Released: 2012, Arkeyn Steel
I don’t usually give out a lot of perfect scores. I realize I tend to be a generous reviewer and am always consciously trying to downgrade reviews to give a more balanced perspective. However of my almost 1000 reviews on this site (as of Feb, 2012) I’ve only given out 57 perfect scores, (that’s 5.7% for you math guys) and of those 57 perfect scores, only 33 were for albums, the rest were for books and box-sets and stuff. In all honesty, five or six of those CD’s have not stood the test of time and if I were a revisionist, I’d go back and downgrade those reviews! I won’t tell you which ones, you will have to guess, but, no it’s not the Manowar, Yngwie or W.A.S.P. ones.
There is some conventional wisdom among reviewers that says when reviewing a CD, "Don’t go with your initial impression”. “Avoid getting caught in the hype or swept up in the excitement”, “Wait a while, see if it stands the test of time.” (ie. repeated listens) and so on. Generally I sort of agree with those sentiments but there are times when you hear an album that is so perfectly suited to your tastes that you instantly love it, and for me, Dragonsclaw’s debut album PROPHECY is one of those albums.
Why not get swept up in excitement once in a while? Does a CD review always have to be cold, cool and calculating, professional and full of journalistic integrity? Is this The Economist or Metal-Rules? PROPHECY fucking rocks!! I stand by my 5 out of 5 with pride.
From the opening (mighty) scream by Giles Lavery on the lead-off track ‘Darkness Within’, I had a shit-eating grin on my face a mile-wide that I still haven’t wiped off. I instantly knew this was the album for me AND a very contender for Album Of The Year for me. “Those are bold words JP, especially so early in the year!”, I can hear you say, but damn the torpedoes, Dragonsclaw is that good. Imagine the perfect blend of the first two Racer X albums, and Priest’s PAINKILLER, mixed with old 80’s Queensryche. Oh yeah. Hell yeah. It’s that good. If you are looking for a more contemporary reference think Crosswind perhaps.
This new band comes roaring out of Australia with this ten song, 45-minute album of metallic bliss. Back to the golden pipes of Lavery for a minute. You have to hear the scream he holds at the end of ‘Rising Power! With his range, power, clarity and impassioned full-on metal delivery, he instantly leaps into the elite class of vocal gods. Every song is filled with raging Power Metal, riffs everywhere, solos flying all over the place. Lead off single and video ‘Defenders Of The Skies is the best song about aerial combat since ‘Aces High’. (If you don’t get the reference you might be reading the wrong webzine) I wanted to join the Air-Force and defend my nation after hearing the lyrics to this song.
I virtually never reference a bands own promo material when writing reviews. However at times it’s hard to come up with the right combination of words so let’s see what it says on their Facebook Page.
“Dragonsclaw boast a sonic alloy of aggressive yet catchy song writing, soaring vocals powerful melodies and blazing guitar solos combined with symphonic orchestration and imaginative lyrics.”
That statement sums it up as well as I ever could. Let’s also mention the relentless double-kick drumming that powers many of the songs with power and precision. Keyboardist Ray Martens adds some depth and ominous colour to songs like ‘Life Through Anubis’ Eyes’.
What else can I say? I think it’s the perfect album and will enjoy it for years to come. Let’s finish this review off with a cliché ending, you can choose your favourite; you have read them all before.
-Sure to make many Top 10 lists of the year…
-If you only listen to one new band this year…
-Do yourself a favour and check out….
-Buy or Die.
Anyone one of those will do because PROPHECY by Dragonsclaw rules.