Released: 2010, Metalodic
In the summer I came across an album called HYPERBOREA, by a band called Vorpal Nomad, which is just fantastic. I reviewed it in September I noticed the album was released was on the up and coming Canadian label, Metalodic Records, which I knew had been around for a couple of years but I had not given the label the attention they deserved. Impressed by the quality of the Vorpal Nomad, I went to the Metalodic company web-site and basically bought their entire catalogue of eight albums by a roster of seven bands, at a hell of a good price I may add! So now, I’ve decided to review all those releases (minus the Vorpal Nomad of course) in a feature on Metalodic Records to support the label and it’s high-quality, international roster. The bands in the spotlight are Aclla, (Brazil), Caravellus (Brazil), Icewind (Canada), Instanzia (Canada), Kaktus Project (France) and two albums by Kerion (France). Please check out the reviews of these bands in this Metalodic Records feature.
For their third signing Metalodic Records went with a rookie band unlike the first two acts (Caravellus, Kerion) who both had albums under their belt before joining the label. Instanzia is also Metalodic’s first Canadian band, both based in the province of Quebec. The young quartet are surprisingly proficient for such a new band.
My first impression of GHOSTS (MLC 003) are very good with a very nice piece of cover art by JP Fournier (Avantasia, Edguy, Magica, etc) one of the most recognized and in demand Metal cover artists of the recent decade. It is a good score to have his art on your debut! The rest of the package for this has a nice thematic feel with good artwork, lyrics and credits. Instanzia recruited the impressive services of Diego Kasper of Hibria for a guest solo spot on ‘The Desert Fox’ which is a centerpiece on the album, an 11+ minute WWII epic about the life of Erwin Rommel (aka The Desert Fox), the German Field Marshall of the North African Campaign. The eight song disc is also well-produced for their first effort.
One of the greatest strengths of this album is the fairly unique feature of that many of the choruses are sing in a gang vocal style. Although Alexis Woodbury is the primary singer there are some utterly massive hooky choruses with choral like tendencies, moreso than true ‘gang’ vocals ala Twisted Sister. Woodbury’s voice is clear and powerful in more in the mid-range but he can really belt it out, but he almost never songs the chorus on his own, or at very least his voice is heavily layered. Either way it is a good sound.
The music is mostly Power Metal, with some progressive tendencies and lots of melody. The songs are pretty quick for the most part, lots of speedy drumming and riffing with underlying swashes of keyboards, which are not necessarily used as a lead solo instrument but used to reinforce the main riffs. The riffs are classic metal riffs that drive the songs along well. The songs are smooth and flow well, not lots of stops and starts, but ebb and flow and swell to those magnificent epic choruses that I mentioned before.
Hooky, memorable, and engaging songwriting combined with slightly metaphysical lyrics, make GHOSTS a very enjoyable album. I hope Instanzia continues on to have a long and productive career. A fine debut.