Right. So. After their 2016 debacle, the atrocious Heroes of Mighty Magic, Twilight Force parted ways with the arguably best part of the band; vocalist Christian Eriksson. Okay. Well. Granted. He was replaced by a pretty well reputed Italian, who arguably is an even better vocalist; Alessandro Conti (sometimes known as poor man’s Fabio Lione), perhaps best known for his work as stand in for Fabio Lione in Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody before Turilli ditched that and rejoined with Lione. Anyway, my point is Conti by all means seems to have downgraded like something terrible, joining up with six piece Twilight Force. Judging by the tracklist the album is somewhat downsized after that colossal failure of an album they called Heroes of Mighty Magic, they’ve learned a lesson or two about overstuffing, which at first glance is good news, but ultimately turns out to be a double edged sword. The album is by no means better sounding than its predecessor, but the shorter runtime means we get to hear less of it at least.
Positives first, Conti’s good, if somewhat clumsy, being a less than great fit for the style; the darker sound of his two Rhapsody albums fit him better and let him stand out as the lead. The music has matured somewhat since the last album, the songs being more cohesive efforts in their own right and while still bloated in places is far from the over indulgent faux epics that permeated the previous album. That slightly simpler approach to the structuration is a benefit to the album, but still, there’s little in way of moderation and everything here is just about everything is thrown together in a colossal pot of fairly standard symphonic power metal. Also, just as inexplicable as it was three years ago, they somehow manage to make it sound like Christmas music. The slight twinkling in the keys and the jingle bell sound they toss in everywhere, not to mention that piano ending to Winds of Wisdom, just what the cris cringle is this? I mean, the lyrics don’t seem to disagree with me either; ”Joyful chants of delight, magic in the air/Fated crowning of a king, praised through the lands”.
They have neither the musical proficiency of Dragonforce, the world building and song writing of the Rhapsody they so long to emulate or even the emotional, cheesy sincerity of Power Quest. It’s all just glittery, empty nonsense strewn over a few good ideas and a handful of decent musical parts and melodies. Hey, come on that solo trading in Thundersword is pretty sweet and there’s that elephant in the room that is semi redeeming closer Blade of Immortal Steel, where the guys capitalize on the cheesy nature in the right ways (though it still sounds like Christmas music) and the honestly pretty damn sweet melodic parts interspersed with a couple of interesting folksy ideas; it’s not overdone either so it’s a positive way to end the otherwise useless album. So there are some good parts, certainly, but it does not outweigh that with Dawn of the Dragonstar Twilight Force cement the bloated void they began with the previous album. What happened to the former vocalist, Christian Eriksson? He went ahead and joined NorthTale, and released a pretty good album about a month ago. Listen to that instead of this crap.
Standout tracks: Blade of Immortal Steel