Keywords for this review will be power metal, hold on to your butt because you’ll be reading the words a lot. Swedish power metal sensation Veonity are releasing their third album, Legend of the Starborn, and it’s high time to raise your axes to the sky. Story wise Legend of the Starborn seems to pick up somewhere around where predecessor Into the Void (2016) left off, but it also puts a twist or three to the narrative’s cheesy balls. This time it’s about Viking warriors (so far so power metal) and… Space Atlantis? Honestly, it’s a little hard to keep up, but the mighty choruses will have you sing praise to the Starborn and chant doom upon the tyrants of Atlantis in no time. The material showcases a clear growth since the previous album - not to mention first album Gladiator’s Tale (2015), with all throughout incredibly cohesive efforts by the band members.
With many power metal bands simplifying *cough*dumbing down*cough* their sound, Veonity takes it in the other direction. With Legend of the Starborn they steer their flashy, over the top cheesy brand of power metal into slightly more progressive territories; with some of the song lengths and structures here hinting of such at times, while still remaining firmly in power metal territory and just dabbling in the sidelines with neighboring styles and genres. Vocalist and guitarist Anders Sköld pulls some mighty shouts and delivers each verse with plenty of passion beneath every syllable. Perhaps the strongest guiding light is the guitars, by Samuel Lundström and Sköld, be it in the flashy high notes and solos of Gates of Hell or the flashy guitar antics in Outcasts of Eden take sharp turns for the huge and epic in tracks like Rise Again and rifflicious Warrior of the North, ever complemented the tight rhythm section with Kristoffer Lidre’s fleshy bass lines and the steady groundwork laid by Joel Kollberg’s drums.
Some passages are repetitive, making several of the songs slightly overlong, with the chorus often being repeated one time too many. Case in point being otherwise stellar opener Rise Again, which might benefit from a 20 or 30 second trim, to feel more concise. Couple that with the fact that only a single track is under five minutes in length (excluding The Prophecy), and Legend of the Starborn can be a daunting listen, that certainly needs you to give it time. Granted, there’s not a single moment here where you’ll be bored; it’s an adventure from start to finish and pure entertainment, cheesy in all its gloriousness, and there’s always something going on, most often with Lundströms guitars which are a delight to listen to. Unfortunately, the closing third of the album isn’t entirely as gripping as the first two. After album highlights Warrior of the North and Gates of Hell, the last four tracks kind of mesh together with balladry and some unnecessary pandering in closing track United We Stand. It just never really hits as hard as the preceding highs, though To the Gods would be a great closer if ended on that note.
Hold on to your butts, I’m going to pull references here to very recent outing by Marius Danielsen’s Legend of Valley Doom. In comparison to said project, Veonity know to stick to the music, and do their thing with flying banners and great passion and intensity whereas Danielsen may have recruited all the great vocalists, but the latest Legend of Valley Doom release still had me skipping ahead from undeserved ballads and crappy narrations (way to waste Olaf Hayer, Danielsen). Veonity screws that unnecessary shit and goes with what guitarist Lundström calls, “not the most innovative album of the century, but it’s power metal in spades”. They know what they do, and they do it so well and with all that love for power metal that’s needed to pull it off. These guys are doubtlessly on a quest to join the greats of power metal, and judging by the material on here and their continued growth, it’s a quest that cannot fail. Any power metal fan should be all over this like yesterday to call out across the land and spread the word to every man; Veonity is coming to town.
Standout tracks: Rise Again, Warrior of the North, Gates of Hell
Power metal count: 10