Fairytale – Army of Ghosts (Pure Steel Records)Monday, 27th February 2023
German heavy metal is a steady staple in this scribe’s listening devices – the purity, drive, passion undeniable when firing on all cylinders. Hailing from the Ruhr area, Fairytale is a five-piece outfit founded by guitarist Colin Büttner in 2000, releasing two full-lengths and an EP before arriving on Pure Steel Records for this third record Army of Ghosts. These musicians live for the glorious 1980’s traditional style – soaring, high-pitched vocal action, swinging riffs with slight progressive action, bass/drum activities that provide a foundational bottom line and occasionally add that energetic, standout transitional movement, plus solid hooks/choruses that align with European finesse and marching strains.
The main riffing from Colin and fellow guitarist Stefan Absorber pulls from a bevy of twin axe experts. Mercyful Fate mannerisms come to mind for “1428”, while bassist Hendrik Klahold forms a triad syncopation ‘call to arms’ approach that befits Iron Maiden meets Iron Savior during the follow-up “Possessed”, the progressive movements and soothing vocal harmonies a nice dynamic twist during the midway point of this six-minute plus arrangement. The flexibility within the steady main chops and diverse fills/double kick action from drummer Fabius Farkas keeps songs like “Horace P” or “Voices From Inside” rebel rousing favorites, as vocalist Carsten Hille can weave his upper register melodies into the heavens, similar to the best work of Joacim Cans from Hammerfall. When the band choose to go in a bit more reflective direction, the results are equally engaging – closer “Alive” containing some sinister, gritty verses plus marching strains with fancy cymbal/snare juggling and fluid bass play that galvanizing metal legions ready for battle. And for those that want a cover that contains multiple themes related to the lyrical content, there’s plenty to absorb/process with this specific set of images.
Fairytale displays ultimate synchronicity to the heavy metal platform through their material – keeping the sonic qualities very lean, in your face, without an overly processed/digitized to the grid outlook. Probably not one of those stunner efforts for 2023, but nonetheless their faithful adherence to classic, fist-pumping songwriting should help Army of Ghosts pay dividends for those seeking more German-oriented anthems executed flawlessly.