Album Reviews

A Hero For The World – A Hero For The World Review

A Hero For The World - A Hero For The World cover

Released By: Jacob K Music

Release Date: March 29, 2013

Genre: Power Metal

Links: http://www.aherofortheworld.com/

 

Line Up:

Jacob Kaasgaard – Vocals, Keyboards

David Sivelind – Guitar, Bass

Andy Gentile – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. We Are Forever

2. Eternal Shadows

3. Free Forever

4. Let It Go

5. Heaven’s Eyes

6. Alive

7. End Of Time

8. Over Land And Seas

9. A Quest For The Brave

10. One Hope Of Light

 
Metal albums can sometimes be used to draw on your negative emotions, which usually involves hammering you with intense riffs, vicious lyrics and an overall dark feeling. Well, what I’m reviewing today can do the exact opposite: Everything about it has such an overwhelmingly positive feeling to it, you can’t help but smile the whole time, even when the occasional technical flaw pops up. Based on that description, you would probably guess this is some form of epic power metal, and indeed that’s exactly what we have here. International band A Hero For The World, who consist of two members born in Sweden but now living in the Philippines, along with a member from Los Angeles, have certainly established their sound quite well on this self-titled debut, which contains power metal of the absolute cheesiest kind, yet it has a charm to it that makes it instantly lovable for any fan of the genre.

I’ll just let it out right away: Anyone scared off by this type of “flower metal” or whatever insulting term they want to use, may as well stop reading the review already, because this album is as light and as cheery as metal can possibly get. Everything from the keyboard sound, to the way choruses are sung and especially the lyrics, all combine to form something I know I could easily count on to cheer me up if I’m going through a bad day. But aside from that, this is a very keyboard heavy album, with an emphasis on melodies and catchy, triumphant choruses, though the guitar work is quite strong throughout. Most songs are very fast-paced, though there are a couple ballads as well, along with a brief instrumental to start the three part finale. The actual songwriting is pretty much perfect throughout, but interestingly I find the first half is dragged down by the occasional vocal misstep, while everything starting from “Alive” and through to the end is almost flawless.

There is a reason for that, which brings me to the vocals: Jacob Kaasgaard has a fairly typical voice for a power metal singer, which is to say he’s very high pitched and has a nice quality to his voice, but also a bit of an edge at times. Most of the time he sounds excellent, especially in the second half of the album, but most songs on the first half force him to sing in a higher key and that’s where the inconsistencies start to show up: His higher register is naturally a little bit irritating, but the worst of it comes during key changes at the end of some of the songs, most notably on “Eternal Shadows”. He seems to be a little too energetic, which causes him to lose control of his voice, so it gets very pitchy and occasionally hard to listen to. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen too often, and as I said above, he’s much more controlled in the later parts of the album, and when he does control himself he fits in great with the epic feel of the music. So perhaps my only advice would be to dial it back a bit next time.

Aside from that, while I know some will find this album too melodic and too cheesy, for my tastes it is absolutely fantastic, and even with the first five songs there’s very little I would want changed musically. The band comes roaring out of the gates with “We Are Forever”, which presents its chorus right at the start, letting you know you’re in for a ridiculous catchy and epic album. Some of Jacob’s pitch issues come out a bit in that song, but for the most part it’s a speedy and instantly engaging opening track, which is just what this type of album needs. My favorite song of the first half is “Free Forever”, a very nice ballad which introduces guest female vocalist Louiebeth Aratan, who also appears on the closing track. This song is an example of how great Jacob can be when he sings calmly, and the melodies are so beautiful, it’s a very easy song to get lost in. “Heaven Eye’s” is the only song here I’m not too impressed by, in part because it drags a bit at over 7 minutes, and also because Jacob is again a bit pitchy, but this time it’s for almost the whole song, where “Eternal Shadows” is actually very good aside from that one bad spots near the end.

Thankfully, once that song is over the second half of the album begins, and that’s where all the big highlights come. “Alive” is the slowest non-ballad here, but the chorus is fantastic and it’s from this song onwards where I really start to become more and more happy while listening, every time. It only gets better with “End Of Time”, the fastest and most epic song on the album, pretty much a power metal classic in the making, with an excellent opening riff, awesome keyboards during the verses, and even some great symphonic elements throughout, while the chorus is even more upbeat and simply unforgettable than on any of the other songs. I feel the last three songs flow together perfectly, as first we have a brief but very beautiful instrumental interlude in “Over Land And Sea”, and that connects nicely into “A Quest For The Brave”, and the main melody of that song feels like a prelude to the big 10 minute finale “One Hope Of Light”. Anyone hoping for a mammoth progressive power metal epic will be disappointed, as instead it’s an incredible 10 minute ballad, highlighted by the vocal interplay between Jacob and Louiebeth, with one singing the main chorus while the other repeats the chorus from “Free Forever”, all the while in the background the music also turns into a call back of that aforementioned song, resulting in one breathtaking moment to end the album with. The early parts of the song are also very memorable, with an excellent build up leading to the spectacular end sequence.

I have no doubt there will be many metal fans who listen to one song and find themselves instantly turned off by what they hear, but aside from the occasional vocal failing, “A Hero For The World” is one of the best album’s I’ve heard recently for turning a frown into a smile, and for me that’s the kind of album I’ll always have need of. Obviously, anyone who loves power metal of the lightest and most melodic variety is highly recommended to check this album out, as well as any fan of the genre who can handle all the epic choruses and all the cheesniness.

 

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

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