Fact 1: I love thought-through concept albums. No matter which genre of music it comes from.
Fact 2: I love the early Helloween albums (1985 to circa 1991)… but not the endless stream of clones that emerged in their slipstream since then.
And why is that relevant? Well, because the Norwegian brothers Marius (vocals/guitars/bass) and Peter Danielsen (synth/backing vox), both active in the band Darkest Sins, have pulled together a power metal opera, enlisting a multitude of power metal musicians. Like…40 of them or something. Apparently, it’s taken somewhere in the vicinity of ten years to get all of this together, but I’m sure it has been worth the wait for all you power metal fanatics out there.
I’m in no way a power metal buff, but I automatically reckon when people like Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Mark Boals (Dokken, ex-Malmsteen, Edu Falaschi (Almah, ex-Angra, Chris Caffery (Savatage/TSO), Ross the Boss (DeathDealer, ex-Manowar), Robb Weir (Tygers of Pan Tang), Mike LePond (Symphony X) and Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) are on the long list of musicians involved, there has to be something good in this – even if you’re not really a fan of all of these bands.
There’s nothing new in bands sounding a lot like Helloween. We’ve had shitloads of bands who did that since around 1987. This is also the case for this ambitious project; this is in truth power metal for better or for worse. In that sense it holds no originality what so ever. The folk elements added (Haunting My Dreams) aren’t exactly new either (although it sounds good). The Manowar element is certainly also there – just listen to the narrated part of the title track of the album and Lost in a Dream – the Kings of Metal are lurking in the background.
For all it’s worth, this for me is like a reminder of some of the music that was a big part of my initial years as a metal fan. It’s nostalgia, by all accounts, and something that isn’t as close to me as it was, but it is also a bunch of musicians who live and breathe this genre, and the Danielsen brothers have orchestrated this professionally.
For the fan of epic power metal, this has to be a must. For the rest of us, there’s room for approving nods in recognition of someone who have accomplished pulling together a host of fine musicians and created a great concept.
02. The Battle of Bargor-Zun
03. The Prophecy of the Warrior King
04. Chamber of Wisdom
05. Mirror of Truth
06. Haunting My Dreams
07. The Legend of Valley Doom
08. Lost In A Dream of No Return
09. Raise Your Shields
10. Free as the Wind
11. The Fallen Heroes of Our Land
Playing time: 64 minutes
Release date: 13th of November, 2015
Label: Crime Records