Archontes - Book one: The child of two worlds 2/5

Reviewed: 12-30-04


1. Prologue
2. Worlds of ashes
3. Walk on the edge
4. All this time (the balancer's song)
5. My noteless blues
6. Goodbye new world
7. Return to inner self
8. The escapist Hymn (author's notes)
9. Epilogue (my yellow brick road)

Out of Russia comes the 3rd CD 'Book one: The child of two worlds' from Archontes. There aren't a lot of power metal bands from Russia, I can only think of the very good Arida Vortex, the unique Catharsis, the intense Shadow Host, and the fast-paced Conquest off hand. None of these bands are even close to being cohesive, all are at different parts of the power metal genre. Archontes definitely doesn't fit with any of these other Russian bands either, but they do fit somewhere between the Italian and Brazilian styles maybe. It was way back in 1999 when their previous CD 'The world where shadows come to life' was released (which isn't really competitive with the other power metal bands from that time), so they've had time to re-work their sound. They're a little more symphonic (as opposed to the standard power metal sound that's with their previous CDs), the keyboards stand out even more than before, and they've actually written a few excellent songs. With this 3rd CD, Archontes has improved to some degree.

I really have a problem with the vocals though, and I'll tell you right away, I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to vocals in power metal. Anywhere from the Brainstorm, Manticora and Stormwarrior heavier vocals, to the very high-pitched Pandaemonium, Odyssea and Shadows of Steel Italian style, and even to the softer vocals of bands like Allegro and Wonderland. The Archontes vocalist (Andrey Archont) is pretty high-pitched, and he's decent the majority of the time, but sometimes he seems out of control, and his Russian accent is too much for me in spots.

After the short intro "Prologue", the band gets started with a fast-paced track 2 "Worlds of ashes" that's probably one of the better songs on the CD. I love the melodic metal styled track 3 "Walk on the edge". Very catchy tune! We get some mid-paced songs with slower moments in the middle of the CD (nothing too exciting), until track 7 "Return to inner self" comes along, and we hear the best (musically) song on the CD. Track 8 "The escapist Hymn (author's notes)" is decent, but track 9 "Epilogue (my yellow brick road)" is way too slow for a final song. Actually, thinking back, a good portion of the CD may be too light, with too much of a song variety for my tastes.

So we have their best CD to date, but their previous CDs are below average, so to improve to "average" certainly isn't a milestone. With a different vocalist, maybe the band could be great. But I've found that when I start to get into the better musical parts of this CD, the vocals pop in and ruin it for me. For those who can handle the vocals, this might be a good CD. With all the high quality vocalists in the genre though, this will only get occasional listens.




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