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Highlord
Hic Sunt Leones
October 2016
Released: 2016, Massacre Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I remember being quite entranced by the artwork of the second Highlord album, WHEN THE AURORA FALLS… The album was released on the fairly obscure label Northwinds and the cover art was created by none other than Fantasy/Sci-Fi artist extraordinaire, Luis Royo. (At Vance, Elvira Madigan, Graveworm, Messiah’s Kiss, Skylark ) Back the turn of the century during the great global resurgence of True/Power Metal, Highlord were one of the young hopefuls from Italy. I bought the album and it was good but not earth-shattering. My recollection is that they showed some good promise, in a crowded arena but perhaps never quite lived up to their potential. Over the years the band continued to churn and burn putting out a number of albums, defending the faith as only Italians can. The band hopped from label to label to label and eventually settled with Massacre, likely their best position thus far. The result is the release of their 8th album, HIC SUNT LEONES.



HERE BE DRAGONS (HIC SUNT LEONES) is a pretty cool name for an album title, taken from early cartographers and the days of yore. The album could be considered a bit non-descript, in terms of presentation, 10 songs each about 4 minutes long, plus the obligatory intro, decent cover art and the introduction of a new logo. There have been a couple of line-up changes, (three new members joining since the last album in 2013) but you would have to be a really die-hard Italian Power Metal guy to notice the subtle differences.



HIC SUNT LEONES captures every necessary touchstone for a competent and engaging Power Metal Album. The drums pound at fast tempos, solos blaze swashes of keyboards add atmosphere and ambience and vocals soar. Oddly enough it is the ballad ‘Feathers To A Bird’ that really demonstrates the richness of the voice of Andy Marchisio. Generally he sings in a higher range but he has a nice timbre and deeper register for the lush acoustic ballad. To my ears an album highlight is buried in the back-end, a short, speedy cut called, ‘I’ve Chosen My Poison’.



It’s nice to revisit Highlord after all these years, it has rejuvenated me to go back and fill in the gaps in their back catalogue…BUT…I can see why maybe they are still just cruising in the crowded middle tier of a ton of equally competent Italian Power Metal bands.
Track Listing

1. Time for a Change
2. One World at a Time
3. Be King or Be Killed
4. Let There Be Fire
5. Hic Sunt Leones
6. Wrong Side of Sanity
7. Feathers to a Bird
8. Warmight
9. I've Chosen My Poison
10. Once Were Immortal
11. Full Circle

Lineup

Andrea Marchisio Vocals
Marco Malacarne Guitar
Massimiliano Flak Bass
Davide Cristoforo Keyboards
Luca Pellegrino Drums

Contact

N/A

Other reviews

» Heir of Power
by Michael De Los Muertos

» Medusa’s Coil
by Anders Sandvall

» Hic Sunt Leones
by JP


Next review: » Highlord - Medusa’s Coil
Previous review: » Highlord - Heir of Power





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