Lanfear - Another golden rage 4.5/5
1. Another golden rage
2. The unrestrained
6. Shades of black
7. The voice within
8. In silence
11. Outliving the ages
The 4th CD from these German metallers (whose name comes from one of the Forsaken in Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of time' series) is a superbly executed example of clean, searing, and pure metal. Rather than having more of the bouncy/happy stylings of cleaner European metal acts like Kiske-era Helloween, Stratovarius, and Insania, this CD is more in the poignant, piercing clean metal vein, a mixture of classic Queensryche and Lethal added to the harder, more intense edge of 'No exit'-era Fates Warning.
Vocalist Tobias Althammer is a similar blending, carrying the emotive melodies well, with the register tuned slightly higher than the classic Tateish vocals, a la John Arch (Fates Warning), Tony Harnell (TNT), and Tony Moore (Riot). The music remains focused and straightforward enough in its style and writing that, while you might catch a whiff of progressive edge, the ultimate feeling is more of extremely polished metal, which to me is a perfect blend. The performances of the musicians are precise and intoxicating, the production is clear and sharp, and, most importantly, the songwriting is just excellent, each song pulls you in with a rapturous melody. It is an encouraging movement to hear a band not trying to stretch out what was once a classic's CD worth of 10 songs and 45 minutes into 14 songs and 60 minutes, and as such, there is no wasted time on this release, but it is lean formidability reminiscent of the classic CD structure we love so much. On top of that all, the lyrics on the CD offer the best of both worlds, an engaging fantasy concept story that brings a cohesive narrative to those of us who enjoy such things, but one which is far more original than a lot of the typical fantasy trappings.
Overall, one of the best CDs of the last year or 2, without question. Perhaps too good, in fact, because, albeit coincidentally, I finally picked up 'Twilight of crossroads' to read, the next Robert Jordan book in the series I had not yet read, and tread once again on its endless path.
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