Released: 2001, Indie
It warms my heart and puts a smile on my face to hear a band like Dragon Warrior. Canada has often been a place that has NOT produced melodic style European metal. The nation is known more for its thrash (Anvil, Razor, Exciter) and death (Cryptopsy, Kataklysm) oddly enough. Lately there has been a small movement of bands influenced by Helloween and Blind Guardian and not surprisingly these bands are coming from Quebec.
Along with Crystal Castle and Forgotten Tales, Dragon Warrior is one of the latest entries into the melodic power metal sweepstakes. The self titled debut has eight songs but is really an EP in my mind as 4 of those eight instrumentals that are under 2 minutes in length and are usually intro’s or outro’s.
This CD in terms of presentation is good but not great. The cover is dark and the logo needs refinement. Some critics would say that the name is derivative and unoriginal. I would argue that with the thousands of bands out there is room for a dozen bands with the word “Dragon” in their name. It is no different from the dozen death metal bands with the word “Necro” in their name. I’m not stupid, I can tell the difference between a dozen bands with similar sounding names, but other find the need to complain about such trivial things. The packaging is standard meeting all the basic requirements of lyrics, photo, credits and so on.
The production is a little thin but they are a young band and I’m sure time and money was a factor. This five-piece play inspired metal with galloping drums and riffs and fairly traditional arrangements. The vocalist, Robert Charest, I find is a weak point. His voice sounds like he is straining. He has a good range but lacks power. His vocals seem a bit whiny and maybe too far back in the mix. I bet a vocal coach and a good producer could really make his voice shine. His talent is obviously there, but at times it sounds like English is not his first language as some the emphasis on certain syllables sounds forced.
Lyrically these guys offer virtually nothing new but that is acceptable because
I love songs with fantasy elements. If you demand originality in your music songs like “Guardian of the Ring” and “Steel Heroes” will not satisfy. As for me, I like the idea of longer songs with instrumental intros telling tales of dragons and warriors. Overall this is a very decent effort and I can see these guys making the jump into the big-time on a bigger label like Limb or Underground Symphony who would give them the budget, producer, artwork and polish they need to be global-class. And when that day comes I will hold my copy of Dragon Warrior up and say with pride, “I was an original fan!” It is not too late for you to check them out. E-mail dragonwarriorkingdom@caramail
for more info.