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Review: Gothic Knights - Up From The Ashes
Gothic Knights
Up From The Ashes

Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2003
Duration: 57:20
Tracks: 11
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: April 4, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Up From The Ashes

Rated 3.57/5 (71.43%) (7 Votes)

I really, really wanted to love this CD. Gothic Knights have been toiling in the US underground for over ten years now, and few bands have had to put up with the kinds of personal and professional setbacks these New York guys have had to weather. I thought "Kingdom of the Knights" was OK, but I hated the vocals. So armed with a new vocalist and an LMP contract, Gothic Knights seemed poised for a Cage-style renaissance.

I wish "Up From The Ashes" were a great record, but it isn't. Right away we are assaulted by the awful, squealing vocal lines on the tepid "Power and the Glory" – yet another fucking song about 9/11. I know GK are from New York and all, but can we please have a US band that does NOT feel compelled to write a song about this? If it was a good song I would let that go even, but it pretty much stinks. Things improve with "Warrior Of Faith", which is a better song. It isn't great, but at least it doesn't suck. "Down in Flames" is about the same – decent but utterly unmemorable. The title track is next, and it is the most memorable - and the most derivative - song on the CD. This song is pure Helloween all the way, right down to the bouncy, happy chorus.

Things finally get going (at track 5, not a good sign) with the dark, Mercyful Fate riffs of "Vampyre". This is a really cool song, and "The Witching Hour" is in a very similar vein. "Sleepy Hollow" is another darker tune, but again excessive wailing on the vocals renders it annoying rather than killer. The next 2 songs are almost exact copies of tracks 2 and 3 – competent but lackluster efforts that don't really stand out. Now with "Dear Queen" we reach the absolute suck, as this is the most limp-wristed love ballad I have heard since the glory days of Warrant. Skip it, trust me. "The 13th Warrior" should be cool, but somehow it just lies there.

The packaging on this CD is really excellent, as you would expect from LMP. The cover is cool, the layout all fits together, and lyrics and band pics are included – neither of which are worth getting excited about.

So as before, Gothic Knights have all the pieces, but fail to really assemble anything compelling from them. I was pulling for these guys, as I have always thought they had real potential. Maybe they still do, or maybe I was wrong. Gothic Knights are not a bad band, and "Up From The Ashes" is far from a bad album, but if this is the best they can do after working at it for this long, I guess we can safely assume there is not a metal classic anywhere in their future. Even after all this time, they still have yet to establish a real sound of their own, and perhaps it is telling that whenever they manage to write a song that does not sound ripped off from another band, that song is likely to be rather dull. This is decent, workmanlike US metal from a dependable, workmanlike band. Unfortunately, it isn't any more than that.

Other related information on the site
Review: Kingdom Of The Knights (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Reflections From The Other Side (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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