Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Power/Melodic Metal
Erik “Power” Grönwall – Lead Vocals
Jona Tee – Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
1. A New Horizon (Intro)
2. We Unite
3. Stronger Than Steel
4. Cry For Freedom
5. Call Of The Underground
7. Event Horizon
8. The End Of All
10. Gate Of The Gods
With so much music released every week, it’s easy to miss albums that deserve recognition. This one slipped through the cracks on us for sure. When you think of Erik Grönwall the terrific vocalist of former H.E.A.T fame, and now with Skid Row, you don’t think of power metal music in general. But this project took a lot of people by surprise. Not necessarily because Erik can’t sing in this style, honestly with his power house vocals, he can sing anything in any style if he chooses to. That is what we have here, a project started by another former H.E.A.T. player in Jona Tee with initially having multiple singers in mind, that quickly changed when Erik came into the studio and just took over. I can see this one missed by fans and critics initially since some of the stuff I’ve read have said this style doesn’t work and this and that. Honestly, it doesn’t matter his vocals can make any project look good.
The musicianship is top-notch though, It is traditional Power Metal in all its glory, but it is well done and adding Erik’s vocals to the table just makes the whole experience even more powerful.
We do have multiple guest appearances here from the following: Robban Bäck (Mustasch), Sam Totman (DragonForce), Love Magnusson (Dynazty), Dave Dalone (H.E.A.T), Niko Vuorela (Temple Balls), and Laucha Figueroa are all guest musicians/contributors to “Gate Of The Gods”.
The 10 quick tunes creep on you from the beginning as “We Unite” just melts your face in with power from its core, Grönwall’s voice is superb as usual!!! But this one just sounds like any traditional power metal tune, nothing stands out from an instrumentation perspective. The next one in “Stronger Than Steel“, does pick up a bit with a more melodic structure, and again vocals are great. A melodic Erik is always a good day. We get this here with “Cry For Freedom” one of the stand-out tracks on the record. The pacing and rhythm here just work out better, excellent sharp melodic solos, drumming, and just overall a great vibe to this tune. The folky fervor in “Call Of The Underground” stands aside as unique and diverse, not because of its folk undertones, but in the album’s running order itself. Another high-pace churner comes via “Event Horizon“, this particular tune manages to blend in more melodic/power into a full-throttle vigorous verse again. The chorus in this one stands out from the rest as well.
Epic comes to mind when the chorus in “The End of All” melts through your ears, Erik once more takes normally mid-level pacing to another level with his high-rise antics, the chunky guitars, and solo here do excel and make this another top-notch tune on the album.
Look if you are expecting some groundbreaking power metal, then you may as well be disappointed. Not to say the music isn’t good, it is and with Grönwall’s power vocals, I’m honestly not at all surprised that you have such a nice mix and the songs fit his voice quite well I think. No, it’s not typical work you come to expect from Erik, but you know what? Who cares.. is something different and versatile singers can do things like these, he makes it look easy and flawless; that alone is an achievement. I think also this album marks a bit of a personal mark for Erik, as is around the time he was diagnosed with leukemia and started his battle for his life.
For the most part, the albums flow pretty well, ending with a nice Epic in “Gate of the Gods“, just don’t come into it thinking is going to blow you away, we know the power metal genre gets a bad rep often because of repetitiveness or staleness. Is hard to stand out from the pack, but saying that I don’t believe that the guys set out to do that. Overall is a nice produced album with solid songs between the lines. I say pick it up and give it a listen I don’t think you will be disappointed if you come at it from a neutral perspective.
Written by: Shadow Editor