a bad one at all, but lyrically and musically I just feel it falls apart from a story that seems to have ended with the previous song “Journey’s End”, the nine plus minute epic that pinpoints the moment when the final destination has been reached and a new suitable home for the species to flourish has been found.

I have come to enjoy this album a lot, finding something on every song to like and feel comfortable with, but I do think there are a couple of highlights that separate themselves from the rest, and those are “Through Galaxies Endless”, “The Scattering of Darkness”, “Celestial Squadron”, and “The Final Hour”, all of them truly memorable pieces of music that just keep on roaming inside my brain, and I find myself singing or humming to the catchy choruses and melodies, sometimes even in my sleep… no kidding…

Apart from the fact that the production and sound might feel “too perfect” at times (the eternal search for the perfect sound), this is a solid record, and I blindly recommend it if you like this type of music. Enjoy, cheers!

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