I like these guys way more than they probably deserve. It’s the combination of old-school speed metal virtuosity, soaring melody, clean vocals, and really, really beautiful men (I’m looking at you, Herman Li) that just plain makes me happy whenever I listen to these London-based fantasy rockers (OK, mostly it’s the beautiful men, I’m married, not dead). I don’t think they’ve ever recorded a song that runs under seven minutes (or let one of their inevitable guitar duets clock under two), they specialize in the anything-that-sounds-epic-and-rhymes school of word salad lyric writing, and one of their best known early tracks (Valley of the Damned) has a chorus that shamelessly plagiarizes Pachabel’s canon.
None of that matters, these guys may be cheesy as hell, but they’re also damned good at what they do (i.e. playing really fast and being really pretty, for those who haven’t been paying attention), even if they did name their latest album after a Steven King novel (Maximum Overload).
They’re currently finishing up the first leg of a US tour with Florida rockers Kamelot and should return to the US for a second leg in the fall. Sadly, I just realized that I will be out of town on vacation about the time they’ll be in my neck of the woods. Life is full of disappointments.
And just in case you thought I was kidding about the whole Pachabel’s canon bit. Sorry, no official video, so you’ll have to settle for random rip-off fantasy artwork to keep your eyes busy while you listen.
Not kidding about the virtuosity either, check out the sound of dueting guitars at a blazing 240 BPM.
Finally, just because I can’t hear any version of this song without having good memories of attending too many beer fests in Germany, I’ll leave you with their recent cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.
Official website here.
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