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Sebastien – Dark Chambers of Deja Vu Review

sebastien-darkchambersofdeja-vu

Released By: Pride & Joy Music

Release Date: September 25, 2015

Genre: Power Metal

Links: Sebastienofficial.com , Google+YoutubeTwitterFacebook

 

Line Up:

George Rain – Vocals

Andy Mons – Guitars

Petri Kallio – Bass

Pavel Dvorak – Keyboards

Lucas R. – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Stranger at the Door

2. Highland Romance

3. Crucifixion of the Heart

4. Lamb of God

5. The Walls of Lyman-Alpha

6. Sphinx in Acheron

7. Frozen Nightingales

8. Sleep in the Glass

9. The Ocean

10. Man in the Maze

11. The House of Medusa

12. My Deepest Winter

13. Last Dance at Rosslyn Chapel

14. Dorian – live

15. Headless Cross – live (Black Sabbath cover)

 

As exciting as it can be to hear a long awaited new album from a longtime favorite band, especially one that lives up to expectations, it can sometimes be even more exciting to hear a debut from a band previously never even knew existed, and be blown away by it. That is what happened to me in late 2010, when I first heard Tears of White Roses by Sebastien. I had heard nothing about this band from Czech Republic beforehand, but the music instantly hooked me, and I was impressed to discover they enlisted the likes of Roland Grapow, Fabio Lione, Amanda Somerville and Apollo Papathanasio, among others, to appear on various tracks. Also impressive was the extremely varied songwriting, at times featuring more traditional power metal, while other times adding in elements of symphonic metal and hard rock, making for a diverse album full of extremely catchy songs that remained stuck in my head to this day. Ever since, I had been very excited to see what the band would do next, and almost five years later they have returned with the follow up, Dark Chambers of Deja Vu, an album which very much lives up to expectations.

With the long gap in between albums I was curious to see how different this one would sound, especially with such a strange title. For the most part, it feels like a continuation of what they did on Tears of White Roses, using a very melodic brand of power metal with a strong use of keyboards, symphonic elements, and huge vocal melodies to serve as the foundation, while adding in various other elements throughout. As before, the songwriting is quite varied, and some tracks have surprises, with “Highland Romance”, for example, featuring some very nice folk melodies throughout and a nice folk interlude in the middle, while “The Walls of Lychan-Alpha” has its own unique flavor, and “:Frozen Nightingales” gets surprisingly aggressive at points. Performances are strong all around, with the keyboards and orchestras adding flavor throughout, and the guitar work ranges from surprisingly dark and heavy at times, to sounding extremely happy and melodic at other times, and of course the vocals are fantastic. My one criticism is that the production seems a bit weak in places, especially when compared directly against the debut, which didn’t have this problem.

Like on their debut, the band brought in various guests to perform on Dark Chambers of Deja Vu, including Tony Martin (Black Sabbath) on “Lamb of God”, Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle) on “The Ocean”, Sergey Badikov (Inner Fear) on “Stranger at the Door”, Ailyn (Sirenia) on “Last Dance at Rosslyn Chapel” and Marlin Rya Poemy on “Sphinx in Acheron”, as well as Roland Grapow, who serves as the producer. The guests all do a great job, but it’s lead singer George Rain who deserves the most praise, as he has a very warm voice that enhances the more melodic tracks, while also being very powerful during the heavier songs, and his voice is the perfect fit for the band.

The album starts off strong with “Stranger at the Door”, an up tempo track which begins with a nice keyboard section before speeding up and turning into a very addictive power metal song, with an excellent chorus. Just before the instrumental section comes the biggest surprise, as the music gets much heavier and Sergey Baidikov provides some pretty awesome growls. Faster tracks on the album range from super melodic tracks like “Sleep in the Glass”, with its excellent guitar melodies and chorus, “Highland Romance”, with its nice use of folk melodies“The Man in the Maze” and the “House of Medusa”, to much heavier tracks like “Frozen Nightingales”, with its shockingly heavy instrumental part in the middle, and “The Walls of Lyman-Alpha”, a track which alternates between crushing mid tempo verses a speedy, powerful chorus, all while having strong folk influences throughout.

Surprisingly, some of the slower tracks are among my favorites, especially the two ballads “Lamb of God” and “Last Dance at Rosalyn Chapel”, both which feature excellent guest vocals, the former featuring Tony Martin, and the latter featuring Ailyn. “Lamb of God” in particular features some incredible vocal melodies that only get more impressive towards the end. On the whole, I find the tracks with guest vocals to be outstanding, with the power ballad “The Ocean, featuring Zak Stevens perhaps being the only one that doesn’t blow me away, though it’s still a very nice track and Zak sounds great on it. A surprising favorite is “Sphinx in Acheron”, a more calm mid-tempo track featuring excellent supporting vocals Marlin Rya Poemy, and at times the song reminds of the incredible “Dorian”, my favorite track from the debut, which is included here as a live bonus track, along with a cover of Black Sabbath’s Headless Cross. Rounding out the slower tracks, we have the hard rock influences “Crucifixion of the Heart”, which serves as a great showcase for George Rain’s vocals, as well as “My Deepest Winter”, another sort of power ballad, though I find it memorable then “The Ocean.

Unlike its predecessor, Dark Chambers of Deja Vu did not have the advantage of coming out of nowhere for me, as I obviously had high expectations for it after the debut, but surprisingly Sebastien has delivered a follow up that is almost as impressive, and is sure to please fans of melodic power metal who can appreciate a wide range of different elements in their music. As a fan of their debut I am extremely pleased with how this album turned out, and I certainly look forward to hearing more from the band in the future.

Written by: Travis Green

 

Ratings: Travis 9/10

 

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