Album Reviews

Gloryful – Ocean Blade Review

gloryful_cover

Released By: Massacre Records

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Genre: Power Metal

Links: http://www.gloryful.net/

 

Line Up:

Johnny la Bomba – Vocals

Jens “Shredmaster JB” Basten – Guitars

Vittorio Papotto – Guitars

Daniel Perl – Bass

Hartmut Stoof – Drums

 

Tracklisting:

1. Hiring The Dead

2. El Mare, E Libertad

3. Ocean Blade

4. The Master’s Hands

5. Cradle Of Heroes

6. Black Legacy

7. All Men To The Arms

8. McGuerkin On The Bridge

9. Siren Song

10. Ocean Legacy

 

German metal band Gloryful has certainly wasted no time in following up their 2013 debut The Warrior’s Code, with their sophomore release Ocean Blade already out in Europe, and hitting stores in North America this June. I thought the Warrior’s Code had some potential, as I always enjoy old-school power metal when it’s done right and that album had a very energetic sound, but my enjoyment was brought down due to some mediocre vocals and a lack of any real memorable songs. Thankfully, both of these issues have been fixed on Ocean Blade, making it an excellent follow up album that shows this up and coming band starting to live up to their potential.

Anyone who heard their debut should know what to expect, as stylistically this album is a continuation of what the band was already doing, and so the fact that it turned out so much better shows how much they’ve matured over the last year. New fans can expect a very classic sounding album with just a few modern touches to add flavor and a few surprises to make certain tracks standout from the pack. There are many times where the guitar work sounds similar to Iron Maiden’s glory days, but with the accompaniment of double bass drumming to constantly ensure the music is as fast as any power metal fan would want. Aside from a couple tracks, the majority of the songs are straight-forward and mostly up tempo, with very strong performances across the board.

I already mentioned the two areas I wanted Gloryful to improve on with this album, and they definitely have. Vocalist Johhny la Bomba has a rather old fashioned approach to his performance, in that he often tries to channel Bruce Dickinson but with a much rawer voice, and while this didn’t quite work on their debut, this time around his vocals are more powerful and more polished. His style always seemed like a good fit, I just thought he needed a bit of work, but now his vocals are good enough to stand out as a strength for the band instead of a weakness. There are times where he adds in some screams, and these work surprisingly well, and he’s also quite good at the softer sections.

Likewise, this time around the songs are much more instantly engaging, with the slow but very powerful “Hiring The Dead” getting things off to a great start, and it only gets better from there. Speedy, hard-hitting tracks like “E Mare, E Libertad” “Ocean Blade” and “The Master’s Hands” instantly impress with the right mix of classic power metal energy and the occasional slower parts where the Maiden like guitar melodies kick in, while the seven minute “Cradle Of Heroes” moves along at a slower but still satisfying tempo, and is highlighted by an amazing chorus, which perfectly illustrates how much Johnny has improved. That song as well as a few others also have some really nice vocal layering during the chorus, which only enhances the already catchy songwriting. The biggest change of pace is the acoustic ballad “Black Legacy”, which is a very nice and relaxing track, where the vocal layering is used especially well, and it also contains some folk elements that add a bit of flavor to help make it an excellent song. And of course, I can’t neglect to mention the last full song on the album, the near seven minute “Siren Song”, which is mostly similar to the other faster songs on the album, though the performances seem even stronger than normal and there’s an extended section in the middle where we get some really nice high pitched female vocals, obviously representative of the “siren” in the song’s name.

Gloryful showed a lot of promise on their debut but in the end it came up just a bit short, while their sophomore effort Ocean Blade show signs of a great future for the band. Highly recommended for fans of power metal, or just classic traditional metal in general.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    8/10

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