Amoriello and co return for a nice power metal album full of fantasy and adventures, that may not be as strange and oddly compelling as their first album I reviewed, but is still very enjoyable in its own right.
This album consists of one instrumental and 7 songs, sung by different vocalists. The instrumental, “Funhouse Opus 13”, is amazingly catchy and fast, just 3 minutes of great energy. The first track with vocals is “Villain”, an anthemic song about how it’s awesome to be the villain, with a heavy and powerful riff as an intro, and a great raspy vocal performance from Herbie Langhans (mostly known as a member of Firewind). It’s a really cool way to open an album.
We get more fantasy adventures with lots of action, fast riffs and love for edgy characters, with “Unruly King”. This one begins with a crowd screaming, and has a nice little keyboard melody, but its real highlight is its crazy fast and complex riff, another good showcase of Amoriello’s guitar skills. Jim Rutherford (from Power Theory), this song’s singer, mostly sounds like Herbie Langhans, so the most memorable part of his performance is the outro, where he laughs and yells “Off with their heads”.
However, Piet Sielck (from Blind Guardian and Iron Savior) gives one of the best vocal performances, with his eerie vocalizing and solemn, raspy singing on “Medieval Warrior”. That one isn’t as fast as the others, maybe almost doomy, but I like its darker edge. “Witching Hour Blues” almost feels like an occult rock/heavy/doom metal song, done in Amoriello’s style. Haunted continues in that slower, almost doom metal vein, with some pretty good keyboards, a great guitar solo and a catchy “Wake me, I am… haunted!” chorus.
We go back to the crazy fast stuff with Mach 5 and its infectiously enthusiastic vocals from Will Shaw, of the wonderfully named band Rust Belt Gothic. This one feels like a catchy, hard rocking 80s rock track done Amoriello-style.
But we end the album on the mostly instrumental symphonic metal ballad, with vocalizations from Melitza Torres (Liliumdust), the only female singer on the album (though not the only woman, as Sonia Nusselder from Cobra Spell plays a nice guitar solo on Funhouse Opus 13). A nice, short ballad as an ending, like Milan’s Dream on Dear Dark.
As I said, this album has fixed the flaws/weird ideas from its predecessor. This makes it admittedly less memorable, and that’s why this is a good album, rather than a great one. Using different singers is a nice idea, and while it’s a shame that most of them use the same raspy high-pitched power metal style, with only Piet Sielck and Will Shaw really standing out, it gives the album some variety, and a sense of great ambition. The songs, while not extraordinary by any means, are still well-made, full of catchiness and energy. If you want well-crafted power metal with cool characters and fantasy adventures, some heaviness and speed and a mix of fun subgenres, you must really give this one a try.
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