|Review: Dragonland - Holy War|
Label: Black Lotus Records
Year released: 2002
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: June 25, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (15 Votes)
Man, I feel like I just had a fistful of cheddar cheese stuffed down my throat. After an overlong intro which takes you through a time warp, colors swirling 'round your head, you're immediately dropped into the world of Dragonland, with furiously intricate guitar melodies and keys slamming into you like pro wrestlers on crack, double bass drums beating and pounding as fast as a dragon's wings in the wind, and with Jonas Heidgert's charismatic saccharine-sweet wail narrating the whole journey. With a meatier guitar tone than their obvious influences in Rhapsody, Dragonland storm forth with their sophomore effort of fluffy sympho-Power Metal, middle finger defiantly in the face of all those who mock such "cheesy, gay pussy Metal."
This is very, very energetic and enthusiastic stuff, and going back to it for this review, I was surprised at how damn good it sounded, even in the face of the band's stunning progression as of late. Jonas Heidgert deserves another mention, for he stands out as quite a good vocalist here, and he really doesn't sound like anyone else on the planet. Very unique tone and delivery. The songwriting is spot on, with a lot of really great tunes like "The Majesty of Mithrill Mountains" and "Through Elven Woods and Dwarven Mines" knocking your teeth out with crystalline synths and riveting guitar lines that seem to set the world ablaze (fuck, just listen to the first few seconds of the former for proof!), and every musician here is playing at his finest level. They can even slow down for a more mid-paced, epic groove, as shown on the great "Calm Before the Storm," and here you can also see the brilliant, colorful progressive maelstrom that they would soon become.
Dragonland have created an agreeable and extremely enjoyable Power Metal album here, overflowing with pomp, pride and of course a healthy helping of the cheddar stuff. They are completely shameless about their high fantasy stylings, and I like that, gives the music a very authentic, youthful feeling that a lot of bands miss out on these days. Get this if you're a fan of this sort of music, and even if you aren't, you might still be able to find something of interest here - Dragonland do this better than most bands of their ilk.
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