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Civilization One - Revolution rising 3.5/5

Reviewed: 7-27-07


1. Celestial sunrise
2. Life of agony
3. Legends of the past (Carry on)
4. The lost souls
5. 16
6. Sacred
7. Welcome to paradise
8. Wishing well
9. Dream on
10. Time will tell

Civilization One are something of a power metal supergroup, with several experienced members on board most notably guitarist Aldo Lonobile of Secret Sphere and the notorious band-hopping vocalist Chity Somapala. With the backgrounds of the various members, it should come as no surprise that this new band are secure inhabitants of the ultra-melodic side of the power metal arena. A few surprises are thrown into the tried and tested formula along the way, but while they aren't an exact match for anyone like Freedom Call or Power Quest, they certainly borrow plenty from various bands of this sort, and any listener to have heard even a few CDs from this side of the spectrum is in for very few surprises.

Not to say that the debut CD, 'Revolution rising' is in any way a bad one merely one that treads the beaten path and offers nothing innovative. Thankfully, the experience and talent of the multinational ensemble mostly prevents the songs from becoming bogged down in mediocrity, with most of them having at least something to offer the listener. While, as is often the case in this branch of the genre, the guitar sometimes takes a back seat to vocals and keyboards in the verses; Lonobile is a force to be reckoned with as a lead player and when he chooses to flaunt his talents the result is always something worthy of your time.

Similarly, Somapala's superb vocals, varying from extremely smooth and melodic to rough-and-ready on the more raucous numbers like "Welcome to paradise" are a very welcome addition to the mix. It may sound ridiculously obvious to say it, but with a less colourful pair of musicians at the forefront the CD would suffer greatly, with a few songs certain to slide into more mundane territory.

Keyboards, while ever-present, thankfully never threaten to swamp the other instruments out. Rather, they are treated more as an instrument in their own right rather than used as a fogging tool to blur out inadequate music, complimenting the riffs rather than obscuring them.

There are a couple of odd moments here and there that don't really work and in reality serve only to prove that while this style of metal may be preposterously overcrowded these days, there really is only so much that can be done with it. A particularly bewildering passage in the song "16" that features an unusual, speedy one-chord repetition, followed by the fastest riff on the CD overlaid with Somapala singing at half speed before breaking into a jarring passage of unconvincing harsh vocals (all within a minute!) is as confusing as it sounds and really goes to show that generic is often better than strange for the sake of strange.

While some songs, mainly the slower efforts like "Sacred" and the insipid ballad "Dream on" are downright dull and uninteresting, while others such as "Life of agony" and the Stratovarius-inspired closer "Time will tell" are actually very good. While overall the CD is a bit hit-and-miss, thankfully the hits are more frequent, and the professionalism and skill of the band make for a mostly very solid offering. If 'Revolution rising' had been released 5 years ago it would probably be looked on in more favourable terms. In 2007 it serves as an enjoyable CD, but in the end it's a completely unessential collection of melodic power metal.




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