Logar's Diary - Book ll: Parlainth/The forgotten city 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-26-06





Tracklist:

1. Parlainth
2. The restless troll
3. Hirob's words
4. The spells
5. Casket of the last resident
6. Dark destiny of Parlainth
7. Seance - rebirth
8. Cursed soul
9. Torgak's speech
10. Bearer of light
11. Circle's last link
12. Parlainth's discovery
13. Under one sky


Germany's Logar's Diary had a raw, yet charming debut CD of melodic power metal. The production was very raw and unpolished and was marred further by a drum machine. Yet, they had just enough compelling songs and melodies to keep my interest. Still, it was clear the band needed development, particularly vocalist Hagen Hirschmann who was very uneven on the debut ('Book l: Iostros'). Here they return with the follow-up and the improvement is noticeable.

Once again we have a fantasy themed concept album with the requisite doses of swords and sorcery. Right off the bat, the production is much better. While not quite as big and polished sounding as some of the more prominent bands in the style, the improvement is significant and the production is no longer a detriment. My one complaint is all of the classical sections are clearly synthesized, and the tones aren't very realistic. This isn't a dealbreaker, but in 2006, this is becoming less and less acceptable to me. Hopefully on their 3rd CD they'll employ some more realistic sounds. Another notable improvement is vocalist Hagen Hirschmann. He is just worlds better on this CD, clearly singing with more confidence. I wouldn't call him an elite vocalist, but he has matured into a good singer and is not the glaring detriment he was on the first CD. My main criticism of his singing on this CD is that he sometimes puts some raspiness into his vocals, and it doesn't really work for me.

Musically, this CD reminds me a lot (in a good way) of the Czech band Salamandra. They have that same sort of charm and charisma to the music. So, while you've heard plenty of bands doing this type of music, the melodies are engaging and stick in your head. Unlike a lot of bands in this style, Logar's Diary does manage to insert a modicum of aggressiveness into the songs at times, with a bit of a heavier or faster edge. Having said that, things are always quite melodic with a prominent classical and folk tone. After a narrated opening track, "The restless troll" kicks things off and again the band Salamandra just leaps out to my ears. Like Salamandra, Logar's Diary manages to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. "Troll" is fast and has some great underlying melodies and the very folkish/classical feel that permeates the CD. The songs carry on in a similar vein with a good variability of tempo and heaviness. The musicianship is quite solid, though nothing mindblowing. I applaud the band for resisting the urge to put a long, dull epic that seems to be a staple of these fantasy concept albums.

The main issue with Logar's Diary is that they sound like about a million other bands. In the mid-90s if I had heard this CD it would have completely blown me away. But musical context is important and I have simply heard dozens of CDs in this style. In the world before Rhapsody, Logar's Diary would have been an elite power metal band. Today, they are just one in a crowd. Having said that, I enjoy this CD quite a bit, and can easily recommend it to fans of the style.



JOHN




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