Released: 2003, Arise Music
France's Fairyland first appeared in 1998 as Fantasia, but it was not until 2002 and the acquisition of ex-Dark Moor siren Elisa C. Martin and ex-Heavenly guitarist Anthony Parker that the ball really started rolling for this group of symphonic power metallers. Fairyland first caught my attention for having a name that, in all honesty, invites as much derision and jokes as I can imagine. But after hearing it for the first time I understood that Fairyland is the best possible name for this band. With their debut album OF WARS IN OSYRHIA, Fairyland has proven themselves a force to be reckoned with in the symphonic power metal world.
All the typical superlatives of the genre are the only words to describe the music, but one must say them a hundred times before the words will do it any justice. Extremely epic, absurdly bombastic, so heavy with keyboards and choirs that it feels like the music will collapse under it's own pomp and circumstance. Sweep arppeggios and rolling thunder double bass and sparkly keyboards are the name of the game here. Many have written off this band as a Rhapsody clone, but this band really takes all of the best elements of the best moments of the best Rhapsody songs and turns it up to 11. From the obligatory string based intro "And So Came The Storm" to the opening gallops of "Ride With The Sun" to the final chords of "Of Wars In Osyrhia" Fairyland never once let up in utter bombast. The juxtaposition of Elisa C. Martin's incredible female vocals and male choirs is especially effective. It is also extremely refreshing to hear a band with a female singer who isn't doing the operagoth style that Nightwish's Tarja Turunen has proven the queen of.
Okay, we're all well aware that the most tired and overdone lyrical themes in power metal is that of fantasy. But when a band like Fairyland does it this damn well, it's hard to object. But it's a story we've all heard before, a thousand times over. Ancient evil awakens to take over a peaceful land so the people must rise and fight etcetera etcetera etcetera. When it's music that so much resembles the soundtrack to The Neverending Story though, it's hard to imagine any other sort of lyrical theme.
Overall, this is an unforgettable debut from a band that I cannot wait to hear more from in the future. If you liked Dark Moor, Rhapsody, and Freedom Call then Fairyland is a sure thing for you. If their debut was this good, I can't even wait to hear what the future has to hold for these Frenchies.