STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 173626-27575 LABEL: Raven Faith FORMAT: Digital Only Album
Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
Knowing nothing about this album or band and with a spoken word first track setting the scene for the story to follow, I was expecting a prog rock epic. Not so - instead the guitars crunched in and the drums and bass pounded. A metal concept album is a welcome change from a lot of stuff I've heard recently (I Am The Pendragon actually describe themselves as "the concept driven story of an end times parable with a sci-fi/western setting", which is a pretty good description once you've heard them). The vocal lines had hints of Helloween about them, albeit in a lower register, making the overall sound far more "new wave of British heavy metal," with hints of Judas Priest/Diamond Head/early Def Leppard and a nod to Black Sabbath (the rhythm change in "Woe Is Me" for example and the solo in the same song) with a more up to date production (it always seems odd to talk of cleanly recorded distortion but this has it). It's not as time locked as the above makes it sound though - the slap bass intro to "Closer" is excellent style fusion and a lot of it draws favourable comparisons with Jack White and the acoustic riff on "The Boy Who Never Knew" is gentler while sitting nicely in context stylistically. The storyline of the album didn't come through that clearly to me, but when "Falling Stars" appeared, declaring allegiance to God (in one of the better songs on the album - musically as well as lyrically) it started to make sense. It also heralded a shift in style as the album moved to a close - this made for a much stronger finish than more of the same would have done. Whilst not perfect, it's an album with lots of interesting ideas and some very accomplished execution. It will be very interesting to see where this band go next, as they were stabilising their line up during the recording of this album.
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