Do I have to introduce Victor Smolski? If you think yes, you better skip this and do some heavy metal history lessons first. Two other members who need no introduction are Andy B. Franck and David Readman, responsable for the vocals on this album. For some female vocals Victor invited Jeannette Marchewka (Lingua Mortis Orchestra).
Opener ‘Regicide’ sounds rather modern with groovy riffs and a nice interaction between the more rock sounding singing style of David and the typical powermetal voice of Andy. ‘Children Of the Sacred Path’ sounds much more like a real power metal song, but with a kind of 80’s NWOBHM sounding twist. After that some bombastic more orchestral style is introduced with ‘Guilty As Charged’. Due to the rather crunchy sounding guitar riffs, the sound keeps far away from the commercial Nightwish kind of style. Optima forma sometimes even neoclassical symphonic metal with a thrash bite is what Almanac serves here.
The most commercial song follows, the track has a nice riff, but the keys and the refrain do not really inspire me. ‘Losing My Mind’ starts with keyboard parts has a catchy chorus and some nice hooks. The title track is just a short spoken part with keys followed by a guitar solo. Next up is ‘Kingdom Of The Blind’ starting rather fast, slowing down a bit, to speed up again most of the times. The nice bass line and drums keep the song going.
More typical eighties heavy metal influences follow with the grooving track ‘Headstrong. Very interesting is the switch between the vocalists, at the moment this is my favorite. The title alone already says enough to know that there is a ballad up next. it is an o.k. ballad, but not more than that. The perhaps heaviest sounding song ends it all. Especially the guitar riffing and the tight drumming are debet to that. Also Victor shows that he still is one of the better guitar players in the scene.
All in all Almanac delivered an o.k. album that certainly will be liked by those who appreciate their debut Tsar. Personally I had hoped for something more, it all sounds a bit too safe and too ‘Where did I hear this before’ to me. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a good album.
01. Regicide 6:07
02. Children Of The Sacred Path 4:10
03. Guilty As Charged 5:03
04. Hail To The King 5:48
05. Losing My Mind 5:34
06. Kingslayer 1:33
07. Kingdom Of The Blind 6:23
08. Headstrong 6:11
09. Last Farewell 4:59
10. Red Flag 5:05
Playing Time: 50:00
Victor Smolski - guitars, keyboards
Andy B. Franck - vocals
David Readman - vocals
Jeannette Marchewka - vocals
Athanasios “Zacky” Tsoukas - drums
Tim Rashid - bass