Galloglass - Heavenseeker 4/5

Reviewed: 12-2-05





Tracklist:

1. Burden of grief
2. After forever
3. Perished in flames
4. Dawn of a new age
5. Banished from eternity
6. At the shadowcross
7. To kneel is to suffer
8. Heavenseeker
9. Signs
10. Beyond the mirror
11. Kings who die


Galloglass made quite a splash with their debut 'Legends from now and nevermore'. I remember when I first heard it, I was very impressed with the level of polish and class. I enjoyed the pretty consistently peppy tempos and thought the songwriting was much more refined and superior to most bands' debut CDs. The problem with releasing a great debut is it's almost impossible to live up to it in your follow-up. Do you repeat the formula and risk being accused of repeating the first CD, or do you do something different and risk alienating fans of the first CD?

Galloglass repeated the formula to excellent results. The biggest difference that I hear between this CD and their first CD is the slightest increase of aggression. The riffs seem to have a bit more bite. The track "Beyond the mirror" in particular features a main riff that would sound right at home on a thrash CD. There are even some sparse growls added to the vocals at times. Somehow Galloglass manages to add this bit of ferocity without sacrificing their melody. Once again we have a very peppy, very melodic power metal CD. In tracks like "After forever" and "Banished from eternity" the band, once more, uses a violin to add a subtle folk touch to proceedings.

As noted, the tempo stays pretty fast throughout, but this is by no means an all double-bass drumming affair (although there is still plenty of it). Guitarists Norbert Geisler and Kai Muhlenbruch provide plenty of tasteful harmony guitar leads and every solo sounds carefully crafted rather than full of mindless shredding. Vocalist Carsten Frank is once again great on this CD, staying mostly in the mid-range, but having the ability to sing higher and lower when needed. His vocals remind me a lot of Tim Benz of Headstone Epitaph. It's not a voice that blows you away, but he has an innate charisma. Best of all are the excellent songs. "At the shadowcross" features a terrific chorus with background harmony guitars that lend a very majestic feeling.

Overall, this CD is every bit the worthy follow-up we all hoped for. And yet, it is merely a follow-up. If you were a fan of the first CD, I am sure you will enjoy this one, but if you were hoping for something better, you may be disappointed. 'Heavenseeker' won't have the impact the debut did, since you've already heard the band before. It's lamentable, but it's the way it is when you make such a great first impression. If you are reading this site and haven't heard Galloglass, then buy some now. You won't be disappointed.



JOHN




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