Drakkar – Cold Winter’s Night (My Kingdom Music)

Friday, 27th April 2018
Rating: 7.5/10

Active for 23 years, Italian epic power metal band Drakkar should be commended for their resolve to the cause. Only guitarist Dario Beretta remains from their inception in 1995, although vocalist Davide Dell’Orto has been in the group for 18 years as well – as their latest effort Cold Winter’s Night introduces three new members to the fold. Prolonged periods of relative inactivity due to membership changes and work/life priorities make each output from the sextet that much more special – as this EP comes three years after their fifth full-length Run with the Wolf and could be a great primer for those unaware of Drakkar to date.

You can expect a cultural undercurrent for riffing and melodies while also understanding that the tempos can be more traditional-oriented instead of off to the races snare/double kick exercises. The title track that opens the proceedings for instance contains a nifty organ solo from keyboardist Emanuele Laghi more in line with Uriah Heep or Deep Purple, while the chord sequences and nature of the arrangement has a bit of latter day Sentenced atmosphere. Mead-hall vocals plus a call to arms signature riff make “Black Sails” more of a Teutonic power anthem that Running Wild and Blind Guardian followers cherish, the savage fills and energy from drummer Daniele Ferru elevating the energy level of this cut. Many times epic power metal can drag as musicians want to overemphasize the set ups and transitions to make things bolder on a grand scale – fortunately Drakkar take the opposite tact, keeping these four songs in that four to almost five-minute sweet spot. Concluding this quick package with a live rendition of “Invincible” from the previous album, you’d be hard pressed not to bang thy head or raise thy fist to the classic, timeless approach of the songwriting.

Cold Winter’s Night is an EP of working man’s epic power metal – nothing earth shattering, but gets the job done without disrupting the apple cart, and for most this will serve them well as we await the next full-length.

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