It is starting to happen, I can’t quite put my finger on it but a nice blend of genres is starting to happen. There are a few young bands that take the gory and majesty of Power Metal, the pomp and ceremony of Goth and Prog, the speed of thrash and the vocals of Death and Black Metal. Some bands have experimented with this great blend before, Cradle Of Filth from England, Galneryus from Japan, Lost Horizon from Sweden and more recently Pathfinder from Poland and Wintersun from Finland. It’s almost as these new young bands like Starkill are taking Dragonforce level intensity and skill and putting on the harsh vocals. Whatever the formula is, it is a fantastic sound.
Starkill is a young band out of Chicago, formerly known as Massakren and before that as Ballistika. With a couple of demos and an independent album under their belt, they made the jump to the big-leagues quite early on and signed with Century Media. I’m pleased that the label signed something so cutting edge instead of pandering to an established mainstream audience as they have done so often in the past decade. The band seems to have everything going for themselves; a wicked band name, cool pentagram type logo, classic Metal album cover art, and lyrics and song-titles that would make Manowar proud, all nicely presented in a digipak.
Best of all, the quartet can really play. The songs are very well written and arranged, epic, fast with many variations in tone and tempo. There are some orchestral and symphonic parts laced among the blitzkrieg of speed. The band have really thrown so much of the best parts of multiple genres and come up with a sound that is very fresh, yet still ultimately rooted in classic Power Metal with soaring melodic solos. Most often I don’t rank originality very highly because so many bands fall into the trap of being original for the sake of being different and they lose sight of the roots of Metal and just end up being weird. Starkill is original and with a firm grasp of the true core of Metal. This is one of the most exciting debut albums (even though it is technically their second) I have heard this year.
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