Alhambra - Fadista 3.5/5
1. Morning calm
2. The infinite ocean
5. The rain of farewell cerise
6. A wish for angel's sky
8. Estacion abrasadora
9. Die Walkure
10. Life to love
Last month I reviewed 'Daemonicus', the 2nd CD from the female fronted Japanese power metal band Area51, and this month it's Alhambra, a very similar band that has a debut 'A far cry to you' and this 2nd CD 'Fadista', a late-2007 release. Since I like Area51 a lot (especially their 2nd CD), I was eager to hear Alhambra, and I ended up grabbing both of their CDs just a few weeks after picking up both of Area51's CDs.
Well, I can tell you right away that if you have and enjoy Area51, checking out Alhambra is an absolute must. Just like Area51, Alhambra contains a nearly-extreme high-pitched vocalist, Junko Sera, and her voice may even be higher than Area51's Kate Cain. Now remember, I'm a big fan of high-pitched/falsetto vocalists, regardless of whether they're male or female, so I enjoy the vocal side of both Area51 and Alhambra, but these vocalists may be too much for some power metal fans to handle. On an important note, both of Alhambra's CDs are Japanese-language, and I've translated the tracklist for 'Fadista'.
Although Alhambra is also similar to Area51 musically, as they both have a power metal base with neo-classical flourishes and symphonic/keyboard highlights, the one (and only) difference is that Alhambra has a progressive side to them. Often times the music will go in a direction I'm not expecting, and there is definitely parts of both of their CDs that are typical of progressive metal. This works however, and listening to Alhambra is more interesting than listening to Area51.
One thing that's great about both of Alhambra's CDs is they are consistent as far as quality, which I'd put at a very strong level. Nothing totally blows me away, yet nothing disappoints me either, and the band hasn't offered up even one bad/weak song to date. Really, both of their CDs are equally strong, but that also means that I don't have any favorite songs. Special mention must be made of Toshihiro Kajihara though, an accomplished guitarist who provides some fairly complex rhythms, catchy guitar solos, and an overall fantastic performance. There are some instrumental parts/songs, and I definitely consider them to be successful.
So it's simple, if you're into Japanese power metal, it's a good idea to check out Alhambra, but I'm confident that only fans of Area51 will really enjoy them, as the bands are so close in many ways. In my mind, they're both great bands and I'm glad I was fortunate enough to grab both CDs from each.
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