(Sliptrick Records, 2015)
#FOR FANS OF: Power Symphonic Metal, Dragonland, Kaledon, Ancient Bards
Croatian symphonic power metal newcomers AngelSeed have struggled with numerous lineup changes over the years as the band’s complex arrangements and vast array of influences have kept the band in check throughout the years. Forging forward with these elements, the band is quite adept at their style here which manages to interject so many rather strong and dynamic elements that range from operatic vocals, soaring cinematic orchestrations that generate the kind of power and bombastic grandiosity present there to heavy, thumping riffing alongside the straightforward riffing which is quite a great backbone of attack which generates quite a lot to like here. The fact that it’s not as intense and driving as the vast majority of the genre’s practitioners for the full-on album as they prefer to stay in the mid-tempo chugging realm and offer complex arrangements rather than indulge in those overt speed-drenched numbers might make this a somewhat clashing tone for some but otherwise isn’t all that flawed since the consistency and tone makes up a lot of that. The three ballads might be overkill, but the tracks are still enjoyable enough. First effort ‘Bloodfield’ gets this going with moody atmospherics and pounding drumming that propels this along at a steady pace as the operatic elements coming to pass throughout the swirling keyboards leading into the finale for a decent-enough start. ‘Dancing with the Ghosts’ offers heavy, thumping rhythms and harmonious leads that bring about the controlled Gothic-flavored outbursts while chugging along to the strong rhythms as the mid-tempo patterns keep this one flowing nicely into the final half for another strong offering. Their first ballad ‘Man with Black Roses’ drops off into softer rhythms with a more relaxed tempo that still retains some solid atmospheric keyboards amid the simple strumming and romantic vibe that runs continuously throughout here for a rather nice attempt at the style without really doing much else. ‘Forever Blind’ returns to the forefront of heavy, chugging patterns and utterly frenzied patterns that blast along at more traditional speed-drenched rhythms and bombastic drumming throughout the finale that makes for a standout highlight track. Second ballad ‘Leaving All Behind’ offers even softer and more romantic patterns with simplistic elements and orchestral patterns that brings the keyboards to the forefront against the guitars as the gentle rhythms continue on for a much more engaging and up-tempo effort than the previous effort. ‘Fallen Angel’ and ‘Schizo-head’ tread into the cinematic realm with surging keyboards and simple mid-tempo riffing that relies more on dramatic arrangements as the pounding rhythms and harmonious cinematic melodies make for fun and rather engaging efforts. ‘Dreamer / Breaking Dawn’ mixes the ballad and mid-tempo crunch styles nicely with soft, gentle melodies and dramatic arrangements that contain romantic rhythms alongside the bombastic keyboards which is nice but does feel way too dragged out at it’s current length. ‘Soulcollector’ brings some electronic influences into the dramatic cinematic rhythms and pounding arrangements as the crushing riff-work and swirling keyboards combine into a fine operatic whole for a rather enjoyable offering. ‘The Healer’ offers the heaviest variation yet with the faster rhythms and thumping patterns offering plenty of cinematic-styled outbursts alongside the softer, gentle melodies and simple keyboards only with a lessened impact against the driving orchestral rhythms for a rather enjoyable offering. Finally, the final ballad and album-closer ‘Now’ uses the soft strumming and gentle melodies for a romantic guide through the solid rhythms and engaging vocal melodies that carries on into the final half for a solid if completely inappropriate lasting impression that drops this a notch. Otherwise, this here is a solid addition to the genre overall.