Kaledon – Altor: The King’s Blacksmith (Scarlet Records)Sunday, 21st April 2013
Ah, glorious European power metal! Behold the incessant double bass, soaring melodies, syncopated guitar and keyboard lead breaks, and the overwhelming need to sing in unison to the uplifting choruses or hum along with the riffs. Italy’s Kaledon live in this realm- pumping out songs since 1998 and releasing a series of Legend of the Forgotten Reign studio albums (six in all) from 2002-2010.
So with welcome relief to start anew, Altor: the King’s Blacksmith is their seventh album, and outside of new drummer Massimiliano Santori, the formula has not strayed much for the sextet. You’ll get a couple of high energy openers in “Childhood” and “Between the Hammer and the Anvil,” the requisite reflective ballad with “Lilibeth,” and a special guest vocal appearance from Rhapsody (Of Fire)’s Fabio Lione on the closing symphonic oriented number “A Dark Prison.”
Remember how excited you were in the 1990’s when Edguy hit the scene with Theater of Salvation – or the first couple of Rhapsody albums? And then the floodgates opened with second and third generation copycats filled with musicians who only lived for the clichés and did add anything new to the table to differentiate themselves? Kaledon unfortunately place themselves firmly in the latter category – capable players and yet performing/writing expected fantasy/heroic tales with every expected virtuoso, harmonic, cheesy aspect to come down the pike.
I’m sure this goes over aplenty in the Far East and homeland Italy, but Kaledon for my money would be best served to inject a little more restraint on all the fast tempos and get down to writing something a little more meat and potatoes oriented.