French band Eternal Flight have put together quite an impressive power metal feast here on Under the Sign Of Will, another strong recent release on Lance King's Nightmare Records. Fueled by the thick & crunchy riffs of guitarist Christophe Offredi and the powerful vocals of Gerard Fois, Under the Sign Of Will doesn't try to be another in a long line of technical, chops-heavy progressive power metal albums that we hear all too often. Sure, Offredi does lay down plenty of intricate guitar passages and blazing solos, keyboard player Sebastien Vibert trades with the guitarist as well as dropping in lots of symphonic colors, and the rhythm team of bassist Nicolas Jeanpierre & drummer Arnaud Gorbaty are locked in tight throughout, but it seems more about the songs here than impressing with instrumental abilities. Plain and simple, this is just a really good symphonic metal album.
The CD contains ten songs, and each one is almost like its own mini-epic. Tunes such as "Dark Society", "Under the Sign of Will", "Deaf, Dumb, Blind", and the Dream Theater-ish "The Forgotten Side" all feature plenty of drama and passion, not to mention some well crafted arrangements. The guitar work of Offredi is especially key here-listen to his blistering lines on the speed metal piece "Next Ones On the List", his gentle acoustic tones on "Friends", or his brutally heavy riffs on the epic album closer "Ghost (With a Different Soul)". Lead singer Fois has a somewhat unique voice, certainly different from most prog/power metal belters. Despite a slight resemblance to Bruce Dickinson or Jeff Scott Soto at times, he has a very expressive vocal style that is somewhat of a gravelly yet melodic mid-range, opting not to go the route of a high pitched wailer that we see so often in the genre. As he does come to the music with a different approach, it might take you a few listens to full appreciate his style, but it's worth the extra effort on the listener's part.
Under the Sign Of Will is melodic, heavy, progressive, and ultimately just an enjoyable metal album. These five talented musicians deserve to be heard, so check this one out and spread the word.
1 Edge of Fire
2 Dark Society
3 Under the Sign of Will
4 The Forgotten Side
5 Deaf, Dumb, Blind
6 Next ones on the list
8 The Curse
9 Miracle Man
10 Ghost (with a different soul)