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Armory - The dawn of enlightenment 5/5

Reviewed: 1-11-08


1. The tempest
2. Faith in steel
3. Riding the cosmic winds
4. Forever triumphant
5. Heart of dreams
6. Warrior forlorn
7. Forged in dragon flames
8. The eyes of time
9. Mystic star
10. The dawn of enlightenment
11. Flight of Icarus (bonus track)
12. Dr. Wily (bonus track)

Wow!! What a shocker!

From Massachusetts (U.S.), Armory unleashes their monstrous debut 'The dawn of enlightenment', and trust me folks, this is a massive power metal discovery! Imagine a blend of Cryonic Temple, Dragonforce, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Edguy, Ilium, Dungeon, Lost Horizon, Hammerfall, Running Wild, Bloodbound, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius. Yeah, I'm not kidding here, and I realize most of these bands are fairly different from the others, but I seriously hear every single one of them. It's like Armory is standing in the middle of power metal, reaching out to the different sides of the genre and pulling in pieces.

Now some of you may already be familiar with this band and even this CD, as it was actually released in 2004, but the band decided to professionally re-record the entire CD and they've spent the last 3 years doing so, perfecting each and every aspect. The 2004 version, which was self-released, is now considered a demo, and while this late-2007 version is also self-released, it's production is clear and powerful, so the band definitely made the right decision.

The band is made up of 6 members; vocalist Adam Kurland (who's voice is extremely similar to Tobias Sammet of Edguy/Avantasia), bassist Thomas Preziosi, lead/rhythm guitarists Chad Fisher and Joe Kurland (brother of Adam), drummer Tom Viera and keyboardist Peter Rutcho, who's not present on the 2004 version, but he's an important part of the new CD and even produced it. This is quite a collaboration of talent without a weak link, for sure.

The music overall, as you would guess from the large list of band comparisons, is melodic power metal with a traditional flare. What can I say, I love it! Right from the start (after the intro "The tempest"), track 2 "Faith in steel" and track 3 "Riding the cosmic winds" strike hard with ultra-fast guitar work (sometimes reminding me of Dragonforce and other times reminding me of Cryonic Temple), double-bass drumming, guitar/keyboard solos and screaming vocals. Track 4 "Forever triumphant" is the only ballad, and it's not unlike some of Edguy's great slow songs and even has a fantastic guitar solo. The galloping track 5 "Heart of dreams" (my favorite song!) and the powerful track 6 "Warrior forlorn" are a tremendous pair, as they've got soaring vocals and very memorable choruses.

We pass the halfway mark of the CD as we hit track 7 "Forged in dragon flames", a killer instrumental with changes in tempo and some extremely catchy riffs. The following track 8 "The eyes of time" is fast and melodic, reminding me a bit of the 'Somewhere in time' and 'Seventh son of a seventh son' days of Iron Maiden. Track 9 "Mystic star", on the other hand, has me thinking of Stratovarius and this leads us to the epic "The dawn of enlightenment", which showcases the brilliance of the band and is nearly 14 minutes long. A powerful finish indeed, but the CD also features 2 bonus tracks; a cover of Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus" and "Dr. Wily", which is the first stage in Dr. Wily's level of the Nintendo game Mega Man 2 - interesting. Neither of these bonus tracks are on the 2004 version, so there is more than just production (re-recording) differences between the 2 versions.

With so many amazing harmonies and melodies, and not even one song that comes close to dropping off of sensational, this is easily one of the best power metal CDs I've heard this decade. If you're into any part of the power metal genre and especially if you're a major power metal fan, you must get your hands on this as quick as possible. Buy or die!!




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