Landguard - Eden of a parallel dimension 3/5

Reviewed: 8-6-04





Tracklist:

1. Symphony of another dimension - part I
2. Helgvar - An ancestral story
3. The manuscript
4. Iceland sword
5. Crystallized shadows
6. Edge of the abyss
7. Helgvar suite op. 1
8. Eternal freedom
9. Ancestral labyrinth
10. Jester's awakening
11. Symphony of another dimension - part II
12. Return to reality


Here we have another Italian symphonic power metal debut very similar to Skylark, Dark Horizon and Dragonhammer. Although Landguard doesn't show us anything new, they do offer high quality songs with a good production, which isn't always the case with the Italians. These guys play really cool songs with lots of keyboards and a lot of changes in tempo, very similar to the way Skylark songs are written.

Track 1 "Symphony of another dimension - part I" is a short intro, then we jump right into an aggressive track 2 "Helgvar - An ancestral story" with some strong guitars and there is some great keyboard-guitar interplay throughout. You can here the typical Italian voice of vocalist Michele Sorrentino, as he sounds kind-of in between Fabio Dozzo from Skylark and Luigi Maione from Dark Horizon. Track 3 "The manuscript" is another intro with some narration, then we speed up with some awesome power metal similar to the sound of Dragonhammer's CD 'Time for expiation' (which is excellent by the way). The strong production really shows on this song. Track 5 "Crystallized shadows" is a nice piano instrumental and the comparison to Skylark's many tempo changes are heard. Track 6 "Edge of the abyss" starts out reminding me of slower Skylark, then picks up with some amazing keyboards. I didn't know keyboards could be this catchy! Lots of cool guitar and keyboard play on this song. Track 7 "Helgvar suite op. 1" is a softer instrumental, but with a voice that reminds me of the intro off of the Holy Knights 'Gates through the past' CD. We get some quick riffs in the fast track 8 "Eternal freedom", that eventually slows down with some really interesting keyboard sounds (almost in a progressive manner). The song later picks up and has me thinking of some of the crunchier Dark Horizon songs. Track 9 "Ancestral labyrinth" is a fine instrumental with some really pleasant musical melodies. Track 10 "Jester's awakening" is a fantastic slower number with some dual vocals and some solid keyboard and guitar solos throughout. Musically, one of the more exciting songs on the CD. Track 11 "Symphony of another dimension - part II" is a short, but very epic instrumental that leads us to the final track "Return to reality" that's full of some powerful musical parts.

Musically, this CD is very enjoyable, and it's the music that seems to be the strong point of this band. There isn't a "hit", or highly memorable song that stands out, but rather a consistently well played CD. This definitely has one of the better productions in the Italian symphonic power metal style, and plenty of catchy guitars and interesting keyboard work. These guys are very competitve with Dragonhammer and Skylark, as this is an above average release from Underground Symphony. Very well done for the style, and recommended to fans of the mentioned bands for sure.



CLINT




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