Album Review: Score to a new beginning

Score to a new beginning

Thus end the wars of Osyrphia…

Denunmorkenta, the second age of Morken, has lasted for more than five hundred years. Under the reign of Ceno the Osyrphians have suffered a thousand deaths, enslaved in the Arena of Kalia, the Mines of Duna and the Forges of Eldergrave.

For the uninitiated power metal is a genre known for soaring vocals, keyboard orchestras, sing-along choruses and shameless love of high fantasy. Fairyland’s 2009 release Score to a new beginning delivers this style perfectly while also standing alone as an album that could not have been created by anyone else.

The good

Score to a new beginning is a well developed concept album made up of songs that can be enjoyed individually. It tells the story of a band of knights journeying into the land of Morken to prevent an invasion of their home. Also because there are a total of seven singers on this album there is no need to guess which lyric belongs to which character, they all have their own voices.

On the instrumental side keyboardist and song writer Phill Giordana provides a superb psuedo-orchestra without drowning out everyone else. The resulting contrast of traditionally aggressive guitars and drums against soaring synthesisers and multi-layered singing creates the quintessential power metal atmosphere; hope in the face of overwhelming odds.

Finally the presence of two instrumental tracks, some quieter songs and even an occasional acoustic instrument keeps the album from becoming the same thing over and over.

The not so good

Technically this album was made after the band had broken up. What is on this album is the keyboardist with sixteen session musicians. The advantage of this is that is that there is a far wider range of sounds than is usually present in this genre. The down side is that at times the musicians, especially the singers, while technically superb sound less invested than proper band members.

Also while there are some strong stand out songs on this album there are perhaps a couple too many consisting of Intro – heavy verse – happy chorus – verse – chorus – solo – chorus – chorus.

Highlights

  • Score to a new beginning. This lengthy and joyous piece of symphonic metal cheese is the song I bought the album for.
  • Soldiers letter. The compulsory power ballad that appears on every power metal album. This is the major exception to my comment about the singers sounding uninvested.
  • At the gates of Morken
  • A traditional, high energy power metal battle song. I highly recommend listening to this while jogging.

Conclusion

While this album likely has zero appeal to die hard fans of extreme metal it is an essential for all power metal fans and a good introduction for those curious about the genre.

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