Can’t stand Symphonic, Power, or Operatic Metal? Do you hate it when a vocalist gets all wobbly-wailey? Do you think that keyboards have no place in “Troo Metulz”? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then walk on swiftly – this album ain’t for you, friend.
If, on the other hand, your strasse is populated by the likes of Symphony X, Kamelot, Helloween, Hammerfall or Firewind and you don’t mind a bit of Children of Bodom (before they turned themselves into a riff recycling plant, obvs) thrown in for effect, then St. Demonius (Despotz) by Tad Morose may well be worth an hour or so of your time.
Personally, I like a little less vibrato in my vocalists, and a bit more variety from my guitarists, but I think this album stands up well amongst the pantheon of Power Metal. Mainly, because whilst giving you (most of) the power/operatic staples, it also injects an edge of heaviness that sets it apart from its peers & ancestors. It loses points, however, due to the lack of cheesy guitar solos and fist-pump singalong choruses (there are singalongs to be found, but it’s all taking itself rather seriously). For me, these are the things that the different branches of Power Metal are all about, but I’m sure St. Demonius will find an audience to fill rooms with a sea of leather patch jackets and metal claws.
The album opens with ‘Bow to The Reapers Blade’, which is a straight up fusion of Bodom & Firewind (this is a Good Thing). ‘Your Own Demise’ follows next, with some nice bounce, crunchy riffs and some nice vocal hooks; I particularly like the lyric “succumb to my greatness” – I shall have to steal that. ‘Forlorn’ opens with a hook line that’s almost Rammstein and opens out with a Symphony X breakdown. Different. And good. Some excellent choral arrangements with layered vocals make this an epic track which will surely be a crowd favourite. Other standout tracks are ‘Where Ignorance Reigns’, the rifftastic ‘Black Fire’ and ‘The Shadows Play’, a track that has it all, including my vote as best track on the album and ‘Fear Subside’ and its twin guitar noodling!.
All in all, an enjoyable listen and a solid…