Earendel - Earendel (2014) - A mixed bag from Iceland's power metal pioneers - 63% (15/07/14)
Earendel is a young power metal band from Skagaströnd in Iceland, which has just released its self-titled full length effort. The low budget production, the weak drum sound, the fluffy keyboard melodies, and the predictably fantasy-inspired lyrics about dragons, sorcerers, and unicorns are all minor negative elements, but overall the band delivers a debut that can convince if given the time. The sextet has a good sense for epic atmosphere and catchy melodies. The song writing is also varied enough that the album never becomes redundant for me.
“The Pioneers” is influenced by classic heavy metal guitar play in the style of Iron Maiden, and is a solid opener. Many tracks on the album have a slight NWOBHM vibe after all, which distinguishes the band, and which I like a lot. “Fall Of Gondolin” is much faster, and quite an epic-sounding track that should appeal to fans of early Helloween. The record includes a couple of similar tracks, and the vocals in these songs make me think of Stratovarius in the mid- to late-nineties.
Continuing, “Wonderlust” is a slow ballad that sounds a too mellow, and where the vocals step out of tune. The other ballad, “World Of Wonder”, almost sounds like a religious campfire track, but works a little bit better. Combined, these songs remind me a little of Epiclore, but Earendel really finds its own niche. I must admit though that the ballads are definitely not amongst the band’s strengths.
“Riders Of The Storm” is much better, as it has a more aggressive vibe (similar to Blind Guardian), and the middle part of the song even includes a few black metal shrieks. This track really diversified the album for me, and being full of energy, I would cite it as the outstanding song on this record.
Earendel’s first strike is nothing innovative or outstanding, but it’s a solid and entertaining album that shows off a lot of potential. I will be keeping Earendel’s name on my mind and look forward to its future development. The classic power metal songs and heavy metal tracks are filled with authentic enthusiasm and are quite convincing on this album. If the band came around with more experimental tracks like the bleak and powerful “Riders Of The Storm” instead of a few shallow ballads, Earendel would be even more interesting. Power metal fans should take half an hour to check this debut album out on the band’s official Bandcamp presence.
Originally written for Black Wind Metal« Epica - The Quantum Enigma (2014) - Probably the band's greatest effort so far - 86% (15/07/14)Dream Theater - Dream Theater (2013) - A hit and miss compilation - 70% (15/07/14) »
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