|Review: Vhaldemar - Fight to the End|
|Fight to the End|
Label: Arise Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: September 2, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
for:Fight to the End
Rated 4/5 (80%) (12 Votes)
Along with bands such as Rising Faith and Ironware, Spanish metal warriors Vhäldemar became part of a small scene of artists who indirectly attempted to reface the power metal genre by employing vocalists who preferred a gruffer, rougher edge compared to the often despised falsetto used by practically every band on the continent. To varying degrees of success, this style was accepted without acknowledgement, as it still sounded just as pompous and people seemed to remember Grave Digger and White Skull doing it years ago. Nevertheless, a string of clones were born, and frankly, I believe Vhäldemar to be one of the most competent.
While any hater of the genre will absolutely loathe this for its blatant plagiarism, "Fight to the End" is a very enjoyable debut, with a never ending platter of incredibly catchy melodies and blazing guitar work. Those looking for a sophisticated, intelligent recitation of the genre had better look elsewhere - like you wouldn't have guessed from the artwork - as this is a fun, no-brainer fantasy that is best served like many beers: in packs, and after a long day. Fitting somewhere in between Grave Digger, Gamma Ray and Chinchilla, Vhäldemar are rather speedy, completely devoid of wit, and over flowered with irresistible choruses. Vocalist/guitarist Carlos Escudero has a tremendously rough tongue, but somehow manages to pull off the huge melodies, and adds to the plethora of gigantic backing choirs and warrior chants with ease. The use of neo-classical scale running is rather effective, and incidentally, ludicrously named instrumental "The Helmet of War" is possibly the strongest track, weaving a tapestry of undeniably impressive fret work.
"Lost World" and "Energy" win the cheese as far as melodies go, with the latter being the catchiest track the album has to offer, with a luscious key change that really kicks the song into gear. The production is thick, crystalline, and appropriate, and the performances are top notch, despite the roaring vocals. Fans outside the genre will, like I said earlier, absolutely abhor "Fight to the End", but power metallers will eat this up, and for all those bands trying desperately to be unique, they could do a lot worse than take a leaf out of the book of Vhäldemar.
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