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Review: Highland Glory - From The Cradle To The Brave
Highland Glory
From The Cradle To The Brave

Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 53:49
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal


Review online: March 10, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.83/5 (96.67%) (24 Votes)

Normally I'm not much for generic power/speed metal, but I guess I was just in a mood last week. This is the debut album from Norwegian band Highland Glory, and thankfully it's a cut above the usual.

Usually a band of this kind will have the word 'Dragon' in their name somewhere, but besides that there is little to distinguish Highland Glory from the hundred other bands that play this style. They have big choruses, a high-pitched singer, some keys, and a lot of double-bass drumming. They are a little heavier than the usual run, but still not that heavy. I always wish bands like this would lean on the rhythm guitars just a little harder. The nice thing is that all the things that Highland Glory do, they do just a bit better than the standard. Their singer is better, for one. Jan Grefstad has a high voice, but he has a rough edge and can hit the highs without sounding strained. The musicianship on this album is actually pretty good, especially the guitarwork. They don't overdo the keys either. The songs are also a cut above, such as standouts "One Last Chance", the slower and heavier "Beyond The Pharoa's Curse" and the very catchy title track. The vocal lines and choruses are not always as memorable as they could be, and in fact the guitar melodies are often better than the vocal ones. If HG could spruce that up a bit, we'd have a real winner on our hands.

The drawbacks on this album are the usual ones that plague this kind of band. Too many of the songs sound too much alike, and some go on way too long. This is not as happy sounding as Angra or Freedom Call, but it is pretty happy, especially the two wussy love ballads "This Promise I Swear" and "Will We Be Again?". "Promise" is still a good song, but I can do without sappy ballads on metal albums. The CD cover is pretty good, but the interior layout is highly uninspired. The lyrics are no great shakes either, though they aren't embarrassing. With the exception of the aforementioned wuss ballads, the lyrics are fairly standard.

So this is a solid debut, that fans of Dragonland or DragonForce will no doubt enjoy. With superior performances and better-than-average songwriting Highland Glory have managed to distinguish themselves a bit and flash some real potential. If this were a second or third CD they would be doomed to mediocrity, but as this is a debut I can see real possibilities for this band in the future.

More about Highland Glory...
Review: Forever Endeavour (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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