Wednesday, October 9, 2019

review: Excalion

Scarlet Records
27 September 2019
Sound: Excalion is 1980s-loving contemporary melodic heavy/power metal with some classic/hard rock sensibilities.
Production: The album sounds like contemporary shiny European melodic metal, with a bit of that pop orientation, with a pretty good amount of studio magic and, unfortunately, a drum production that seems like drum programming/sampled drum sounds. It’s very doubtful that these are real, live drums due to the plastic, stale sound that is not dynamic, just oriented towards a simple beat.
Instrumentation: The keyboards are part of the sound, but they do not overwhelm the sound, although there are moments for the keyboards to shine. The riffs are very ear-friendly and this makes the songs fun and easy to absorb, and it all allows for the singing to be the focal point of the music.
Vocals: The singing is the centerpiece of the band. It is a high voice, like prototypical classic heavy metal, although there is a certain 1980s big rock feel, too, and it is not a big exaggeration to mention that there is a little bit of Journey’s style in the music and the singing. In fact, the singing is much closer to Journey than to the screaming banshee of Judas Priest.
Songs: This Finnish band is all about writing hits for their fans. Mission accomplished!
Lyrics: The album comes across as a band made up of adults. Therefore, love, friendship, relationships and feelings are the main topics. If there are any profanities, they are not obvious to hear. This reviewer has not noticed them. Potential audience: This album is for any person into adult contemporary metal full of melodies and good singing. Anyone who likes rock singing and catchy songs may find it interesting. It’s also metal that kids can listen to because it is memorable and the band is intelligent and keeps the music open to all audiences, regardless of politics, religion and things like that.
Similar bands: Bands that play melodic and catchy metal music without silly gimmicks would share similarities to this one. Your friends might call this music “parent metal,” “soccer mom metal,” and “dad metal.” Then again, your friends are a bunch of bums, anyway.
Assessment: It is important that the audience first hear the singing on the album because this is power metal and the voice is fundamental to the music, but the crooner voice can make or break an album. There is a bit of a Journey or Symphony X tone to the voice. It is a pleasant type of voice. There is no air raid siren or banshee super screaming and yelling. The band’s objective is singing that lots of people can enjoy, and they achieve that on the album. If in the United States radio stations played this type of music, a lot more people would like it, due to the commercial potential. The album shows a lot of good work within the field of contemporary melodic metal and heavy rock in general. Perhaps only metal people who are looking for music to be a mirror of their own personal demons of anger and hatred would object to this album, given that the band delivers feel-good music. Now, if only someone could convince them to bring back the drummer!

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