Etikett: evermore

Evermore – Court of the Tyrant King

Album: Court of the Tyrant King
Artist: Evermore
Label: Independent
Released:  April 28th, 2021
Genre: Power metal
Tracks: 8

1. Hero’s Journey
2. Call of the Wild
3. Rising Tide
4. Court of the Tyrant King
5. Northern Cross
6. See No Evil
7. My Last Command
8. By Death Reborn

Sometimes a band appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and slaps you in the face with a debut album of such high quality you can’t help but be in awe. Some examples would include Sonata Arctica’s Ecliptica, Lost Horizon’s Awakening the World and Timeless Miracle’s Into the Enchanted Chamber.  And now we can add another debut to the pile, namely Evermore’s Court of the Tyrant King (doh).

This young band from Karlskrona, Sweden released an EP of three songs in the autumn of 2020, so technically this isn’t the debut, but that’s nitpicking. Those songs are featured on this album, as well as four new ones + an intro. All in all it makes for seven complete songs, and not one, I repeat, not ONE dud. Yeah, that’s right. All killer, no filler. It’s as if the trio gave all they had, poured every last drop of power metal into one chalice and offered it for you to drink. The album has a playing time of about 40 minutes and doesn’t overstay its welcome by one second.

So what do we have here? Seemingly ”basic” power metal, some uptempo, some mid-tempo and topped off with the curiously addictive vocals of Johan Haraldsson. The man was the last piece of the puzzle that began with two friends (Andreas Vikland and Johan Karlsson) jamming together before starting to write original songs. Haraldsson soon joined, and the rest is history. Yeah, I know it’s a cliche expression. So sue me. There is really no other way to put it.

I mentioned Haraldsson’s vocals. The closest comparisons would be Bernhard Weiß from Axxis, or maybe Jonny Lindqvist from Nocturnal Rites. Now these are only reference points, as Haraldsson has a voice that is completely his own, strong in mid-range as well as commanding and assertive in the higher registers. Actually it’s quite impressive how he manages to sound so secure even when he seems to be aiming for the stratosphere.

So how about the songs? All killer, no filler, he said, and he meant it. But I’d like to point out three favorites, if I may (yes, he may). The opening song ”Call of the Wild” is an uptempo affair about wanting to escape the dreary life of civilization, longing for the serenity that a life in the wild might offer. At least that’s how I interpreted it. Pay attention to the lyrics: They mean something.

Next tune up would be the title track, ”Court of the Tyrant King”. It doesn’t matter how long it may take; tyrants will fall eventually. I was reminded of Stephen King’s opus The Dark Tower when I perused the lyrics, curiously. Yeah, they’re based in fantasy, but there are still ties to, and ways to relate this to, the real world. These are the kind of lyrics I most enjoy in my power metal.

Lastly, we have the track ”My Last Command”, and among its brethren of strong songs, this may be the strongest of them all. I dare you to soak in that chorus and not shake your fist at the sky. It’s that damn good. As soon as the lonely guitar intro hits your ears you know the song’s going to be a cracker. The refrain hits you straight between the eyes, and you realize why I’ve lauded this band so much. They deserve every last ounce of praise.

So there you have it. A contender for album of the year, that goes without saying. I for one can’t wait to hear what these guys might cook up for us in the future. Mandatory listening for power metallers worldwide.  If you’ve found a better way to spend forty minutes, I’m all ears.

Control the Storm – Forevermore

Album: Forevermore
Artist: Control the Storm
Label: Independent
Released:  July 25th, 2019
Genre: Power metal
Tracks: 9

1. Darkest Fantasy
2. Strike to Defend
3. New Era
4. Follow Me
5. In the Night
6. Chaotic Mind
7. Hidden Wonder
8. Curse of the Voiceless
9. Forevermore

Now this was a nice surprise! Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways. As I was searching for another band (Evermore), I came across this sextet called Control the Storm from Bristol, England. They play melodic power metal with some symphonic touches, and man, do they know their stuff!

Forevermore consists of nine tracks, all offering a veritable smorgasbord where catchy choruses and exciting songwriting are concerned. Basically every song has that catchiness that is so essential to (European) power metal. Yet the band never repeats themselves, which deserves respect. And in Firouzeh Razavi they have a very talented vocalist who adds timbre and power to the tracks. I don’t know where they found her, but they’d do well to keep her! She has a strong, assertive voice, somewhat reminiscent of Sonia Pineault from Canadian power metallers Forgotten Tales, but at the same time she has a voice that is completely her own. I don’t know if that makes sense, but there you go.

And the songs! As previously stated, they’re all pretty basic melodic power metal tunes with the occasional splash of keyboard symphonics added to the brew for good measure. Some may call them derivative of band X or band Y, but that’s not a problem with me. Not if you pen songs this catchy and memorable. That’s what it’s all about, right? I know I wrote they’re exciting in the songwriting department, and I stand by that. Writing derivative songs is not a problem as long as they’re memorable.

Opener ”Darkest Fantasy” is one of the longer songs, clocking in at approximately seven minutes. It takes its time to build up to that pretty chorus, but when it hits – WHAM – you can’t help but smile. This is how melodic metal with female vocals is supposed to sound! Follow up track ”Strike to Defend”, features a chorus that is catchier than its predecessor, if that’s possible. The song is very brief, at least compared to the previous one, and leaves you longing for more. One of my favorite tracks off the album, if not the favorite.

”Follow Me” is basically a pop song coated in a metal finish, heavy on the choral background work. It’s all these small things that add nuance and shine to songs. Layered vocals, gang vocals in the choruses, key and tempo changes etc. The band has them in spades and knows how to use them.

”In the Night” is the mandatory ballad, and Control the Storm deliver the goods. Yeah, the song could be accused of being too sappy, but who cares? A ”hold your lighter high” tune. Razavi delivers a fine performance oozing with emotions.

”Chaotic Mind” has a really cool passage at about the 3:12 mark, followed by a sweet ass guitar solo. Generally the guitarists are somewhat restrained and tasteful when it comes to adding solos. This is appreciated, because when they do come, they rule. Another notch in the belt for these guys. They know how it’s done!

Generally the album features its best songs in the first half. Still, out of nine tracks, at least seven of them know how to put a smile on this dude’s face. That’s not a bad tally. And while the closing eponymous monster of a track doesn’t manage to convince me all the way, it’s still a fine and well-crafted piece of work. Starting off with a bagpipe, the guitars don’t kick in until around 2 minutes in. From there on, it’s smooth sailing over mid-tempo ocean, resting briefly in smoking guitar solo bay and, around the halfway part, a quick stop in piano interlude peninsula before the track comes to an end after about 13 mins. Solid work.

So, to sum it up: Forevermore is a respectable effort from a young band you should keep an eye on. I predict good things for these guys in the future. Until then, check this one out!

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