Sweden’s Dionysus takes its band name from the Greek god of wine…quite a cool idea for a band name. Olaf Hayer is likely the name power metal maniacs will recognize from the band line-up thanks to his vocal prowess demonstrated on Luci Turilli’s (Rhapsody) solo CD. Olaf has a voice of pure fucking gold and is the main reason why this CD is so good. I realize some people are tired of the abundance of melodic euro power metal bands that are a dime a dozen. If you have that opinion but like some power metal, then don’t miss out on this one if just for the vocals. If you have that opinion because you just don’t like melodic power metal, than feel free to skip to the next review and miss out on the band…your loss!
My promo copy of ANIMA MUNDI opens with three versions of the song “March For Freedom”. It is quite unnecessary to have 3 edits for differing radio formats as the opener…but the song is very cool, perhaps the best on the CD. Olaf branches out on this one singing the verses with a rougher vocal style before the uplifting chorus. The song is a mid-tempo anthem with a huge chorus that will be stuck in your head after a single listen. After the anthem feel “March For Freedom”, the band slips into typical power metal mode with the thundering drums, keyboard etc…however it’s done so well I can’t help but be won over. There will always be a place for this type of band in my CD player. Another standout is the song “My Heart is Crying” – yeah a silly song title but the vocals and melodies on the song are excellent. In places (“Closer to the Sun” and “Promised Land”) the band sounds more like a neo-classical Yngwie band and that is a good thing in my books. The album’s title track is also killer and is one of best power metal tracks of 2004. The only song on here that I have to skip over is “Forever More” since I’m not a fan of sappy ballads. If you get a good look at the glorious album cover art, besides drooling over the harem, take a close look at the face of the Greek god of wine…who knew that Aragorn (Lord of the Rings) was not only the returned King, but a fucking god! Ha!
While this is not the most original power metal album I’ve heard, it’s above par in terms of musicianship and especially with regards to the vocals. If the band can keep things together and strive for a little more originality in the power metal scene, they could be unstoppable. For now they will no doubt remain revered by power metal freaks and overlooked by other metal fans.
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