Fairyland - Score to a new beginning 4/5

Reviewed: 5-8-09





Tracklist:

1. Opening credits
2. Across the endless sea part II
3. Assault on the shore
4. Master of the waves
5. A soldier's letter
6. Godsent
7. At the gates of Morken
8. Rise of the giants
9. Score to a new beginning
10. End credits


For a while it seemed that French symphonic power metal band, Fairyland were left for dead, after the release of their 3nd CD ‘The fall of an empire’. Vocalist Max Leclercq, guitarists Anthony Parker and Thomas Cesario (who also played bass) and drummer Pierre-Emmanuel Desfray all left the band in 2007 due to internal problems. The only remaining member was founder and keyboardist, Philippe Giordana.

Giordana, not wanting to see his beloved creation fall to the wayside, began writing material for a new CD, knowing that he will eventually be able to fill the vacant positions; whether permanently or temporarily. Then in early 2009, Giordana enlisted the help of guest musicians to get Fairyland’s 3rd CD, ‘Score to a new beginning’, off the ground and released. Enlisting 2 musicians from local Nice metal bands (Fairyland also originated from Nice), Giordana acquired drummer Willdric Lievin from Hamka (which also features Fairyland’s original vocalist Elisa C. Martin) and guitarist Chris Menta from Swamp Coven. Lastly, bassist Fabio D'Amore and vocalist Marco Sandron were brought over from Italian progressive metal band, Pathosray.

Philippe Giordana also brought in other guest musicians and singers to give the new release some real depth and diversity. Some of the vocalists included Georg Neuhauser from Serenity, who sings on 5 tracks; and Klaaire from Syrayde, who sings on 3 of the tracks. Finally, there are a handful of guitarists who get to play a solo on a few selected tracks.

Sounds interesting? You better believe it. And suddenly, newfound anticipation and excitement has swirled around Fairyland, much like when they released their debut CD, ‘Of wars in osyrhia’ in 2003. The follow-up, ‘The fall of an empire’ was a solid release, but dip in quality (in my opinion) and I felt that a few Fairyland fans may have jumped off the bandwagon since. Now ‘Score to a new beginning’ has arrived, full of new hope and passion; directly from the musical mind of Philippe Giordana.

Focusing mainly on the keyboards, with now Giordana having free range on how the music should be; there is now more creativeness and melody. There is also an adequate balance between the keys/symphonic elements and the guitars. Giordana is an absolute master throughout the CD, giving the performance of a lifetime; and it is obvious that he is enjoying having full control of the songwriting and structure. Sounding much like they did on their debut, we see a grand return of the epic orchestral elements, like big movie scores, particularly on the tracks “Master of the waves” and “Rise of the giants”. There are many spectacular synth solos throughout, but not to be outdone by the wicked guitar solos from the numerous axemen that sweep through the CD.

Guest vocalist Marco Sandron is quite strong on ‘Score to a new beginning’. With a great voice full of emotion, melody and passion; he is backed up well by the big booming choirs and the cast of guest singers. Sounding similar to both Tim “Ripper” Owens and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Sandron has brilliant range and can hit the high notes without feeling any strain at all. Somewhat aggressive in style, Sandron gives a great performance throughout, but especially on the fierce track “Godsent”; and hopefully he could be used again in any future Fairyland endeavours.

Blowing me away with such a fantastic release, the magical journey begins with the brilliant “Across the endless sea part II”. After an almost tribal drumming build up, the rumbling double-bass drum kicks in, followed by orchestras and soaring synths. The big choirs during the chorus’ are so emotional and they play a huge part in the CD as a whole. The next track “Assault on the shore” is very catchy, with another big dose of symphonic power metal. The whole CD is fabulous from beginning to end, concluding with the 9-minute epic title track “Score to a new beginning”.

Symphonic power metal fans rejoice for Fairyland have returned to glory. ‘Score to a new beginning’ is by far Fairyland’s best release. Acclaim must be given to Philippe Giordana for being able to resurrect what really is his band. All the guest musicians and singers have done a great job in Giordana’s time of need, and this CD proves that you don’t need an all-star cast to produce a brilliant piece of work. That being said, fans of “metal opera” CDs like Avantasia and Soulspell will love what Fairyland have created with ‘Score to a new beginning’.



SEAN




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