Kaira - The wheel of fortune 2.5/5

Reviewed: 6-29-07


1. Hunting the witches
2. Monumental powers
3. Gone with the wind
4. The wheel of fortune
5. Sea devils
6. The farthest shore
7. Death breath
8. Wolfish howl
9. Poet's fate
10. Carmina burana

As you would guess, Kaira is both the name of the band and the name of the vocalist (with no last name given), who is featured on the cover art. The band is from Russia, and 'The wheel of fortune' is their 2nd CD, which follows their debut 'Will of rock' and is in the same style. Simply put, Kaira plays symphonic heavy metal. Yes, basic heavy metal surrounded by symphonic elements, which sound really polished/professional and a wide variety of instruments (violin, etc.) are used too. It's a Russian-language CD, although I've translated the CD's title and tracklist.

Vocally, Kaira has a strong voice, far from the soprano range that's become so popular the last few years. She doesn't have a rough voice either, and instead sits somewhere in the mid-range, comparable to Eva Rondinelli of Dakrua, Ida Haukland of Triosphere or Magali Luyten of Beautiful Sin. I also hear that Japanese chick (Saeko), so generally speaking, Kaira's vocals will satisfy most metal fans. Plus, there are some occasional male operatic vocals in the background, which seem to add something unique to the CD.

So we have a solid CD as far as the vocals and musical elements, but there are few problems in my mind. Firstly, there are too many slow-paced songs that, if not in the right mood, can come off as a little on the boring side. Track 3 "Gone with the wind" is the best example, as it offers nothing catchy. Really, there is very little speed at all on this CD, and to me, it's not as exciting as I would like. Sure, a few songs pick up the pace (track 2 "Monumental powers" and track 5 "Sea devils" are good examples), but Kaira's vocals could easily fit a faster tempo. Secondly, although the CD is consistent as far as quality, it's not very memorable and is perhaps lacking a bit in the melody department.

Still, despite the few complaints I have, know that this is a fairly solid listen and it's far from a bad CD. Sadly though, I don't think it's going to appeal to many metalheads out there. In addition to having Russian lyrics (which a lot of metal fans don't care for), it's too slow/mid-paced for power metal fans, too symphonic for the true/traditional/heavy metal warriors, and it's too different from the popular gothic/symphonic metal style that's hit us hard this decade. Fans of pure symphonic metal might dig 'The wheel of fortune', but compared to CDs from Within Temptation or Nightwish (for quick examples), this just doesn't measure up, especially regarding the songwriting. So be careful going in, but it might be worth a chance.




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