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Dragon Guardian
Destiny Of The Sacred Kingdom
December 2011
Released: 2011, Independent
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

It may seem odd but I get a bit dismayed when I discover new Japanese bands that I really enjoy. More often than not I’ll discover a cool band from Japan, like Dragon Guardian, and then I find they already have several albums available as expensive imports only! Not only are the Japanese bands very talented, they are very prolific. Dragon Guardian is another perfect example of this. Founded in 2006 the band has just released their 7th full-length studio album! DESTINY OF THE SACRED KINGDOM is actually the bands sixth studio album released earlier in 2011 and they already have another new one after this one!

According to their web-site, this a remake album and they have a bunch of EP’s and singles so the discography is a bit confusing. It blows my mind that these bands can be so professional, so prolific and still have such a low-profile in the larger Metal community. Japanese Metal bands for the most part really are insular. I take it a point of personal pride to try to change that by using our very cosmopolitan site with our international team of writers, to expose our readership to the amazing talent from around the world. Hence this is the first Dragon Guardian review on our site but it is the 9th band to be called ‘Dragon-Something’ that has a review on our site! I see a trend emerging…

Perhaps meeting expectations DESTINY OF THE SACRED KINGDOM is full-on, high-pitched, high-speed Symphonic Power Metal. This album is fast, really fast. The whole thing (nine songs) blurs by in 41 minutes. The drums are programmed, no one can play that fast. If the drums are real and the guy can play that fast Mike Mangini wants to shake his hand and the Guinness Book of World’s Records would like a word with him. Canned drums aside the production is a bit high and thin, lacking some punch and power but these bands tend to exist in the mid to high ranges anyway so it’s fully acceptable.

Lyrically, the band explore already chartered realms of fantasy with songs about dragons and swords and magic books which again is par for the course and the vocals are delivered with clarity. The vocalist whose real name is Ryo Moriguchi has picked a rather Italian sounding stage-name of Leo Figaro, so again it comes as no surprise that he emulates an Italian style Symphonic power Metal delivery. Good! We need more singers who can actually sing with range and power and No, I’m not being sarcastic. Having a Japanese dude pretending to be Italian is a bit odd but also cool, quite similar to when redneck kids in Alabama dress up and pretend to be grim and necro Norweigan Black Metal dudes. There is nothing wrong with emulating your heroes if you have the talent to back it up and Leo certainly does!

The compositions are top-notch, the guitars and fast and furious the whole thing is just so over the top ala Dragonforce you have to smile! There is acoustic piano, mellow cello, and enough double-kick drumming to give you a seizure. I love this type of music. It embodies every characteristic I love about Metal. However, I realize I’m fully biased and just love this type of neo-classical, symphonic speed stuff. I fully agree with our rating system of 4/5 (meaning every Metal fan should own this album) BUT…perhaps you should approach with caution if the whole glorious and epic, Yngwie+Rhapsody+Dragonforce-on-crack thing isn’t your cup of sake. For the rest of us Power Metal warriors, DESTINY OF THE SACRED KINGDOM will blow you away.
Track Listing

1. Overture
2. Treasure Land
3. Mountain of Sword
4. Holy Dragon vs Evil Dragon
5. Requiem
6. Book of the Magic
7. Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom
8. The Never-Ending World
9. Red Emperor


Leo Figaro-Vocals
Arthur Brave-Music, Composition, lyrics,Programming.

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