Excalion - High time 4/5

Reviewed: 3-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Enter a life
2. From somewhere to anywhere
3. Sun stones
4. The flags in line
5. Bring on the storm
6. The shroud
7. Firewood
8. Lifetime
9. Quicksilver
10. A walk on a broken road
11. Foreversong


Over the years we have seen a new metal trend coming from out of Finland. Go back 10-15 years and the majority of metal bands that came from Finland were mainly gothic metal. Charon, The 69 Eyes, Nightwish, Entwine, HIM and Sentenced just to name a few. Of course there were a few melodic/power metal bands like Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and Celesty as well, and being a part of Scandinavia, there were also some black metal and doom metal bands.

Now in the last 5 years or so, the amount of gothic metal bands has reduced and we are seeing a lot more melodic/power metal bands making a name for themselves, such as Kiuas, Leverage, Machine Men, Morian and Sturm und Drang. Adding another melodic metal band to this list is Excalion.

Formed in 2000, the band released 2 demos before being signed by Sound Riot Records. Their debut CD was released 5 years after their formation, entitled ‘Primal exhale’. Leaving Sound Riot for Limb Music, Excalion’s 2nd CD was released in 2007 (‘Waterlines’) and received some very good reviews from around the globe. The band was now officially on the metal map.

Sounding similar to a lot of bands in the melodic power metal genre (don’t they all), Excalion, despite not being the most original band in the world, have that important ability to write great songs and be consistent at the same time. Along with their catchy hooks, riffs and solos, Excalion’s sound is quite contagious; lifting the mood of the listener, while also nodding your head or foot along with the great melody and beats. In short, Excalion delivers the kind of melodic power metal that fans want to hear.

Excalion’s latest effort, CD #3 is entitled ‘High time’ and was released in late January of this year. The CD was again produced, engineered and mixed by Arttu Sarvanne, while the mastering was done by none other than Uwe Lulis (Rebellion founder and guitarist, ex-Grave Digger guitarist). ‘High times’ is a continuation on from their previous CD, but this time more polished all round. Again there is massive dose of excellent songs, with speed and melody, while vocalist Jarmo Pääkkönen sings the best he’s ever done on an Excalion CD thus far. Perfect for melodic metal, or even melodic hard rock, Pääkkönen has great range and unbelievable delivery. Reaching the high notes with ease, his voice is quite emotional, powerful and exquisite.

While every track on the release are all very good, the selection of supreme standout tracks I’d like to mention in this review include the melodic scorcher “From somewhere to anywhere”, the CD opener “Enter a life”, the impressive “The flags in line”, the speedy “Bring on the storm”, the mid-paced and emotional “The shroud”, and the pounding “Quicksilver”.

I must confess that I was completely caught off guard by this release. Hearing virtually nothing of Excalion before writing this review, I was expecting just your average, 2nd-tier type melodic metal CD, which (being honest here) do litter this massive metal genre. Oh how wrong was I! Excalion have pulled out all the stops with this release, and just recently hearing their previous 2 CDs after this one, I can say that ‘High time’ is their best release to date, hands down.

Excalion’s music can appeal to so many melodic/power metal fans. Whether you are a fan of Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Kotipelto, Dreamtale, Heavenly, Dionysus, Silent Force, Circle II Circle, Firewind, Iron Mask and everything in between, then Excalion will also be right up there with your list of favourites.

I’ve always said that a metal band’s 3rd studio release is their most important as it either catapults the band into the higher realms of metal stardom, or sinks them like a ship on sharp rocks. With Excalion’s ‘High time’, they have certainly delivered a CD worthy of receiving such high acclaim as they appear on many heavy metal medias around the world. Excellent!



SEAN




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