|Review: Wizards' Hymn - Hymnal|
Label: Majestic Rock
Year released: 2006
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: March 22, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.1/5 (62%) (10 Votes)
A lost item from Japanese power metallers Wizards' Hymn, a band that fall very much in the category of mediocre yet somehow still manage to excite. Like all Japanese Power Metal, this looks better than it actually is, despite the competent playing and decent songwriting. I'm not sure why the Japanese have such problems replicating this style, but they never seem to get it right, and Hymnal doesn't break from this stereotype; mixing the neo-classical pomp of Stratovarius with the candy-coated sickness of Sonata Arctica, this female-fronted quartet plough the same ground as Dragon Guardian or Area51, with a touch of Masterpiece thrown in there to weigh it out, though there's nothing remotely original to be heard, just a simple rehashing of the style's figures and maneuvers.
On the production side, this is a good attempt at crystal-clear clarity, but in all honesty everything sounds processed and programmed to such a degree that if you told me a computer performed every note I wouldn't raise an eyebrow. That's not to say songs like "Through the Wilderness" and "Olden Story Tells" aren't satisfying; the guitar work of Tsutomu Aruga is a Tolkki-inspired delight, and even the vocals of frontwoman Kimiko Shirao aren't so bad, even if they do waver from time to time. It's all sung in English (though you wouldn't know it), and there are moments when it really pleases, during opener "Wings Of Time", for example. Nothing spectacular by any means, but a curiosity for informed Power Metal fans still searching for Japan's most lucrative outfit.
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