Power Quest - Blood alliance 4/5
1. Battle stations
2. Rising anew
6. Better days
7. Crunching the numbers
8. Only in my dreams
9. Blood alliance
10. City of lies
Regular readers of Metal CD Ratings probably know that I'm a huge fan of Power Quest and that the first full review published on this site was for their masterpiece 'Neverworld'. I've always loved the band's keyboard-driven and happy/uplifting power metal style. Sure, there are times when I feel like something heavier and more aggressive, and that's when I simply grab for Gamma Ray, Stormwarrior, Wizard, Paragon and so on. But if in the right mood (which is almost always the case), Power Quest is the perfect band to reach for, and I'll always consider 'Neverworld' to be one of my favorite CDs of all time, though I truly enjoy all of their CDs.
So I was extremely worried when I heard that all of the members had left the band, with exception of band leader (and keyboardist) Steve Williams. I immediately thought of vocalist Alessio Garavello, who has always fit the band absolutely perfectly and he's been one of my favorite vocalists for years - with his high-pitched, emotional and passionate voice. I simply couldn't imagine the band without him, but the band's first CD without him (and the other members), 'Blood alliance', is now here - so there's no more imagining, and instead actual listening.
For starters, it's been very pleasing to learn that the new members (musically) are more than worthy musicians, and the guitar work (both rhythm and lead) is as great as ever. There are some fantastic guitar solos and plenty of wonderful melodies, so Steve has done an outstanding job of bringing in the right pieces. Plus, Steve's keyboard work is brilliant as usual (featuring some terrific solos at just the right moment), and there are still those catchy 80s hard rock influenced songs (track 4 "Sacrifice" and track 6 "Better days" stick out the most). The only song I don't like is track 7 "Crunching the numbers" (which simply isn't at the level of the others), and overall, I really don't think the band's style is any different than on previous CDs. So I like the CD a lot, musically.
Obviously, the biggest thing that stands out is new vocalist Chity Somapala, who's known for being a part of several other bands, including Moonlight Agony, Civilization One, Red Circuit and others. His voice has always been in the lower range, so I was surprised to hear that his voice on this CD isn't quite as low as it usually is, and he sounds cleaner too. So he does a good job of attempting to fit the band's style, but I'm still left with mixed feelings every time I finish a spin of the CD. Alessio is certainly better for the band, so while the vocals on this CD are satisfying, they don't take the CD to the ultra-high level like Alessio did with previous CDs.
In the end, I have mostly positive feelings about this CD, as the music is of very high quality and in the same style as the band's previous CDs. While I can't help wishing Alessio was still the band's vocalist, the truth is that Chity is a decent replacement. I actually wonder what Alessio is up to though, as he's no longer with his other band Arthemis either. Regardless, the fact is that this is another excellent CD from one of the better power metal bands out there, especially regarding songwriting. So major fans of the band will miss Alessio, but should still find this to be an enjoyable CD.
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