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Review: Arkngthand - Songs of Ice and Fire
Songs of Ice and Fire

Label: Independent
Year released: 2009
Duration: 47:32
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: July 15, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Songs of Ice and Fire

Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Songs of Ice and Fire is the 2nd full length release from the Netherlands' Arkngthand (pronounced "ark-en-tand," the name is apparently taken from a video game. Let the "nerd" allegations begin!) It is a concept album about kings and dragons in the same vein as Rhapsody of Fire or Kaledon. The style is generic Power Metal that occasionally leans toward Hard Rock or swings the other way into speedier territory.

Let me start by asking a question: did you ever wonder what it would sound like if Creed or Nickelback made a Power Metal album? Of course you haven't. You probably wouldn't be visiting this site if those bands were your cup of tea. Yet that was my first reaction to Songs of Ice and Fire. Fortunately, the similarity is due mainly to vocalist Rim Steijvers, who sounds quite similar to the singers of the aforementioned rock bands. Musically, as alluded to previously, Arkngthand deliver 12 tracks of stuff you've heard a hundred times before on countless Power Metal releases. We get the standard intro of horse riding sound effects and shouted requests to make way for the king in "Last Summerdays." This is followed by the anthemic, yet uninspiring, "The King has Arrived." The next track, "Wine and Woes," would make the guys from Kaledon blush; a full 1:36 of spoken words between the "king" and his new right-hand man. Yikes. The rest of the album plods along, with mid-paced rockers and slower, acoustic-tinged songs, until we get to "The Woods of Whisper." Here the pace picks up and the sound gets noticeably heavier. There is a brief break for the instrumental "Equinox" before the album ends with probably the strongest track, "Clash of Kings." The lead work by guitarist Ruud van Sloun, one of the bright spots throughout Songs of Ice and Fire, really shines here. He is a subdued player seemingly content to complement the songs rather than step out in front at solo time. Maiden-esque is how I would describe his work on "Clash of Kings."

Well, there you have it. Songs of Ice and Fire isn't bad, not at all. It is well played and the production is fine for the style. It just doesn't do anything to stand apart from all the other contenders in the field. Arkngthand are going to have to come up with some better songs or a different approach if they want to make a name for themselves and here's hoping they do. Better luck next time.

Other related information on the site
Review: Songs of Ice and Fire (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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