Released: 2007, Limb Music Products
In 2005, Excalion released their debut release, PRIMAL EXHALE, to modest reviews. Most reviewers tended to deduct points due to the similarity between that album’s compositions and the canon of material released by fellow countrymen, Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. Now they have released their second platter of melodic, power metal, WATERLINES, another offering that does not wander too far from the well-trodden path of the marquis bands that they sometimes emulate.
It should be said that what they lack in originality, they make up for with excellent performance, stellar production, and brilliant execution. The musical choices that they make are wise ones. They do not overdo the speedy side of this genre, but they do not wallow in mid-tempo boredom. They all seem to be fine musicians, but they do not feel bound to try and prove it to you every chance they get. Finally, they understand that the key to success in this genre lies in their ability to write melodic, catchy and heavy songs that you will remember when the album is over.
There are several stand-out tracks that you will probably listen to repeatedly. “Life on Fire,” “Losing Time,” and “Arriving as the Dark” are each infectious, hook-laden rockers. Each of these tracks is short, sweet and immediate in its delivery. The degree to which you will enjoy them depends on just how fond you are of this type of Finnish melodic metal. “I Failed You” is one of the best tracks with its bass heavy, clean-guitar verses, piano bridges, and heavy, memorable choruses. The ballad, “Delta Sunrise” also stands out as a rather good arrangement. This track is also very catchy, starting with slight piano and acoustic guitar that builds to a classic, heavier chorus, accompanied by a nice layered acoustic background. This song actually is one of the few on the album that gets to breathe a little bit, and it feels less restrained. The true album closer (excluding the European bonus track, Yövartio), “Soaking Ground” hints at possible growth for this band on future releases. Clocking in at 6:30, this track takes its time getting to the hook, and offers a nice variety of tempos and riffs while getting there. The guitar and keyboard interplay that makes up the breakdown immediately following the first chorus is very progressive sounding, and it leads into an inspired guitar solo that is, like the solos on the rest of the album, more concerned with melody and mood than virtuosity.
These guys will want to be careful of stagnating on future releases as a few of the tracks on this album still feel like safe replications of a formula created by their aforementioned influences. Although there are many standout tracks that we have previously mentioned, the remaining tracks often seem too limited by the formula. Ultimately, though, their expert execution and craftsmanship make this an album worth checking out and this band one to watch for in the future. All the pieces are in place, i.e. a great, unique vocalist, solid musicianship, and an ear for the melodic hook that makes this genre of music good. If they can grow from here, they have a good chance at being a forerunner of the genre rather than just another middle of the pack contender.
Myspce URL: http://www.myspace.com/excalion