Gothic Knights - Reflections from the other side 4.5/5
1. Death from above
2. Lord of the underworld
3. Welcome to my horror
4. Scythe denied
5. 1689, Trial of the witch
6. Shadows of time
7. Devil's playground
8. Zero hour
9. Writing on the wall
10. Ave satani
11. The omen
Gothic Knight’s 4th CD is the band’s masterpiece, refining their pure metal sound to its absolute apex, but also introduces additional elements for a devastating package.
The opening track, “Death from above” feels different from their classic sound, as the opening riff ends with the guitarist letting notes a half-step apart ring together in spiteful dissonance, and when “Warlock” Sanchez’s vocals begin, they have a nasty edge to them like Rob Halford, Warrel Dane, or James Rivera at their most vengeful. The opening track is nevertheless breathtaking, in many respects a rendition of “Painkiller” for this decade, with a guitar solo that is all over the map in terms of inventive techniques. While it took me a while to warm to the sound of this, it quickly became a favorite. “Scythe denied” also has Sanchez’s vocals with a bit of a harsher edge to them.
Somehow, as the CD progresses, there is a subtle evolution to a sound which is purer and cleaner, but no less puissant, and by the time you listen to “Shadows of time”, my favorite song on the CD, you momentarily wonder if your player has switched to a different (but still awesome) CD, as Sanchez’s voice is so breathtakingly clear in its power, before you get swept in by the glory of the song and stop thinking of such things. Throughout the CD, Sanchez really proves himself one of the most stunning vocalists in the current heavy metal scene, with a combined power and control that is unbelievable.
Founding member John Tzantis is amazing on guitars, along with “Dave the 3rd”(?), combining a maestrous display of classic metal technique and speed, but also branching out to all sorts of entertaining variations that leaves nothing wanting. Mario Cosentino on bass and Kevin DeDario on drums provide an exemplary rhythm section from the more aggressive tracks to the grander, epic environments, while Jared Sloan’s keyboards are appropriately restrained for a classic metal sound.
The production is absolutely impeccable, with every ounce of power, clarity, richness, and separation you could want in a metal CD sound. The lyrics cover an engaging assortment of metal topics like death (“Scythe denied”), time travel (“Shadows of time”), witch burning (“1689, Trial of the witch”), and everyone’s favorite antichrist, Damien (“The omen”.)
Overall, what’s magnificent is how the CD will appeal in the fullest to fans of the classic power metal sound, but at the same time adds enough varied nuance and combines it with tremendous performances and sound so that it feels fully fresh.
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