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Review: Saidian - Phoenix

Label: Metal Heaven
Year released: 2006
Duration: 64:08
Tracks: 13
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: October 20, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating

Rated 3.89/5 (77.78%) (9 Votes)

Moving from their AOR-influenced debut, German wannabies Saidian churned out a quality sophomore effort some four years ago, an album that brought them deserved attention in the Power Metal scene (though not as much as their third, most current opus, Evercircle). While I have a soft spot for these guys, they are shameless plagiarists who don't mind pilfering their music from better known bands, but when they produce albums like this, I think we can forgive them this minor transgression, as Phoenix is about as good as derivative Power Metal is ever going to get.

For Those Who Walk The Path Forlorn, Saidian's debut, was a mid-paced affair that flirted with softer metal elements, and it is unlike its follow up in that Phoenix saw the band crank up their strengths in order to manufacture a release that was big, bold, and quite (though not exceptionally) bad-ass. Followers of the style will recognize this as Mandrake-era Edguy, with dashes of Helloween, Stratovarius, and even Nightwish, though Saidian aren't quite as competent as any of those acts, and instead unleash moments of pure euphoria ("Never Surrender", "Fallen Hero") and in the same moment let us down with such unabashed plagiarism that it just makes you want to listen to whatever they have filched. The way they use keyboards keeps the album lighter and very European, while the guitars are heavy and mobile, managing to compliment the songs with chords and small runs, rather than huge, dominating riffs. The vocals of Markus Engelfried are (of course) a Kiske/Sammet hybrid that is technically accurate, but now limited in tone and control, which will turn much of this into a lukewarm experience for those who like a bit of character behind the mic. And despite its length, there are some great numbers here, particularly "Praise The Lord", which is one of those tracks that shows how awesome Saidian could be.

With guest spots from Primal Fear's Klaus Sperling and even Jon Oliva, Phoenix is a must-listen for any self-respecting Power Metal fan, but only those who have heard enough not to be surprised will find it of any worth.

Other related information on the site
Review: Evercircle (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Evercircle (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: For Those Who Walk the Path Forlorn (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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