Kenziner - Phoenix review



Reviewer:
7.6

16 users:
6.88
Band: Kenziner
Album: Phoenix
Release date: June 2020


01. Eye Of Horus
02. Listen To The Devil
03. Shadow Of The Moon
04. Tears Of Destiny
05. The Mirror
06. Osiris Rising
07. Curse Of The Pharaoh
08. To Hell And Back
09. Phoenix Rising
10. The Miracle


Neoclassical power metal is probably one of my favourite subgenres of power metal. As a result, I'm always excited when there's a new release. This time we have Kenziner's new work, Phoenix, their fourth full-length album and the second since the band's reformation in 2012. What can you expect from this album?

I'll start with the production. And truth be told… there isn't a lot to talk about. It's the standard modern power metal production with a little bit of extra grit in the guitar department. Everything sounds really solid and balanced, if a bit predictable. The neoclassical elements have a prominent place in the mix (as it should be), and these elements add a lot to the enjoyability of this album.

Next, I want to talk about the vocals. I recently read some comments somewhere that said that the vocals aren't powerful enough and that Stephen Fredrick would have done a better job. Now, I'm the first one who would get excited at the idea of more albums with Stephen on them, but I disagree with those statements; Piotr Zalesky delivers a good performance on this album, and I think his voice fits perfectly with the style of the band. This album doesn't necessarily need a gravelly voice; the clean vocals are more than enjoyable and engaging enough throughout Phoenix. But what about the lyrics? Well, they are Egyptian-themed and they completely fall in line with what I expect from most power metal albums. Overall okay, with some cheese here and there.

By now you've probably realized that, while I do like this album, it didn't necessarily blow me away. It's competently put together, but there aren't a lot of songs that feel extremely exciting to me. I think the biggest issue I had with the album is the flow of it. Don't get me wrong; the pace is quick enough to keep your attention until the end. It feels like it's running at one speed, however. Compare it to a rollercoaster. Which is the more effective, the one that goes at 75 km/h for the whole ride or the one that keeps fluctuating between 50 km/h and 100 km/h? Well, that's how I feel about this record. A bit of fluctuation without losing any flow would have helped. A song like "The Miracle" is one of the few tracks that could have added that. Unfortunately, it's the last track on Phoenix's list of songs, so that potential as a change of pace is wasted a bit.

So yes, I do think this is a good record. Is it one I will regularly come back to? No, not really. But I do think it's worth a listen if you like power metal. And definitely give this one a shot if you like neoclassical power metal. We don't get enough albums in this subgenre, and this one is an overall enjoyable experience throughout.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8


 



Written on 24.09.2020 by You know I'm right, you just haven't realised it yet...


Comments

Comments: 14   Visited by: 60 users
25.09.2020 - 01:01
musclassia
Congrats on your first official review! I'm not all that familiar with neoclassical power metal, aside from Yngwie Malmsteen if he counts (and I guess bits of Stratovarius go in that direction), who would the big names in that subgenre be?
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25.09.2020 - 01:49
tominator
At best deranged
Written by musclassia on 25.09.2020 at 01:01

Congrats on your first official review! I'm not all that familiar with neoclassical power metal, aside from Yngwie Malmsteen if he counts (and I guess bits of Stratovarius go in that direction), who would the big names in that subgenre be?


Thanks! Yngwie definitely counts in my book and Stratovarius does indeed have some touches of it as well here and there.

Then there's Majestic which is a Swedish band. They made 2 albums around the 2000s. As far as I know, they don't exist anymore.

Eternity's End also has 2 albums. Their first is really good. The second I remember being a bit underwhelmed by (but I might have to give it another listen to really make up my mind).

And my personal favourite is Iron Mask. Dushan Petrossi's second band (Magic Kingdom being the first one he founded). Honestly I overall prefer the Iron Mask stuff over the Magic Kingdom stuff. Diabolica is a fantastic record imo and easily one of my favourite power metal albums of the last couple of years.

Magnitude 9 has a couple of records but I've only heard one so far.

There are probably a couple more, but those are all the ones (apart from Kenziner) I know. So I'm always excited when there's a new one coming out.

By the end of the year there should be a new Iron Mask album. I'm really looking forward to that one.
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25.09.2020 - 02:02
musclassia
Written by tominator on 25.09.2020 at 01:49



By the end of the year there should be a new Iron Mask album. I'm really looking forward to that one.


