Review: Twilight Force “At the Heart of Wintervale” [Nuclear Blast]

Review: Twilight Force “At the Heart of Wintervale” [Nuclear Blast]

- in Reviews

Swedish symphonic power metal group Twilight Force has returned in early winter with brand new record At the Heart of Wintervale, releasing it once again through Nuclear Blast Records. Loyal to their roots, this album disgorges the most epic glory in the finest traditions of the genre, spreading the passionate affection for adventurous way of life.

Founded twelve years ago, Twilight Force have quickly gained international recognition and were ranked among the new generation of symphonic power metal heroes. Their first LP Tales of Ancient Prophecies was released in 2014, two years after Heroes of Mighty Magic followed, then 3-year gap was filled by Dawn of the Dragonstar and after four years of relative silence, At the Heart of Wintervale was born. If we follow the logic, then the next album will be presented only in 2028. But who knows how productive they envision their future, these Swedish dragonlovers have already presented two new singles after this full-length album, and that is quite surprising, ‘cause Twilight Force isn’t too generous in music making.

Power metal isn’t just for everyone, and the main problem of this genre is that it is already integral and complete, there are way too less options to enrich this style. That’s the problem with traditional music; all the young bands won’t add anything original to it. So, we can forget about uniqueness and exquisite originality considering classic power metal bands like Twilight Force. But still symphonic power is alive, bright and full of intense fervor, there are plenty of ideas how to enhance power metal’s sound and to contribute to the development of your own. Twilight Force is unrealistically feverish and enthusiastic in their musical patterns, it seems like they see the world through the eyes of young maximalists and spotless idealists, every emotion and action is experienced within full range of all the possible emotions and feelings, but with such strong craving for perfection, therefore it’s not just naïve and gushing creativity. So we have everything here – catchy melodies, polished arrangements and skillful technicality under intricate veils of fantasy worlds. In combination all these ingredients don’t sound childish or oversweet, yeah, a little bit pretentious and dramatic, but this is sympho power, and every freaking band can afford to be a drama queen (or rather a princess) on a dragon’s back.

We can definitely trace classical music’s influence during these 45 minutes of symphonic magnificence; these operatic elements also add some theatricality and noble formality, distracting from constant glee and playfulness. The final composition “The last Crystal Bearer” perfectly combines classical music’s pomposity with an adventurous spirit of fairytales, full of inner fire of justice. Meanwhile “Dragonborn” is cut from a slightly different cloth – based on AOR principles and turned towards mainstream, even the epic choirs are transformed here into gospel chants. The medieval “A Familiar Memory” would perfectly fit into a collection of hits made by strolling minstrels of the Dark Ages. When power metal dominates, everything is bursting with a radiant energy – the melodies are impressively optimistic, and this celebratory atmosphere also provides with a magic touch, like you actually listen to the real soundtrack of an ancient fairytale. There is nothing depressive, clandestine or hypocrite in this record, every emotion is real and every musical part is genuine. Under this symphonic upholstery everything seems too evident and direct, but not shallow or trivial, and although this music is full of clichés and old-fashioned stunts, forever young spirit of these musicians compensates for all these flaws.

Twilight Force describes their music as adventure metal, and that’s an accurate term, this music is swarming with adventures! They also remained faithful to their art traditions, illustrating a majestic and beautiful dragon amidst the picturesque landscape with romantic hero that tries to kill him with all the required dignity. Yeah, the music is the same – pride, beauty, gloss, fantasy and heroic deeds, there are plenty of all those. Everything by the rules of power metal, no doubt.

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