|Review: Wonderland - Follow Me|
Label: Rising Symphony
Year released: 2004
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.21/5 (64.29%) (14 Votes)
Frank Andiver is certainly a busy man. Since leaving Italian stalwarts Labyrinth, the drummer/producer has had his fingers in more pies than Gordon Ramsey, loaning his skills and services to bands such as Oracle Sun, Synthphonia Suprema and now, Wonderland, his latest excursion into the world of hyper-melodic, sugary sweet Symphonic Power Metal. Their second album, Follow Me, is perhaps one of the most keyboard-drenched, saccharine-covered metal releases I've ever heard – go fish, Skylark – and anyone partial to at least some heaviness in their Power Metal had better look elsewhere, because there is about as much edge to this as a Savage Garden live show.
Following in the footsteps of their generic forefathers, Wonderland's sound fits somewhere between Labyrinth and Kamelot, with plenty of Vision Divine thrown in for good measure – ex-VD bassist Andrea ‘Tower' Torricini was in fact a member of the band up at this point – but with a production bereft of any grit or tone, Follow Me sounds like a diluted version of the style, keeping the sacred elements such as double-kicks, catchy choruses and tremolo-picking guitars in line with the syrupy, almost poppy vocals of frontman – or woman it seems at times – Alexx Hall, whose adorable vocals coat songs like the pelting "Last Time My Memory" or the hyper-catchy "The Call of the Dawn" with a gloss so thick; the fairer sex could spread it on their lips. In fact, single track "Eternally" is so commercial; it wouldn't be out of place in the popular charts, where as the atmospheric "Winter Silence" is more in tune with the progressive side of the genre, proving that Andiver and his lovable band mates aren't afraid to keep things interesting.
Personally, I love this. There is a lot to be said about the moral implications of taking the genre down to its bare bones like this, but those who crave as much melody as they can in the Power Metal sphere will find much to like here, especially in Hall's angelic vocals, a talent so pure it makes Robert Tyrant look like Glen Benton. And while the quality of song writing dips after the first stanza of tracks, Follow Me is a superb album of Melodic Power Metal that really pushes the envelope of the European breed to the very brink of tolerability.
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|Review: Follow Me (reviewed by Larry Griffin)|
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