Released: 2002, Arise Records
Arwen is one of those bands where you pretty much know what to expect from the band name and album cover. This is what happens when you name a band after an elf maiden. Arwen is a slightly symphonic, melodic power metal band from Spain. The band is made up of eight members, two of whom serve as vocalists. As many metal bands are want to do of late, this is a male/female vocal lineup. Nacho Ruiz handles most of the vocals and comes off sounding a bit like Andre Matos, formerly of Angra. He sings somewhere in the spaces between mid and high range, with a sort of 80s new wave vibe and some whine. Unfortunately, this particular singing style doesn’t add a whole lot of punch. Thus, lines like “If I cry will you feel my tears if you die” from the song “Between Love & Pain” sound not just confusing, but extremely weak. The other vocalist is Carmen Castano, who spends a lot of time in the background, but does have a decent voice.
The album consists of 11 tracks and starts with, as one would expect, a classically inspired instrumental intro called “Transcendental Overture.” Though I give it the thumbs up for being better than most of these sort of album intros, it’s one fault is that it goes on a bit longer than it should. The album then transitions into the song “Dreamland”, which is the strongest track on the album. Throughout the rest of the album the songs remind of a Sonata Arctica without that band’s gift for melody and structure. Arwen can’t be faulted for their musicianship, since they do execute the music well. However, musicianship is of no worth if the songwriting isn’t strong and this is where Arwen falls short of the mark. Nothing on the album really grabs. Arwen has nowhere to go but up though, since many a good power metal band started with a knack for musicianship, but being weak in the songwriting department. Edguy comes to mind. In fact, though I wouldn’t actually compare them to Edguy musically, I would suggest that fans of bands like Angra, Sonata Arctica or Freedom Cal might want to check Arwen out.
I could not find a website for the band, but if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about them or would like to download a music sample, check out the record label’s website: http://www.arisemetal.com