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Yotangor - King of the universe 4/5

Reviewed: 7-10-09


Disc 1
1. Speech of the liar
2. King of the universe
3. Silent words
4. Try again
5. About love
6. Hangin' on
7. Another place
8. Torched blazed
9. Drums from the earth
10. Our land
11. All we are
12. Feeling down
13. Motherless child

Disc 2
1. The only way
2. What are you made for?
3. Why
4. Power
5. Song for the sons
6. Rain
7. Spirits' dance
8. The dome
9. Time's off
10. Turn off the light
11. Shadows
12. In this world
13. Fly away

I'm pleased to bring to your attention 'King of the universe' from the French band Yotangor. This massive 2-disc debut has landed the band a deal with the French label Brennus Music for its release, and trust me, this is going to appeal to metal fans all over the world. A symphonic metal opera, it's a story about a modern dictator who ignores the consequences of his actions, until the end.

While there are moments of this debut that recall the metal opera's from Aina, Soulspell, Xystus and Avantasia, this doesn't contain any power metal, and instead lies within the realms of symphonic metal. In addition, the majority of the vocals are female, by Yngrid Allières, who has a great yet fairly standard voice for the style, and she never reaches the highly operatic range. There are also some male vocals (clear), a lot of backing vocals, and a tremendous choir, which contains numerous guests. Even though there are 7 main band members, there are guest musicians too, providing everything from a piano to a French horn.

Musically, this is quite upbeat, bouncy and exciting, but it's not a very heavy CD. It also has a slightly commercial side and is somewhat poppy, but not to the extreme that it wouldn't appeal to lovers of the usual female fronted symphonic metal. Plus, because of the choir, it's powerful and even bombastic at times. All wrapped up, it's obvious that a lot of work has been put into this, and the songwriting is exceptional. There isn't one song that could be considered weak, which is remarkable considering there is a total of 26 songs. Seriously, every song is at least good, and most are excellent. It also flows well, is memorable, and really leaves a lasting impression.

One thing that has totally stood out to me in a surprising way is the high amount of guitar solos present, courtesy of lead guitarist Vincent Agar. This is actually what I like most about this debut, though the powerful choirs are amazing as well. It's no secret that most symphonic metal CDs lack guitar solos, and for those who have always been disappointed with that aspect of symphonic metal, this will be perfect for you. If I was to guess, I would say that about 75% of the songs are highlighted by terrific guitar solos, and I'll be the first to admit that I love it.

With a total running time of 1 hour & 40 minutes, you would think that this debut is too long. You'd be wrong however, as the 2 discs are thoroughly cohesive, the transition between them works, and as previously mentioned, the songwriting is exceptional and it's memorable. Considering none of the band members (or guests) are familiar to me, I'm amazed at the quality.

The bottom line is, if you're a fan of female fronted symphonic metal, this is an absolute must. For those looking for band comparisons though, I can easily say that this will be a winner for those into Within Temptation, Krypteria, Xandria, Delain, Visions of Atlantis, HB, Nightwish (recent), Katra, Dreamquest (Luca Turilli's), 4-Order, Therion and Lunatica. I realize these bands vary a bit from each other, but whether you're a fan of one or all of these bands, this is highly recommended.




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