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Galneryus - Beyond the end of despair 4.5/5

Reviewed: 12-29-06


1. Arise
2. Shreik of the vengeance
3. Raid again
4. Shiver
5. Point of no return
6. In the cage
7. Heavy curse
8. Vanishing hope
9. Dawn of tragedy
10. My last farewell
11. Braving flag
12. Rebirth

Japanese power metal band Galneryus is back with their 3rd CD 'Beyond the end of despair'. I only have a handful of Japanese power metal bands, but Galneryus is certainly one of the better ones, if not the best. Unfortunately, all 3 of their CDs are very hard to find and extremely expensive. I've been fortunate to grab all of their CDs for somewhat reasonable prices, but it took a great deal of patience and searching.

The band's music style is power metal (mostly fast-paced!) and they have a strong neo-classical flare. In fact, guitarist Syu provides a ton of killer/ultra-fast riffs and terrific solos, sure to amaze all fans of flashy guitar work. Although they're not the main focus, keyboards (courtesy of Yuhki) are quite present. Sometimes slow and basic, sometimes fast and exciting (typical of a lot of power metal bands), but always well played. It's hard to really make some musical/band comparisons, as they seem to be right in the middle of the genre, but just know that Galneryus flat-out smokes.

As for the vocals, Yama-B has a voice that will be fine for most, but may be a bit unpleasant for others. He's mostly in the mid-range, but he frequently hits the high notes too. It's mainly his accent that might turn some away, but I think he's fine and even great a lot of the time. One thing's for sure, he fits the music well and the band as a whole is competitive with at least 80% of today's power metal bands.

Ranking the band's debut 'The flag of punishment', their 2nd CD 'Advance to the fall', and this 3rd CD 'Beyond the end of despair' is a bit difficult, as they all hover around the "excellent" level. I do feel that vocalist Yama-B has improved with each release however, and I also feel that 'Beyond the end of despair' is their best music (mainly guitar) performance to date. But I've found their 2nd CD 'Advance to the fall' to be extra memorable, as the songwriting is really fantastic on that CD. So their 2 latest CDs are slightly superior to the debut, but this is one of those bands that if you have one of their CDs, you really should have them all.

My favorite songs on 'Beyond the end of despair' are definitely "Point of no return" and "In the cage", which are both right in the middle of the CD. Both are speedy, have great choruses and spectacular guitar work, as well as fitting keyboards. The entire CD is of high quality though and Galneryus is a band I highly recommend to power metal fans. If you're one of these fans that's now interested in the band, I do feel they're worth forking out a little more cash for.




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