Album Reviews

Heimdall – Aeneid Review

Heimdall - Aeneid_cover

Released By: Scarlet Records

Release Date: February 26, 2013

Genre: Power Metal

Links: http://www.heimdallband.com/

 

Line Up:

Gandolfo Ferro – Vocals

Carmelo Claps – Lead Guitars

Umberto Parisi – Lead Guitars

Fabio Calluori – Guitars

Daniel Pastore – Bass

Nicolas Calluori – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Prologue

2. Forced By Fate

3. Save You

4. Waiting For The Dawn

5. Ballad Of The Queen

6. Funeral Song

7. Underworld

8. Gates Of War

9. Hero

10. Night On The World

11. All Of Us

12. Away

13 The Last Act

 

Here we have an album that comes completely out of nowhere to be an early favorite for 2013. I have no previous experience with Heimdall, but apparently this album comes after a rather long hiatus due to struggles with keeping a stable lineup and other problems, which prevented them from making any albums between now and 2004’s “Hard As Iron”. They are finally back with a largely overhauled lineup, and are finally ready to unleash their newest album “Aeneid”, an epic concept album based on the 12 part Virgil poem. I have to say, for any group to have such a long break in between albums is tough, but they have definitely come back strong, and regardless of my lack of knowledge about their previous works, I can say this new lineup is definitely on the right track, so I hope they can stay together for many more albums of this quality.

You can expect the typically epic brand of power metal Italian bands are known for, though there’s some noticeably heavier guitar work than what many of their counterparts can offer, and that helps set them apart just a bit. For the most part, this is some very straight-forward, fast-paced and extremely epic power metal with spectacular choruses and a nice use of grand symphonic elements, especially with the keyboard sounds and some excellent choir vocals. It’s nothing overly original, but the musicianship is top notch, with the riffs being especially impressive, and the songwriting is quite amazing.

The vocals are also a strong point, as new singer Gandolfo Ferro has a very strong voice, and while he can be very animated and over the top on occasion, I find his softer vocals are what he does best, particularly on the choruses. His higher-pitched, more aggressive vocals are also very effective in places, and his accent doesn’t get in the way like with some Italian metal singers I’ve struggled with. The choir vocals I mentioned before are also used very effectively in small doses throughout the album.

After a brief intro track with a voiceover, the album begins properly with “Forced By Fate”, which has an epic symphonic opening before the crunchy guitars take over and it launches into some aggressive, speedy power metal with a fantastic, ridiculously catchy chorus where both Gandolfo and the choirs sound excellent. Many of the songs here seem to be built on the strengths of both the main riffs and the choruses, both of which are pretty much perfect the whole way through. This continues in an even more impressive way with “Save You”, a slightly slower song with even more of an edge to it, and an even more ridiculously awesome chorus. “Waiting For The Dawn” is the most epic song of the first half, and while it’s one of the slower and least heavy songs on the album, its melodies are impressive enough to make it a highlight.

There aren’t any weak songs here, but I’d expect “Ballad Of The Queen” to be the least popular among metal fans, and even I’ll admit I don’t find it quite as awesome as the rest of the album, but it’s still an excellent ballad and it certainly does a great job of showcasing the vocals, so it still earns its spot on the album. After a brief instrumental piece, we get some great keyboard sounds to open “Underworld” which reminds me just a little bit of Stratovarius but with a rougher guitar tone. Basically, you can expect an epic power metal song with more keyboards than any other song on the album. And that leads us to the best part of the album, which is the final stretch.

Every song from “Gates Of War” until the end is as close to perfect as you can get, with all the best elements of the album cranked to 100. “Gates Of War” itself is another slower song, which has a long build up before delivering one of the very best choruses of the album, which is saying a lot. “Hero” is just ridiculously epic, with the biggest highlight being the middle section which has the best use of the choirs, building into an an awesome mini-chorus, while “Night On The World” and “All Of Us” are two more very fast and catchy songs with excellent melodies. Even the interlude track “Away” is great, as it’s a quiet piece that uses more of the choir vocals to lead nicely into the final song, which is appropriately titled “The Last Act”. As good as the rest of the album is, I’d say everything else pales in comparison to “The Last Act”, a mid-tempo power metal anthem with an absolutely perfect chorus that even beats all others on the album, though everything surrounding it is also extremely epic and it all adds up to an incredibly satisfying conclusion to an already excellent album.

For a band I had heard nothing about before, Heimdall have delivered one truly epic album that is sure to please any fan of speedy melodic power metal with a nice balance of crunchy riffs to go with the typical symphonic elements and insanely catchy choruses. More impressively, it not only stays fresh throughout, the songs actually seem to get better as it goes along, with the last track being by far the best. Hopefully “Aeneid” can help get them some attention, because it is certainly an impressive comeback album.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments