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Review: Orion Riders - A New Dawn
Orion Riders
A New Dawn

Label: Lion Music
Year released: 2003
Duration: 41:42
Tracks: 9
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 16, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
A New Dawn

Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (6 Votes)

This is one of those records I always seem to go back to, and despite exhibiting nothing exemplar on its first listen, A New Dawn - the only album to be cobbled together by Italian maestros Orion Riders - is a sparkling genre piece that is unassuming, invigorating, and highly enjoyable.

Very much planted in the Italian school, A New Dawn jumps between generic guidelines, taking the songs into unexpected turns that shun all expectations. Their sound is light and fluffy (mainly due to the production), but there is still an aggressive attack from the guitars, providing a healthy contrast to the keys, which are on this thing like white on rice. While not as big as some of the bands they emulate, their use of symphonics is extraordinary in that they are used in the right places – and to great effect. It is atmospheric and neo-classical, and lends much to the many twists the album takes. Vocalist Joe Lombardo is a real find; his tone is lush and he never misses a note, rising from Fabio Lione-like warbling to piercing Halford screams. And while he carries the album, his presence is not overpowering (as is often the case with the Italian school).

The songs take a while to grab you – as they seem pretty random at first – but somehow, it manages to work. Tracks like "Leave the Shades Behind", "Light and Dark", and the excellent "Old Symphony" need to be heard by Power Metal purists, and if a dazzling mix of Angra and old Rhapsody sounds like your bag, you certainly won't go wrong with this. A truly hidden gem.

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