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Review: Galneryus - Beyond The End of Despair...
Beyond The End of Despair...

Label: VAP
Year released: 2006
Duration: 58:17
Tracks: 12
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: January 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Baldr
Readers Rating
Beyond The End of Despair...

Rated 4/5 (80%) (11 Votes)

Japan — the country where even third rate Eurometal bands manage to attract huge hordes of fanatic fans with ease. It's hard to say why exactly the Japanese seem to be so much in love with that style of Power Metal, but it's an even greater mystery why so few notable bands come from over there considering these circumstances. Except for Concerto Moon and X-Japan back in the late 80s there isn't much to talk about. Well, apparently at least we just don't know about them yet. Galneryus certainly fits the bill to be a successful Power Metal band, but they haven't made the jump out of Japan so far.

Galneryus basically play European-styled Power Metal flavored with some unique influences. The band recorded a Stratovarius cover song for a tribute album before, which should already be a big hint about their basic style. Fast guitars, double-bass drums and a good dosage of keyboards — so far so boring. What makes the band stand out is the voice of Yama-B as well as the excellent guitar shredding of guitarist Syu. There are also some unobtrusive elements from Japanese pop-culture here, mostly present in the keyboards, but you probably won't even notice them unless you're into that kind of stuff.

Singer Yama-B puts lots of effort into singing with no accent (all vocals are in English), but sometimes his intonation is a bit off and it's obvious he isn't a native speaker. His voice is rather deep and a nice break from the usual wailing that dominates the genre. To be honest his voice reminds me a bit of Vanni from Wotan. The way they use their voices is often quite different, but I'm sure they sound a lot alike when they're speaking casually.

The main attraction of the band are the guitars though. The album is full of elaborate solo passages. Every song has an extended guitar solo and there are usually several short instrumental interludes that glue the different parts of the songs together. The vocals here are good, but I have to say that the band is usually at its best when there are none.

There are some absolutely great tunes on the album that should make every Power Metal fan salivating, starting with the powerful "Shriek Of Vengeance". (The first track is a pretty boring introduction). Next we're treated with two nice but ultimately rather average songs. The album picks up again with the excellent "Point Of No Return" that captures every strong point of the band. An extremely nice instrumental introduction, followed by a powerful chorus that'll get your fists up in the air and a superb, extended solo section. The next song, "In The Cage" is unfortunately the weakest one here. It's obvious they tried something different here with Yama-B trying to sing in a different way, but to make it short, it just doesn't work well.

All is well again though as we're treated to my personal favorite right after — the fantastic "Heavy Curse". Here the band goes into a much slower pace than usual and relies on a pounding groove and the all-powerful chorus instead of high-speed shredding. It creates a darker atmosphere and works really well. I have to wonder why they don't slow down more often. The next two songs are very good as well, with the surprisingly progressive "Vanishing Wish" and the slower and calmer half-ballad "Dawn of Tragedy". I'm usually not a fan of ballads in Metal, but this song has some fantastic guitar harmonies and a great vocal performance. The album closes with the slightly disappointing "My Last Farewell" and the cool "Braving Flag".

All in all we have 6 great songs, 3 average ones and only one real stinker (I'm not counting the intro and outro). This makes for a great Power Metal album that should make every fan of the genre happy. It's a shame that this band gets practically zero attention in the west, but it's not surprising. There is no label that distributes their albums outside of Japan, so the only way to get their music legally is through insanely expensive imports. Apparently they also released their songs on iTunes to make them accessible for western audiences, but seriously, who wants that? I really hope these guys will find a way to make their music more available to Power Metal fans all over the globe. With their talent they shouldn't have problems finding a distributor if they actually tried.

Track Listing:
  1. Arise
  2. Shriek Of The Vengeance
  3. Raid Again
  4. Shiver
  5. Point Of No Return
  6. In The Cage
  7. Heavy Curse
  8. Vanishing Hope
  9. Dawn Of Tragedy
  10. My Last Farewell
  11. Braving Flag
  12. Rebirth
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