Under the Grey Banner
Style: Power Metal
Release date: 18 November, 2011
Playing time: 55:55

Since their 2002 album 'Holy War' I have been a fan and follower of this Gothenburg based power metal band. After the 'Astronomy' album (2006) it has been quiet around the band, but now they are back with their fifth album. They continue where they left us 5 years ago. There have been some changes and not the worst ones. They recruited top drummer Morten Lowe Sorensen and Anders Hammer takes care of the bass. Jesse Lindskog who played the drums on the previous album has changed to guitar and Jonas Hedigert takes only care of the vocals this time (on 'Holy War' he took care of the drums too!).

The album is a concept album about fantasy movies and is inspired by countless computer RPG soundtracks to infuse the musical aspect with a genuine fantasy feel. Several guests appear on this album. Musical actor Fred Johansson (Jesus Christ Superstar) is only one of them. Others that appear are guest singers Elize Ryd, Jake E and Andy Solveström (all Amaranthe). After a heroic orchestral intro and a short story to introduce us into the lyrical concept, the first track sets off. The music is a perfect combination of melody, keyboard parts, orchestral arrangements and high power metal vocals. Guest musician Fred is responsible for the opera sounding singing parts, it is nicely implemented and do not appear too often so it never gets boring or irritating. 

For the bigger part the tempo is rather high and the drums take the lead there. In several songs you indeed get a soundtrack kind of feeling. Nevertheless the band stays a heavy power metal band and never gives you a wimpy feeling. The track "The Trials of Mount Farnor" sets off in a kind of black metal tempo and makes me even think of Dimmu Borgir, only without the aggressive vocals. In the title track that feeling is even bigger, especially when the grunting vocals start. The nice melodies and catchy refrains see to that the album listens away comfortable after the first spin. This underestimated band can easily compete with the more popular orchestral power metal acts.

If you eat power metal for breakfast, you can't do without this one.


01. Ilmarion
02. Shadow the Mithril Mountains
03. The Tempest
04. A Thousand Towers White
05. Fire and Brimstone
06. The Black Mare
07. Lady of Goldenwood
08. Durnir's Forge
09. The Trials of Mount Farnor
10. Throne of Bones                                          11. Under the Grey Banner                                 12. Ivory Shores

Label: AFM Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: 12 November, 2011
Website: www.facebook.com/dragonlandband