Dragonland - Starfall review


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Band: Dragonland
Album: Starfall
Release date: October 2004

01. As Madness Took Me
02. Starfall
03. Calling My Name
04. In Perfect Harmony
05. The Dream Seeker
06. The Shores Of Our Land
07. The Returning
08. To The End Of The World
09. The Book Of Shadows Part I: A Story Yet Untold
10. The Book Of Shadows Part II: The Curse Of Qa'a
11. The Book Of Shadows Part III: The Glendora Outbreak
12. Rusty Nail [X Japan cover] [Japanese bonus]
13. As Madness Took Me [demo] [Japanese bonus]
14. Starfall [demo] [Japanese bonus]
15. Sole Survivor [Helloween cover] [Japanese bonus]

The first time I got in contact with Dragonland was after the release of their second album (last on Black Lotus Records) "Holy War", and I was stunned, all those melodies and keyboards really took me by storm, and that album is still one of my favourite Melodic Power Metal albums.
So it's not that strange that I really was looking forward for this album, plus that Nicklas (Guitars) told me like a year ago that this was the best they every written.
My expectations were sky-high.

Dragonland was formed in 1999 and they released their first album through the Greece Label Black Lotus in 2001 and the second in 2002.
Most of the members are know for playing in bands like Prophanity (guitarist Nicklas), Nightshade (Bassist Christer) and Nostradameus (drummer Jesse). And keyboarder Elias also helped King Diamond on their 2001 tour and Falconer on their second album in 2002.
"Starfall" is their first album on Century Media, and the first with drummer Jesse.

You know how it is, high expectations and the album way to often becoming bad, or at least not as good.
Unfortunately that's the case with Dragonland, but I don't know if it's just my expectations that haunt, or if this album is just plain simple, not as good as "Holy War". Personally I think it's a mix of both.
The material on "Starfall" feels quite simple, there are no surprises, it's just "good", and that's bother me, because if you remember "Holy War", there was a song called "Through Elven Woods and Dwarven Mines", how special isn't that song? I mean, the keyboards are awesome in the beginning and the song it self a damn good.
But on "Starfall" there aren't anything even close to that, just usual Melodic Power Metal songs from the start until the end.

The music here is also almost to "sweet", it's too much keyboards and the vocals are not as impressive at before, Jonas has actually became a little monotonous, maybe it's to much now, three album with the same kind of voice, no changes.
But there are some parts that I find good, one thing is the production (handled by Tom S. Englund from Evergrey and Arnold Lindberg, sound technician for Europe on their ongoing tour), the album is actually recorded in Tom's own studio in Gothenburg. Another thing is the guest appearance on "The Shores of Our Land" where Tom is lending out his voice, and I think it's in this song Henrik Danhage (Evergrey) plays some guitars too, plus the lovely female vocals, that's unmentioned in the promo-sheet.

So to conclude it all I have to say that I'm disappointed with Dragonland, "Starfall" is not their best album, first of all I think it's to much keyboards, the guitars got a role in the behind, and that's a shame, since the guitars are Dragonland's strongest part.
But overall the album is ok, a quite usual Melodic Power Metal album that I think only will be bought by Dragonland fans and fans of the over-melodic Power Metal.
I personally hope for a much better second album on Century Media from Dragonland.

Check Out: "The Shores of Our Land", "The End of the World" (Where guitars get a chance to lead, just heard the intro) & the ending trilogy "The Book of Shadows Part 1-3".

Written by Malcolm | 17.11.2004



Comments: 3   Visited by: 68 users
29.05.2009 - 06:44
I'd have to agree with this review. However, the bonus cover of X-Japan's Rusty Nail is a bigger highlight, IMO. Dragonland just.... lacks something without the speed metal guitar stylings and fantasy themes. Honestly, this band just lacks on this album. One of the things that made them great in their first two was their storytelling, and that's all but gone here.
29.05.2009 - 07:28
To the reviewer:

"Having very high expectations for an album is the first step towards deception"

I so often see people read a few details about a future release, details that are often marketing in fact, and then immediately post "Wow, I can't wait, it will be awesome!".

How can you know in advance an album will be awesome? I say take it with a grain of salt and keep being skeptical. I've seen too many albums that "will be awesome" turn up as a turd to praise albums in advance and not be a bit suspicious. I always try to keep my expectations as low as possible. This way, you're much less often disappointed.
"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
16.10.2010 - 16:59
I agree with this review in the fact that they overuse the keyboards; but I think its a good thing rather than a pejorative thing. Songs such as Drean Seeker and most notably, The Returning [which quite frankly is an incredible song] really illustrate just how beautiful melodic keyboards can be. I think this album draws Dragonland further into the Epic Symphonic category which is definetely good.
Evil? I am not Malevolent, I simply am!
Apocalypse, X-Men

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