|Review: Power Quest - Blood Alliance|
Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2011
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: April 10, 2011
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.05/5 (80.95%) (21 Votes)
Wow, just wow. I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard this, I feel Power Quest have always been a good reliable band, but I would have never imagined them to unleash an album of this magnitude. A massive shake-up of the line-up sees Power Quest an entirely new beast with only founder and keyboardist Steve Williams remaining. It makes me a little patriotic to see that all the members bar vocalist Chitral Somapala hailing from the UK, all the more so to see the band finally hitting us with a first rate release.
From the opening notes of intro "Battle Stations" it's not hard to see Power Quest are fresh and invigorated, taking the new line-up for a test drive with excellent power metal riffing and virtuoso guitar leads, it wouldn't be a lie to say I was sold from this point on. "Rising Anew" stands as the first proper song on Blood Alliance, and is one of those songs that will make you fall in love with the genre all over again. Fast-paced with quality riffs and bloody hell does Chitral sound good, I have to say throughout Blood Alliance he gives his finest performance to date. His voice is more clean and melodic than usual, which is perfect for Power Quest, although his gruffer side does appear from time to time – no complaints there.
Throughout my first listen I kept waiting for a song to let me down, but this is seriously just one winner after another. I remember sitting there, in my head I was thinking "right, a lame ballad has to follow this" but it just didn't happen. This album switches between speedy power metal numbers such as "Rising Anew", "Glorious", "Survive" and "City of Lies" and more melodic AOR/hard rock-influenced tracks the band are famed for such as "Sacrifice", "Better Days" and "Only In My Dreams". Surprisingly these tracks are some of the best on the album, and rank as some of the best the band have done in this style, particularly "Sacrifice" which is one of my highlights from the album. Then we have the progressive metal tinge of "Crunching the Numbers" and the awesome 9-minute title track both showing the total fearless attitude of the new Power Quest.
I can't stress enough how much of an improvement Blood Alliance is on the Power Quest sound. The guitar work is second to none, mind-meltingly technical and perfectly melodic. Steve's keyboard work as always is great, and his songwriting is in top form. The guitars are heavy, and the band really feels as though they have something to prove, as well as something to say. This is one of, if not the best power metal albums I've heard this year and is pretty much guaranteed a place in my end-of-year list. The only thing I can really fault them on, and what keeps this just short of top marks, is that some of the songs are maybe a little overlong, and as good as "Crunching the Numbers" is, the chorus feels a little disjointed. Minor niggles aside though, power metal fans you need this in your life. If you ever wrote Power Quest off as being too cheesy I'd suggest giving this a look in. You might be surprised. Highly recommended.
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