Servantes- Инфант / Infant (2014)
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Servantes is a melodic metal band from Moscow that mixes elements of hard rock, traditional heavy metal, and European power metal into an entertaining but, in the end, somewhat superficial first full length effort. The keyboards are smartly employed throughout the record and add a dark, joyous, or experimental tone to the different tunes, but while the guitar work is great, it’s lacking a signature style. The vocals are well performed and should appeal to any melodic metal fan, but I’m missing an edgier and more expressive style here and there. The rhythm section is unspectacular apart from a few selected exceptions. Still, the harmonious and rocking flow of the record and the clever use of a few well-selected experiments bump this record up and make it thoroughly enjoyable.
The most outstanding here is the energizing hard rock anthem “Судьба Пьеро”, with its happy piano work, its great classic rock guitar solo, a short bass guitar solo, and more diverse use of percussion in the middle part. Maybe Servantes would be a better band if it performed primarily classic and hard rock music instead of heavy and power metal, because this is great. My second favorite track is probably the dark and plodding “Я зажигаю рассвет”, with its nearly cinematic oriental folk sounds which add some more depth to the release, but I must admit that I’m pretty into this kind of music, even though it has been overused in the genre over the past few years. The use of almost darkwave-sounding keyboards before the faster power metal-inspired middle part in the catchy “Дуэль” may only last for a few seconds, but they make this track stay on my mind. The joyous power metal tune “Столица” has a classical tone, and the decent use of grounded female backing vocals only add to the celebrative atmosphere.
There is a lot of light on this release, but also some shade. “Война” employs too many keyboard passages and comes along with a weird guest singer that tries to sound like Jorn Lande on an Avantasia record. Humorously, he sounds as if he was a little bit drunk. At least this is an entertaining track, but it’s not exactly excellent material. The longest tune on the release is the ballad “Я ослеп”, which includes synths of classical instruments, an average acoustic guitar performance, lifeless riffs, and exchangeable vocal lines. The whole song would have been average filler material if it had been three minutes shorter, but the unimpressive potpourri drags on for almost seven minutes. For some obscure reason, the second epic track on the release, the album closer “Застывшая симфония”, almost sounds like its musical twin. In my opinion, power metal ballads are either really moving or very unimpressive, as there seems to be no standard for power metal ballads. Servantes tends to write the second kind of ballad, and ends an otherwise solid record on a weaker note. In the future, the band should simply leave out the calmer and more progressive sounds, as they only really convince with the shorter and more rocking tunes.
In the end, Servantes delivers an entertaining melodic metal release with a few rock-infused parts and a handful of successful open-minded experiments. The band always performs well when it adds a few colorful effects, decides to rock out, and writes short and consistent material. The epic tracks and especially the ballads are rather shallow and lack originality. Melodic rock and power metal fans should enjoy this warm-hearted release enough to give it a few spins, but it surely doesn’t reinvent the genre and likely won’t leave a deeper impression.
3.25 // 5