Empires Of Eden: Channelling The Infinite

Up front it has to be said I am not the right person to be reviewing Channelling The Infinite from Empires Of Eden with power metal and the vocal style each and every track employs leaving more urges of irritation than tingles of pleasure. This should be remembered as you read ahead and gauge the comments by your own levels of joy found in the genre. Despite this immediate personal emotion before the album had a chance to prove itself there were times the release simply blew great big satisfying holes in the preconceived feelings though admittedly there were times it concreted them totally. For anyone taking deep pleasure from the genre and eighties classic metal Channelling The Infinite is simply an essential release, from the impressive music and the array of some of the finest power metal vocalists within it is an immense feast of quality and skill.

The album is the third from Empires Of Eden and follows previous ideas in its structure. Created and orchestrated by Australian shredding maestro Stu Marshall (ex-Dungeon), the album once more features songs where he has carefully crafted their music and heart specifically to suit the chosen vocalist involved. He has tailored the songs to compliment and best fit the individual ranges and styles and no matter the personal appreciation of the sounds it cannot be denied how perfectly and precisely he has achieved his aim.

Musically the album invariably hits the mark each and every time bringing a majestic blend of shredding expertise and melodic metal in diverse and appetising shapes. Whether thrashing the senses with an intense energy or scorching them with finely conjured melodic sparks the skill and passion is unmissable. The concept behind the album ensures it is never predictable and intrigues from one track to the next, the variety of sounds and vocalists making the album a continually evolving beast. That diversity also makes it a little inconsistent too though again it depends on individual tastes more than the imaginative sounds.

The album opens with immediately epic sounding Cry Out featuring Rob Rock (Impellitteri, Driver). The track is a driving slice of feisty melodic metal, its energy as persuasive to the ear as the excellent guitar play surging throughout. It is a mighty start which led to hopes of more of the same throughout. Musically it does pretty much deliver but vocally it shuffles the senses and emotions between impressed to real uncertainty as with second song Hammer Down. The track flexes its muscles and stares down the ear with menace and indisputable power but the ear scraping vocals of Udo Dirkschneider just left the heart cold. Yes he is a god to many but they just did not do justice to the music and excellent solo beside him.

The album has some true peaks but also less lofty but still enjoyable tracks as in the likes of This Time  Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper, Lionsheart), Cyborg with Carlos Zema (Outworld, Vougan), and World on Fire featuring Louie Gorgievksi of Crimsonfire. None of the tracks on the album can be weak and most will be blistering treasures for real fans of the genre each an expanse of multi flavoured creativity and imagination.

The major highlights of the album come in a triple dose of simply astounding ingenuity. Firstly the best and title track on the album simply sets the heart aflame. It begins with an emotive coarse symphonic beckoning come disturbance for the ear. Its intensity is ominous enveloping the senses in a thick passion before twisting into a rampaging scourge of melodic invention and irresistible spiteful riffage. With equally immense vocals from Sean Peck of Cage the track leaves one breathless and riled up.

It is instantly followed by Lions For Lambs, a warm and pulsating song which lights up the corners darkened by its predecessor. Marshall is stunning in his play, his guitar licking at the senses like flames whilst vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio of Edge of Forever brings every emotion he can muster to soak each and every word. The third of the striking songs is Born A King. From a truly dramatic opening it soon turns into an insatiable and rampant flood of eager riffs and thoughtful melodic insertions. With arguably the best vocal contribution on the album from Danny Cecati (Eyefear, Pegazus), the track is a sensational pleasure.

Though from personal preference Channelling The Infinite will not find a regular home here there are certain songs which will find a regular reprise. With vocals offerings also from Mike Dimeo (Masterplan, Riot), Vo Simpson (Darker Half), and Ronny Munroe (TSO, Metal Church) the album though is something power metal enthusiasts will truly lap up. With the new album Stu Marshall and Empires Of Eden continue from previous releases just he has made it bigger, grander, and even more impressive.

www.empiresofeden.com

RingMaster 01/06/2012

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Lord Volture – Never Cry Wolf

Lord Volture and their second album Never Cry Wolf through no fault of their own started off with a big disadvantage for this review for the fact that classic rock/power metal vocals as employed by the band’s frontman and founder David Marcelis are like aural salt on this reviewer’s musical slug. The high pitched yells and squeals like fingernails down a chalk board on the ear especially with the even more distinct style of Marcelis with his often off key and fluctuating levels. So bear that in mind as the album which musically is very satisfying is examined here.

As mentioned the band started when Marcelis with strong influences from traditional heavy metal bands from the 70’s and 80’s started writing songs of his own after a decade of fronting bands like Methusalem and Conquestador. The subsequent recordings of these songs eventually became the Lord Volture debut album Beast Of Thunder. The album featured numerous guest guitarists including Jeff Waters from Annihilator and grabbed some firm acclaim. A live line-up was then pulled together using some of the best metal talent from the Netherlands to make Lord Volture a force on stage as well as in the studio. This group of musicians has forged a strong understanding and determination to deliver the best sound possible, the combined ability of Marcelis, his brother Paul (Up The Irons, Mercyful Fake) on guitar, fellow guitarist Leon Hermans (Burn, Up The Irons), bassist Simon Geurts (Mercyful Fake), and Frank Wintermans (Substance) on drums, creating in Never Cry Wolf a release that takes hold and rampages in the ear with rock essences to please and devour.

Containing eleven tracks to enflame the hearts of any power metal and classic rock fan the album uses and exploits all the welcome if obvious elements from metal/thrash bands of the likes of Judas Priest, Iced Earth through to Jag Panzer and Cage. This makes Never Cry Wolf not particularly hot on invention or innovation but ablaze with pulse racing and eager familiarity brought forth with a powerful intent and skill that cannot be denied or criticised. The ear may not be caught by surprise or stunned with unexpected shocks but it is fed some striking and deeply pleasing sounds and well written songs. 

The first big notable thing straight from the opening and title track is the impressive and pulsating bass and mesmeric rhythms of Geurts. Each and every song is veined with his deep and hypnotic creative riffs to always grab attention and often snatch the glory from everyone else. In songs like ‘Celestrial Bodies Fall’, the intense and rampaging thrash of ‘Korgon’s Descent’, and the hard rock powered ‘Into The Lair Of A Lion’ he especially grabs the focus and it is no surprise these are the album’s best songs. This is in no way a one man band though with the guitars of Paul Marcelis and Hermans creating memorable riffs and melodic solos to warm all traditional metal hearts. Creative and unafraid to take tracks into harder metal areas alongside their classic rock influences the duo brings intrigue and infectious play to all the songs. With the instinctive and driving power of Winterman’s drums, musically the band gives everything a rock fan desires in a song and more.

The final track on the album ‘The Wolf At Your Door’ though not the best song is possibly the most creative. Starting with a predatory bassline and slow stalking riffs from guitars circling the ear sizing up their prey, the song quickly shifts into a chase as racing riffs gallop into and through the senses, once ‘caught’ the track explodes into a predictably layered song but those opening couple of minutes are glorious.

Musically Never Cry Wolf is impressive and deeply satisfying but let down by the vocal delivery and style, again note that this is a personal issue and I am sure far more will welcome Marcelis’ style with warm and open arms. The album is great and Lord Volture a band that deserves attention and for the music alone all who ignore or pass over Never Cry Wolf should be ashamed.

RingMaster 24/11/2011

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