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Released: 2001, Black Arrow Point Music
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Ever wonder what Ozzy would sound like if he sang for a classic German power metal outfit? Wonder no more. Aragon have arrived to satisfy your insatiable curiosity!
Warnings: (1) there’s a guy on the cover wearing armor and carrying a sword; (2) this band is from Germany; (3) they’re all wearing those lace-up pirate shirts in their band photo; (4) one of the members is named “Stefan”; (5) the song titles contain words like “Quest,” “War” and “Blade”; and (6) did I mention that this band was from Germany? If you’re still with me after these red flags, welcome to a great power metal album! They’re not tremendously over the top, and this is one power metal band that has at least kept a lid on the sometimes irresistible tendencies to use medieval instruments (lutes, harpsichords, etc.) or indulge in gaseous, overblown intros. Indeed, Aragon is generally quite reasonable, and there’s probably something here for the non-power metal fan. Listen to some great guitar stuff in “The War Has Begun,” or even some vaguely doomy passages in “Scream” – this is not just for Rhapsody or Blind Guardian fans. Of course you must sit through a ballad, “Fading Love,” which is so-so at best, and some other stuff that isn’t exactly tops in the originality department (shouted, fist-in-the-air choruses, for example). But for my money, you can’t really go too wrong with this. It’s a fun listen. And yes, it is true – for a touch of originality, we have vocalist Matthias Schmitt, who isn’t quite a dead ringer for Ozzy, but about 85% there. I still can’t quite imagine the madman himself wearing a pirate shirt, swinging a sword and wailing in front of a galloping melodic guitar line, but at least you kinda hear what it might sound like.
Aragon got me interested enough to stick around for their next album. While that’s not too hard a task to pull off with me when it comes to power metal, I still think traditional metal fans will find something of value in them. Deutschland uber älles – once again!
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