• Servantes - Инфант / Infant (2014) - It could be a great experimental hard rock band - 70% (04/12/14)

    Servantes - Инфант / Infant (2014)

    Servantes is a melodic metal band from Moscow that mixes elements of hard rock, traditional heavy metal and European power metal to an entertaining but in the end somewhat superficial first full length effort. The melodic keyboards are smartly employed throughout the record and may add a dark, joyous or progressive tone to the different tunes. While the melodic guitar work is great, it’s lacking a unique signature style. The vocals are well performed and should please to any melodic metal fan but I’m missing an edgier and more expressive style here and there. The rhythm section is mostly unspectacular apart of a few selected exceptions. Still, the harmonious and rocking flow of the record and the clever use of a few well selected experiments that never go too far and sound well integrated into the songs rate this record up and make it thoroughly enjoyable.

    The most outstanding song on 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 even a more diversified use of percussions in the middle part. Maybe Servantes would even be a better band if it performed mainly classic and hard rock music instead of heavy and power metal. My second favourite track on the album is probably the dark and plodding “Я зажигаю рассвет” with its nearly cinematic oriental folk sounds that add some more depth to the release but I must admit that I’m pretty much into this kind of music even though it has been overused in the genre over the past few years. The use of almost dark wave sounding keyboards before the faster power metal inspired middle part in the catchy “Дуэль” may only last for a few seconds but makes this track stay on my mind. The joyous power metal tune “Столица” has an almost sacral tone and the decent use of grounded female back vocals only adds to that 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 somewhat tries to sound like Jorn Lande on an Avantasia record. Humorously, the guest singer actually 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” that includes synths of classical instruments, an average acoustic guitar performance, lifeless riffs and exchangeable melodic vocals. The whole song would have been average fill material if it had been three minutes shorter but sadly the unimpressive potpourri drags on for almost seven minutes. For some obscure reason, the second epic track on the release which is the album closer “Застывшая симфония” almost sounds like its musical twin. In my opinion, power metal ballads are either really moving or rather unimpressive as there seems to be no average power metal ballad. Servantes tend to write the second kind of ballads and end an otherwise solid record on a weaker note. In the future, they should simply leave out the calmer and pseudo-progressive sounds as the band really convinces in the shorter and 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 convinces when it adds a few colourful 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 won’t leave a deeper impression after all: http://metalism.bandcamp.com/album/infant

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