|Review: Nuclear Blast Allstars - Into the Light|
|Into the Light|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: December 10, 2007
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Into the Light
Rated 2.75/5 (55%) (4 Votes)
Well, here's a surprise. I dismissed this from the start, not expecting much, as this is naught more than a commercial label ploy meant to advertise various bands and artists on the label, but this is really not bad at all. Driven mainly by Victor Smolski of Rage (Ger) fame, Into the Light is quite a tight, enjoyable affair if you're a fan of Heavy/Power metal in the least.
Don't be fooled by the commercial air surrounding this, for it is not nearly as bad as you would think. Smolski's songwriting talent shines through, as he has written every song here, and most of them are metal tunes far too complex and challenging for radio airplay of any sort. The coolest thing about this is that somehow every song sounds both like a Rage song and also like a song from whichever band the singer happened to come from. He's written a disc full of songs that both stay true to his signature style and venture into several other styles of several other, very different, bands - "Slaves to the Desert" could be on A Night At the Opera, "Perfect Day" both has a Helloweenesque song title and doesn't stray far from the formula set by those wacky Germans, and "Inner Sanctuary" is a dead-ringer for Tarot's Suffer Our Pleasures, right down to the bombastic keys backing the riffs. I could describe every song here, but the point is that Smolski is a songwriting chameleon here, and I'd definitely like to see him do more varied projects alongside the mandatory Rage - he is a truly excellent guitarist.
Tobias Sammet puts on an admirable performance on the crunching opener "Dirty Wings," using a lower, grittier register than usual while still being recognizable, and I have to say that this is the best song here, as somehow the man's voice fits like a glove with Smolski's bushels of kinetic heavy metal riffs, and the chorus is stickier than Gorilla Glue. Right on its coat-tails is "Terrified" - apparently an all-out Rage song, as it has every member of the band playing in it - jam packed with the same frantic, dark crunch as Rage's last few outings, as well as a winding bass solo that will blow your mind. Peavy Wagner's rough and ready snarl is at 100% here, and he sounds great. "Inner Sanctuary" is also all kinds of awesome, and even more so if you love Tarot as much as I do - Hietala puts on his best performance in years here! This is total Suffer Our Pleasures material, and you need to hear it now. "Death is Alive" features Therion's Mats Levin, and it's quite cool; a dark, grisly grinder with mechanical rhythms and ominous synths. Very cool song. "In the Picture" is also surprisingly good, featuring Tarja Turunen, and much better than most of Once by itself - this is what that abomination should've been. Also worth mentioning are the short, fun jaunts "Ruling the World" and "Perfect Day" featuring Tony Kakko and Andi Deris respectively, two explosive, jubilant bursts of catchy goodness that are sure to cater to fans of the lighter side of the Power Metal spectrum.
This is dragged down by a certain inconsistency in individual song quality, though, as we have dull clunkers like "Eternally," featuring Communic vocalist Oddlief Stensland, and the terminally boring "Slaves to the Desert," which despite featuring excellent vocals from Hansi Kursch, is not a very interesting song at all. "Bloodsucker" is a weird one, boasting the throaty yowling of Destruction's Marcel Schirmer. It's a good song, just very, very out of place with Smolski's guitar wizardry and the morass of Power Metal virtuosos the rest of the songs have, which sort of breaks the album up. I also have to say that despite the fact that this is a good album, the material here just isn't as good as the stuff from each singer's individual band. It's good, but not THAT good. Get it for the guitar work and some good songs, but don't expect anything too groundbreaking. Recommended to Power Metal fans.
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