Gaia Epicus - Damnation 4/5

Reviewed: 3-27-09





Tracklist:

1. Damnation
2. Masters of the sea
3. Firestorm
4. The wizard's return
5. Your are a liar!
6. Cyborgs from hell
7. The savior (Will come)
8. A hero in all
9. Salvation is here


Gaia Epicus’ 4th CD demonstrates they’ve carved out a strong niche for themselves in the European power metal sound. It comes after a tumultuous path for the “band”, which is primarily singer/guitarist Thomas Chr. Hansen, as the only other real member of the band on this CD is Alexander Myrholt, and the rest is filled out with guest musicians, including Roland Grapow.

The band’s first CDs showed them shining in a very pure, catchy, European melodic metal sound, but with 'Victory', showed they could add a touch of aggression to the music as well, and this CD continues that with a sound that is comfortably between the pure high melody of the classical 'Keepers of the seven keys' sound, and the grittier touch of 'Walls of Jericho'. It’s characterized by very tight, catchy choruses and intricate music with plenty of flow over a driving tempo.

Based on that style, the music is almost all quite fast, and Thomas’ skill and aplomb as a guitarist constantly shine through. His vocals aren’t nearly as technically impressive, but they work well enough for the music, and, like we’ve seen on the earlier CDs, he includes an instrumental in “The wizard’s return”.

Strongest on the CD is the epic opening title track, clocking in at almost 9 minutes, as is the CD closer, “Salvation is here”, while songs like “Masters of the sea” show that they can be pretty devastating in short doses. “Cyborgs from hell” is catchy, but almost veers into power metal self-parody, as does the tautological chorus of “The savior”, while the lyrics to “You are a liar” are expectedly banal, but when he bursts into “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” you have a genuine cringe worthy moment.

Still, overall, excellent work from Mr. Hansen. Keeping in mind you are not getting the uber-polished vocalist, but other than that, this is really pure and catchy European power metal, you should be able to tell if you’ll enjoy this or not.



CRAIG




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