Rating:
N/A
Drakkar - When Lightning Strikes
16 January 2012


01. Hyperspace - The Arrival
02. Day Of The Gods
03. The Armageddon Machine
04. In The Belly Of The Beast
05. Revenge Is Done
06. When Lightning Strikes
07. Winter Soldiers
08. Salvation
09. At The Flaming Shores Of Heaven
10. We Ride
11. The Awakening
12. My Endless Flight
13. Aftermath - The Departure
14. Engage!
15. New Frontier


Rating in words: If you're a fan of power metal, especially of epic or symphonic power metal such as Rhapsody Of Fire or Blind Guardian, you should hear this. Others should exercise caution, but most likely won't leave feeling like they've completely wasted their time.

2012 has only started rolling in and already we have some power metal that isn't boringly mediocre or cringe worthy. True, When Lightning Strikes isn't as fresh as Iron Fire's new album, or as awesome as Pharaoh's latest effort, but it is equal parts metal and epic, and hasn't managed to bore me even though this kind of power metal is my least favorite. What makes it different? The answer is cliché, but true: it's about love.

Drakkar are not only country mates, but also peers of Rhapsody Of Fire, being founded in 1995. However, this is only their fourth full-length: ever since 2002, they've issued just one EP. You can clearly see that the guys are hungry for playing music, and they've backed it with a comic-style, sci-fi story - it is about a man who reincarnates through time because aliens are using him as a living recorder of the history of mankind in order to "judge" us. Getting your geek gear on is a requirement.

Now that you're familiar with the history and concept (you've got to love me for being this thorough), let's talk about the actual music. Drakkar's power metal assault is targeted at the middle part of the register on every scale you were to measure it on - how come? Every tempo is mid to fast on When Lightning Strikes. There is a fine balance between the heavier guitar riffs and symphonic parts rich in flare (just like in every other album I've reviewed, they come from the keyboards), and quite a bit of audible bass too, but unfortunately the production isn't strong enough to support it all so at least one part drowns the other in the actual mix. The vocalist's got a strong, bard-like voice and delivery which will appeal to people who are bored of dog whistle vocals in power metal, since he sings almost exclusively in the middle range.

If this is so fairly balanced, why isn't anyone drooling over it? Aside from the formerly mentioned weaker production, the songwriting could be more polished - this complaint of mine is targeted at some vocal lines and arrangements which were not as catchy and strong as I'd hope them to be. Going for the not obviously catchy solutions adds to unpredictability, so the band could benefit a lot from it, but only if they have enough skill to pull it off. Originality is also under a big question mark here - Drakkar aren't ripping off any particular band, but have got on them the mark of almost every recipe once liked in the power metal scene, which can be easily filed under answering to prayers of nostalgia, but also noted as another case of a band contributing nothing "new". The listeners can decide for themselves - I think it's a bit of both.

Even though this hasn't got a lot of potential to wow people who aren't orthodox power metal fans, I enjoyed it quite a bit because the love Drakkar feels for their music is tangible in every note, and it is hard not to get infected by their enthusiasm. Whether the band will be considered as the ones to carry on the torch of decent Euro power metal or as a band which arrived too late to the party, only time will tell, but I hope for the former. In order to do that, some improvement will be due, but I see in them great potential.


Band profile: Drakkar
Album: When Lightning Strikes


 



Written on 25.02.2012 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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theFIST - 25.02.2012 at 10:43  
Beautiful cover, but i dislike power metal
Milena - 25.02.2012 at 10:47  
Written by theFIST on 25.02.2012 at 10:43

Beautiful cover, but i dislike power metal

My level of dislike for power metal depends on various factors, but I definitely do dislike the cover
theFIST - 25.02.2012 at 11:03  
Written by Milena on 25.02.2012 at 10:47

Written by theFIST on 25.02.2012 at 10:43

Beautiful cover, but i dislike power metal

My level of dislike for power metal depends on various factors, but I definitely do dislike the cover

i agree that the displayed content in it might not appeal, but the painting style is great, so i like it
Kuroboshi - 25.02.2012 at 13:21  
What BG era are we talking about?
Beckari - 25.02.2012 at 14:02  
Lovely review, Mora!
Although, I have to say, I like the cover art! It has a sort of enchanting, mystical feel to it which kinda matches up to power metal.
Rulatore - 25.02.2012 at 15:13  
I like BG and RoF but couldnt get into this one, who knows, still a nice review congrats Mora
Milena - 25.02.2012 at 16:17  
Written by Kuroboshi on 25.02.2012 at 13:21

What BG era are we talking about?

Not a BG fan, but I believe that's the "middle" era I've compared them to - if that's how you guys call it. The actual sound is different, but the approaches are the same - big, epic scale metal, symph, there's even a couple of interludes thrown in there
R'Vannith - 25.02.2012 at 16:20  
Nice review, I remember hearing their previous full length at some point and found it pretty poor, but as you say it's been 10 years since that one so surely they've improved. And yes, that cover is ugly.
Milena - 25.02.2012 at 16:28  
Written by R'Vannith on 25.02.2012 at 16:20

Nice review, I remember hearing their previous full length at some point and found it pretty poor, but as you say it's been 10 years since that one so surely they've improved. And yes, that cover is ugly.

It was kinda hard to write this review, because, well, this is mostly for people who listen to a lot of power metal, but I didn't wanna discourage anyone who'd like to try it, despite of its flaws (the production mainly) it's a lot better than some other new power metal albums we get and the guys are pretty awesome.

There has been a singer change since the previous album and their previous singer is a guest on one of these songs... the two singers couldn't be more different. The new one isn't perfect but I do enjoy his voice and his singing a lot, he's got that really strong, middle range vocal you don't hear in power metal a lot.
Wes - 25.02.2012 at 23:11  
Thanks a lot Mora.
Ag Fox - 26.02.2012 at 11:59  
Thorough or not, I love you anyway, Mora
Milena - 26.02.2012 at 13:30  
Written by Ag Fox on 26.02.2012 at 11:59

Thorough or not, I love you anyway, Mora


Finally someone who loves me for me and not my supreme skills in overthinking.
strade - 27.02.2012 at 03:51  
I'm about to check it out right now. When it comes to this style, it can be good or really, REALLY bad.
Milena - 27.02.2012 at 10:54  
Written by strade on 27.02.2012 at 03:51

I'm about to check it out right now. When it comes to this style, it can be good or really, REALLY bad.

Well, I made it through the album a lot of times and I didn't despise my whole existence, so it isn't really really bad I'd rate it somewhere in the low 7's but I had to recommend it. It's really, like... geek: on, metal: on and rumble. That's how at least some of power metal should be.

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