|Review: Avalon - Vision Eden|
Label: Omega Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: January 26, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Well this was a pleasant surprise. I read a good review of this CD several years ago, so when I found it used I snapped it up. As it turns out that was a very good idea. "Vision Eden" was the second proper album by this band, who are apparently defunct. They released another CD called "Eurasia" in 2000, but their website has not been updated in over 3 years, so it's probably safe to say they are no more, and that's a shame.
If you took Gamma Ray and added some Dream Theater/Pagan's Mind progressive flair you would be pretty close to the sound of Avalon. They play rocky, hooky Power Metal with tons of great guitarwork and catchy vocal melodies. Vocalist Chitral Somapala is a real find, as he has a clear, strong voice that reminds me a lot of a young Klaus Meine, only better. He's a very confident singer with great tone and phrasing – he's a definite highlight of the album. All the performances are very good, even the keys are well-played and not overused. Avalon are prog enough to have showy musicianship and that open, catchy prog sound to their melodies, but not prog enough to wank, so the songwriting is very focused. "Lord Of Dignity", "Far Away", and especially "Age Of Salvation" stand out as really excellent songs, but there are no real bad ones. Even the ballad "The Road To Eden" isn't dull and doesn't drag on.
The CD booklet is very nice, with an excellent cover and all lyrics included. The lyrics aren't groundbreaking, but they are not bad at all. The layout and design is very professional, except for the disc, which is that piss-yellow mirrorball thing LMP used to put on every CD. Yuck.
I was highly impressed with this CD. It's pretty derivative, but Avalon combine their influences well enough to create an enjoyable album nevertheless. If proggy power metal like Pagan's Mind or Onward is your thing then this disc is well worth tracking down. I'm going to have to look into this band's other works, and if they are really no more, then that is a terrible shame, as this is a really good album.
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