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Dragon Guardian - Dragonvarius 3/5

Reviewed: 9-18-09


1. Jokyoku
2. Ankoku butoukai
3. Tabidachi no asa
4. Koumachi bacchus
5. Boukyaku no shima
6. Dragonvarius
7. Jashin e no chingon uta
8. Shirogane no kami

Dragon Guardian is a Japanese symphonic power metal band that has only been around since 2006, but they already have 3 CDs - 2007's 'Holy dragon', 2008's 'Ancient promise' and this year's 'Dragonvarius'. All of them are Japanese-language CDs, and beyond that, they're all female fronted. So basically, if anyone's going to like this band, I'm probably the best candidate.

I've currently been spinning all 3 CDs, and I'll tell you right away that to me, their debut is average, their 2nd CD is a bit better, and 'Dragonvarius' is definitely their best, which I'd call above average. One big reason for the band starting off merely average and only reaching the above average level is the extremely high-pitched female vocals. In fact, this chick reaches chipmunk range on the debut! Seriously, in an almost comical manner, she brings the debut's quality down, though her vocals have gotten better with each CD and as far as this CD is concerned, the chipmunk-styled vocals are thankfully absent.

The band's symphonic power metal style is similar to that of Versailles, Shiranui, Hizaki Grace Project and Masterpiece, but because they're female fronted, I'd bring in Area51, Fairy Mirror, Alhambra, Fullmoon, Inspire and especially Minstrelix to the list of comparisons. Bands like Skylark, Rhapsody of Fire and Thy Majestie also fit somewhere in the list, but I have a feeling that Dragon Guardian will only appeal to fans of Japanese bands. Remember, all 3 CDs from this band are sung in Japanese, and there's also a lot of talking (both female and male), which are probably characters telling a story. This is something I personally don't like about the band (possibly only because I can't understand what they're saying), but this is also something that's decreased a bit since the debut.

Though the vocals on this CD are simply okay, the symphonic elements are really strong, and one of the best aspects of this CD is the large amount of speed. This isn't boring, it's just a matter of how much you can envision yourself being into speedy symphonic power metal with high-pitched female vocals. I know a few of you will like this, but most of you will probably listen to some samples for fun and then will move onto something else. I personally like the band (especially this CD), but they're so unique that it's understandable if most of you decide to pass on getting into them.




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