Stratovarius meets Symphony X by way of Yngwie Malmsteen on the self-titled debut CD from Sweden's Time Requiem. At the band's core are Majestic keyboard player Richard Andersson (who plays synths like Malmsteen plays guitar) and singer Apollo Papathanasio (who could fill the role of Russell Allen in a Symphony X tribute band). Also in the group are bassist Dick Lovgren (ex-In Flames, Arch Enemy), drummer Peter Wildoer and guitarist Magnus Nordh.
No offense to the other three guys, but Andersson and Papathanasio dominate this record, which lands somewhere between symphonic power metal and neoclassical progressive metal. With all but three of the nine songs here clocking in at longer than six minutes, much of Time Requiem can be described as epic. The title track opener almost sounds too much like Symphony X for its own good, but "Watching the Tower of Skies" and "Visions of New Dawn" spotlight Andersson's deft touch and lend the album additional depth. The album's two heaviest tracks, incidentally, are saved for instrumentals. "Brutal Mentor" lives up to its title and boasts some breathtakingly fast scale work from Andersson, while "Interplay of Matters" is a two-minute piece that shows off the band's tightness. Appropriately enough, the finale, "Above and Beyond," ranks as the album's strongest piece.
Worth noting is that Time Requiem was produced by Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold – making this the third recent metal release from Sweden's Regain Records (Karmakanic and Opus Atlantica being the other two, both reviewed elsewhere on this site) to include some sort of connection to that decidedly non-metal band. Curiosity may initially attract you to this album, but its solid songwriting and production will keep you coming back.