Cheers for the suggestions; I'll keep an eye out for this one then for sure!
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25.09.2020 - 10:13
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Well well, look who is on the main page now

Can't say I'm that interested in the band or the genre in general, but I can make an exception this time
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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25.09.2020 - 10:29
tominator
At best deranged
Written by RaduP on 25.09.2020 at 10:13

Well well, look who is on the main page now

Can't say I'm that interested in the band or the genre in general, but I can make an exception this time


Not going to lie, seeing my name on the main page looks kind of strange.
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25.09.2020 - 10:31
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by tominator on 25.09.2020 at 10:29

Not going to lie, seeing my name on the main page looks kind of strange.

You'll get used to it
----
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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25.09.2020 - 11:17
nikarg
Mod
Welcome to the front page! We could surely use some more melody there

Like Radu, I am not the biggest fan of the style (although I did like Yngwie when I was younger) but I will listen to this. I totally agree with the roller-coaster comparison, I find the lack of flow and the single-speed albums to be a bit boring regardless of style.
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25.09.2020 - 11:37
Callisto
I did like a lot their first 2 records, they were neoclassical proggy and had a misterious sound to it, mostly because of low budget production I guess.

Listening to Phoenix, I think that mistery is mostly gone but the songwriting is quite good, so I agree that they have lost some personality but overall is very enjoyable album.

And to the list of recomended Neoclassical --> Adagio and everything Richard Anderson did (Majestic, Space Odissey, Time Requiem etc...) is highly recomended. Does anybody knows whatever happened to him?
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25.09.2020 - 20:18
tominator
At best deranged
Written by nikarg on 25.09.2020 at 11:17

Welcome to the front page! We could surely use some more melody there

Like Radu, I am not the biggest fan of the style (although I did like Yngwie when I was younger) but I will listen to this. I totally agree with the roller-coaster comparison, I find the lack of flow and the single-speed albums to be a bit boring regardless of style.


Thanks

I've noticed that with some of my friends as well. Some absolutely love Neoclassical stuff, and some don't like it at all.

Honestly, the last couple of years I find that the single-speed issue is something I get across more and more. And I think I'm starting to tolerate it less these days. Too often it results in an album with not enough depth to it.
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25.09.2020 - 20:46
tominator
At best deranged
Written by Callisto on 25.09.2020 at 11:37

I did like a lot their first 2 records, they were neoclassical proggy and had a misterious sound to it, mostly because of low budget production I guess.

Listening to Phoenix, I think that mistery is mostly gone but the songwriting is quite good, so I agree that they have lost some personality but overall is very enjoyable album.

And to the list of recomended Neoclassical --> Adagio and everything Richard Anderson did (Majestic, Space Odissey, Time Requiem etc...) is highly recomended. Does anybody knows whatever happened to him?


Right, Adagio is one that also falls under the Neoclassical category. Completely forgot about them! For some reason I always think of them as a progressive band. Tbh the only album I've listened to from them was Underworld and that was quite some time ago. I really should give their other work a spin some time.

Don't really know about Richard Anderson. I'm only familiar with his Majestic project. But according to Wikipedia his last album was released in 2006. Seems like he isn't making new music these days.
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26.09.2020 - 15:57
JoHn DoE
Just finished listening to it and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I did not expect the songwriting to be this good.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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26.09.2020 - 18:46
tominator
At best deranged
Written by JoHn DoE on 26.09.2020 at 15:57

Just finished listening to it and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I did not expect the songwriting to be this good.


Yes, this is imo an allround solid album. Very competently put together. And like I mentioned in the review, I find it an enjoyable record throughout. It just misses some variety in speed and a production that has a little bit more character.

So yeah, I feel like it doesn't really have the staying power of an album that I will keep listening to in the future, but I enjoyed every listen I gave it. so far.
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27.09.2020 - 17:14
JÄY
Metal slave
Great album. Nowhere near the magic of their first release tho... That's when bands (or labels) weren't afraid to dial the neoclassical to 11.

Also a great newer neoclassical band is Moon Reverie
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28.09.2020 - 01:26
tominator
At best deranged
Written by JÄY on 27.09.2020 at 17:14

Also a great newer neoclassical band is Moon Reverie


Thanks for the recommendation. Definitely going to check them out one of these days.
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