Released By: Pride & Joy Records
Release Date: February 23rd, 2018
Genre: Power Metal/Melodic Metal
George Rain – Vocals, Guitars
Andy Mons – Guitars
Petri Kallio – Bass, Backing Vocals
Pavel Dvorak – Keyboards
Lucas R. – Drums
1. Act of Creation
2. No Destination
3. Wake Up
6. My Empire
7. Queen from the Stars
9. Heal My Soul
11. Die in Me
12. Full Moon Child
14. V síti št?st
Back in 2010, when I was still fairly new to power metal, I decided to listen to Tears of White Roses, the debut from Czech band Sebastien, one night, and found myself being absolutely blown away by how polished the album sounded, as well as by the impressive guests involved and the extremely catchy, varied songwriting. Nearly five years later, the band returned with their second album, Dark Chambers of Deja Vu, which was similar and, despite a slightly weaker production, ended up impressing me nearly as much as their debut. Now, after less than two and a half years, the band is set to release their third full-length album, Act of Creation. This time around, the band has produced yet another great album, and while a bit of the wow factor is missing, it’s still a diverse and consistently entertaining release, which once again shows the band’s ability to write excellent and very catchy power metal.
Anyone who’s heard either of the band’s first two albums should have a good idea of what to expect at this point, as the band has kept their overall sound intact since their debut. New listeners can expect a very melodic brand of power metal, built on excellent vocal melodies, huge choruses, tons of keyboards and occasional symphonic elements, with the occasional darker, heavier section thrown in to mix things up a bit. Since their debut, the band has displayed an ability to write some truly unforgettable and super addictive choruses, and on this album, that trend continues in full, with some of the songs’s here coming close to reaching the heights of “Dorian” from their debut, which I still consider their career best. Compared to previous albums, I find this album has fewer surprises overall, though there’s one track with some slight folk influence, and I think overall this release has more of a melodic metal feel, with many of the tracks falling into slow and mid-paced territory, though there’s still some speedier tracks to keep power metal fans happy. My one criticism of their second release was the production, which thankfully has been improved on this release, as everything sounds crystal clear and the heavier parts sound very powerful, while all instruments come through clearly on the more melodic tracks.
Along with their amazing songwriting, one of the band’s biggest strengths has always been lead vocalist George Rain. He has a deep, but a very warm voice that has a wonderful tone, and he really excels on the more melodic sections and huge choruses, while also sounding powerful during the heavier sections. He’s the perfect fit for the music and sounds as great as ever on this album. Past releases have had some impressive guests involved, and while this release only has one big name (Apollo Papathanasio), there are a few songs with guest vocals here, and all of them are memorable.
I mentioned songwriting being Sebastien’s biggest strength, and this is true on Act of Creation as well. While I find this release doesn’t quite blow me away like Tears of White Roses and it doesn’t expand on their sound as much as Dark Chambers of Deja Vu did, it’s still a very consistent release, with no less than great tracks, and a few big standouts, as always. The opening title track is probably my favorite song here, as it opens up with some speedy, hard-hitting riffs and some excellent melodic leads, and it never lets up. The verses are fun, heavy and energetic and the chorus is huge and extremely catchy, only getting better during the final run through, and overall it’s simply the kind of epic opener I always look for on a power metal album. It’s also one of the few tracks on the album where I notice symphonic elements throughout, and they’re used very effectively for some added flavor.
The title track is by far the fastest song here, though power metal fans do have a few other songs to look forward to as well. First up is “No Destination”, which isn’t overly fast, but moves at a pretty nice pace and is certainly a very upbeat track, driven by some trance infused keyboards, and it’s definitely a light and very melodic track, with an excellent chorus, as well as some nice supporting vocals from Kristýna Dostálová. Also on the speedier side of things is “My Empire”, which starts off a bit slow, but picks up speed during the chorus and keeps gaining momentum as it goes along, leading to an excellent melodic guitar solo in the second half. After a long stretch of slow and mid-paced tracks, listeners are treated to “Die in Me”, one of the best on the album. It moves at a pretty fast pace throughout, has great riffs and an excellent chorus, as well a very memorable guitar solo, plus it features some excellent guest vocals from Apollo Papathanasio. The last speedy track on the album is “Full Moon Child”, one of the heavier tracks on the album with some excellent guitar work throughout. It has speedy verses and a fairly slowed down chorus, though the chorus has some incredible vocal melodies, and is one of the best on the album. The guitar solo near the end is also excellent, and overall it’s another one of my favorites on the album.
In the slower territory, we start with “Wake Up”, a song driven by some excellent, heavy guitar riffs, which moves at a pretty slow pace, but the verses are powerful and the chorus is extremely melodic and catchy, and definitely one of the best on the album. After that is “Amy”, a lighter, mid-paced track with some fairly soft guitars and some excellent vocal melodies, especially during the chorus. This track is a great example of catchy, engaging melodic metal and is very enjoyable throughout. Next is “Evermore”, another slower track, but also another highlight, as it’s probably the heaviest track on the album and features some pretty cool death growls in a couple spots, as well as another one of the best choruses on the album, and the instrumental section in the second half is as dark and heavy as this band gets. Closing ballad “Hero” is a nice vocal driven track with some soft guitars and some keyboards. It has an amazing chorus and is a pretty nice way to close out the album.
While I enjoy every track individually, I struggle a little bit with the stretch from track 7 to track 10, as I feel having that many tracks in a row without speedy sections on a power metal album is just a bit too much, and this stretch lacks a bit of energy compared to the rest of the album. Judged individually, “Queen of the Stars” is the best of the bunch”, as it’s a beautiful ballad with some nice acoustic guitar work, including a really nice instrumental section in the middle, and it, of course, serves as a great vocal showcase for George. Perhaps my least favorite track on the album is “Winner”, which again uses some trance keys, though it has a bouncier feel to it and almost falls into pop territory at times. It’s a fun track, with a solid chorus, and it has nice guest vocals from Mayo Petranin. After that is “Heal My Soul”, a slow and very melodic track with some great guitar work at points, as well as some nice keyboards during the verses, and it has another memorable chorus, as well as a great heavier section in the second half. Lastly, we have “Promises”, a power ballad with some heavy sections featuring symphonic elements, but throughout the verses and choruses, it’s a softer track with the feeling of a ballad, enhanced by some nice folk melodies. It has some amazing vocal melodies throughout and again features some great supporting vocals from Kristýna Dostálová, who’s much more prominent on this track than on “No Destination”.
Overall, Act of Creation is another excellent album from Sebastien, and while it doesn’t quite have the wow factor of their debut, it’s consistently entertaining release with some amazing vocal melodies and choruses throughout, as well as some great, varied songwriting that’s sure to please fans of power metal and melodic metal.
Written by: Travis Green