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Fairyland: The Fall Of An Empire

Wait a minute, you mean I'm not listening to the latest Symphony X CD? Oh, that's right, this is the second release from France's Fairyland, The Fall Of An Empire. Honest mistake actually, as if you went into this wearing a blindfold, you would swear that this is the latest from the heavy hitters from New Jersey. Give Fairyland credit though, while this is not the most original sounding album you will ever hear, as they wear their influences on their sleeves (Symphony X, Rhapsody of Fire, Blind Guardian, Kamelot), this is still expertly played and thought out progressive power metal. Complete with strong vocals, epic arrangements, blistering guitar and keyboard solos, sweeping orchestrations, and fantasy lyrical content, if you are a lover of the genre this will be a must hear. The current line-up includes keyboard player Philippe Giordana, Anthony Parker on guitar, lead vocalist Max Leclerqc, drummer Piwee, and Thomas Cesario on bass. Symphonic is a good way to describe these guys, and thankfully they stay away from the non-stop speed metal of early Stratovarius and Rhapsody. Sure, some of these songs are speedy, but not relentlessly so. Take "The Walls Of Laemnil" for example, an epic tune complete with Leclerqc's Russell Allen-ish delivery,plenty of mind-blowing guitar and keyboard duels, and some great backing vocal choirs. It's heavy, symphonic, and extremely melodic. Production wise this thing sounds great, with plenty of bombast. Keyboard orchestrations reign supreme on "Anmorkenta", a fun progressive piece with clever arrangements and hot guitar/keyboard duels from Giordana and Parker, and the sweeping "The Story Remains" is just breathtaking.

Once you get past the fact that Fairyland sound so similar to a few of the stars of the progressive and power metal scene, it's easy to enjoy The Fall Of An Empire for what it is. This is very well done symphonic metal, and it should be noted just how strong the keyboard work of Philippe Giordana is throughout this CD, both from a orchestration standpoint and as a lead weapon. In fact, Giordana and Parker composed the entire album, so they can feel proud that they have accomplised quite a feat here that for many will be very enjoyable.

Track Listing
1. Endgame
2. The Fall Of An Empire
3. Lost In The Dark Lands
4. Slaves Forlorn
5. The Awakening
6. Eldanie Uellė
7. Clanner Of The Light
8. To The Havenrod
9. The Walls Of Laemnil
10. Anmorkenta
11. In Duna
12. The Story Remains
13. Look Into Lost Years

Added: December 30th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Fairyland Website
Hits: 3938
Language: english

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Fairyland: The Fall Of An Empire
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-30 07:27:14
My Score:

If you enjoy the power and the majesty of The Mighty Rhapsody as they continue to take you to far away places with their brand of "Film Score Metal" and wonder if you can get by the time between releases from the band then have we got news for you. If your hunger for this brand of Metal grows and grows we proudly direct you to the powers of Fairyland who on their Napalm Records release The Fall Of An Empire clearly offer fans something just as wondrous. Hailing from France this is a new contender to that specialized genre which was a pleasant surprise as these days no one band should be able to secure a title all to their own when there is so much talent out there. Their whole CD sweeps with epic sounds and colors that enable the overall majesty on its grooves to take you to other worlds of adventure. Similar to what Rhapsody is prone to do there are a lot of peaks and valleys musically across the album as it will slow down to make a point and then return to some blistering display or mammoth chorus to drive the listener to their feet with fist raised high ("The Walls Of Laemnil" is particularly good for doing this to you). As you listen you will also notice that singer Max Leclercq bears an uncanny vocal resemblance to the late, great Freddie Mercury and I felt this brought a sense of familiarity to the album. During the song "The Awakening" he even had some of Freddie's breathing styles that you would hear on some classic Queen music. I enjoyed being reminded of the singer and whether intentional or not, it is nice to find Metal players showing his influence. If you ever wanted to hear how Freddie might have sounded fronting a Metal band then look for that track to give yourself an idea. The band is comprised of Leclerqc (vocals), Anthony Parker (guitar), Piwee (drums), Philippe Giordana (keyboards) and Thomas Cesario (bass).

This is a band that is easily accessible to Power Metal fanatics as the musical techniques displayed are top-notch and technical. There are dizzying guitar riffs and drum patterns along with a rich sense of storytelling and detail across the album that made this an interesting listen for me. I sense that great adventures await us beyond the Gates of Fairyland. Anyone care to join in? You'd be foolish not to.

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