England’s Powerquest is an example of how one guy can keep the Metal fire burning. BLOOD ALLIANCE is the bands 5th album and only the keyboardist, Steve Williams still in the band since the last album in 2008. Many bands don’t survive a wholesale Exodus (or firing) of 80% of the band, but Steve has persevered and produced one of the bands strongest albums.
I’ve always enjoyed this band since I reviewed the debut here on this site back in 2003 and despite the massive line-up change the consistency is still there. The band still has the backing of Napalm Records so naturally we get a world-class production and presentation capped with a nice piece of cover art by Felipe Franco who has been heavily used in Power Metal circles in the past couple of years. (Axenstar, Rhapsody of Fire, Pagan’s Mind, Emerald Sun, Blind Guardian)
While I enjoyed the vocal work of former vocalist, Alessio Garavello, Steve has recruited current Red Circuit vocalist, Chity Somapala who I consider to be a superior singer. Other might agree as Somapala resume includes working with Avalon, Firewind, Powerworld, Domain and several others. His voice is clear, powerful and expressive. He is truly an underrated singer. I really like his utilization of his lower tones on cuts like ‘Crunching The Numbers’ while he can still hit the higher notes with ease.
After a long-ish intro the band the band tears into ‘Rising Anew’ a classic high-speed race through Metal realms. Next up is ‘glorious’ with it’s very uplifting and inspiring lyrics, urging us the listener to keep fighting the good fight. I feel the band has injected even more harmony and melody into the songs on this record. Not everything is superfast this time out. Tracks like ‘Sacrifice’ with it’s uber-hooky chorus and 80’s pop sensibility (in a good way) sounds like it could have come off an album by Tarantula, Jaded Heart, Ten, or Eden’s Curse.
The new guys Gavin and Andy can play guitar like there is no tomorrow inter-twined very elegantly with Steve ever-present keyboard lines. The songs are upbeat, even happy, lilting tones bring a new sweetness to the songs. I might suggest that this mild change in style might alienate a few older fans but open a few doors for new fans. It’s a very welcome return indeed because BLOOD ALLIANCE is slight re-invention and progression without sacrificing quality or the elements that attracted me to the band in the first place.
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