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Review: Starborn - The Dreaming City
The Dreaming City

Label: Stormspell Records
Year released: 2015
Duration: 34:13
Tracks: 5
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: June 5, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
The Dreaming City

Rated 3.76/5 (75.29%) (17 Votes)

Starborn, the British Power Metal band featuring several regulars of The Metal Crypt, is back with their label debut The Dreaming City, released by Stormspell Records. The Dreaming City follows the band's Born by the Wind demo of 2014 and is an improvement in every way. The chemistry between the band members has strengthened and the songwriting is improved along with the performances. Musically, Starborn looks to bands like Iron Maiden and Fates Warning for inspiration and those influences can be heard in the crunchy riffs, melodic twin guitar work and most notably the vocals. Singer Bruce Turnbull has an emotive delivery that, like his hero John Arch, may be a little on the thin side, but like Arch, Turnbull eschews the easy path of writing vocal lines that mirror the melody of the song. No, he has written some of the most challenging vocal lines I've heard since Awaken the Guardian. This fact may present a hurdle to new fans as this type of singing is not immediately accessible and can be a bit of an acquired taste. I admit to mistakenly thinking he was out of tune upon first hearing The Dreaming City but the more I spun it the more I realized he is just challenging his listeners to pay attention. Guitarists Chris Foley and Sean Atkinson have stepped up their playing and work together smoothly while burning up their respective fret boards. The rhythm section of drummer Dan Alderson (also of Death Metal band Horrified) and bassist Jonny Kelsey provide a solid foundation.

The greatest things I can say about The Dreaming City is that, while certainly reminiscent of Iron Maiden and Fates Warning (check out the opening to "Cruelty Unchained" for some truly Arch-inspired singing) it doesn't really sound like too many other bands out there. The gents in Starborn have room to get better but are really homing in on a distinctive sound that should serve them well in the future. Jump on board now as these guys have a lot of potential.

Other related information on the site
Review: Born by the Wind (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Savage Peace (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with vocalist Bruce Turnbull on June 19, 2015 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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