Ekzistencia - The storm master 3.5/5
1. Shadow voices
2. Mystery of the underground castles
3. Wizards' retribution
4. Freedom's call
5. The rainbow queen
7. The storm master
8. The land of dead warriors
9. The heir to the black throne
10. The last battle
Featuring awesome cover artwork is the debut, 'The storm master', from Ukrainean band Ekzistencia. I had been looking forward to this release for a few months, as Ekzistencia is a Russian-language band and their style is symphonic power metal. Obviously, to those who regularly read my writing, both of these aspects greatly suit my tastes. What's even better, is that Metalism Records and Stormspell Records teamed up to make sure this received proper distribution, and the CD is easily available. Plus, the tracks and the lyrics are listed in both Russian and English, a small yet very cool bonus, for sure.
Though Ekzistencia is symphonic power metal, I haven't found 'The storm master' to be a bombastic CD with lots of extremely powerful symphonic parts. Instead, this is more along the lines of a pleasant CD with many wonderful melodies. Comparisons stood out immediately, and those would be Skylark and Final Chapter, but there are certainly times when bands like Thy Majestie, Seyminhol, Rhapsody of Fire and Holy Knights come to mind. The opening of track 6 "Necropolis" (for a quick example), sounds like something off of Seyminhol's great 'Septentrion's walk'.
One thing I personally like is that there are both male and female vocals. The vocals from Roman Lukianchuk definitely dominate, but female vocalist Olga Audeeva brings in a nice variety. There are a few spots where they sing duet style (track 7 "The storm master" for example), but Olga has the slow and atmospheric track 8 "The land of dead warriors" all to herself. I really like this song, as it reminds me of some of the songs from Final Chapter's stellar 'The wizard queen', but I'm sure there are some of you that will prefer the songs where only Roman sings.
'The storm master' has the perfect variety of tempo, as there are plenty of songs with speed and catchy riffs (sure to please major power metal fans), but there are also some very enjoyable slow songs, sometimes with the keys upfront and other times with light atmospheric/background keys or even a piano. Regardless of the tempo or the instruments used, it's the many great melodies that make this CD what it is, and especially considering this is only the band's debut, they're quite promising. So we end up with another strong Russian-language CD, and a band to watch out for.
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