Released: 2007, Napalm Records
Anyone moderately conversant with power metal will know what to expect with this album from the title, BLADE OF TRIUMPH, and the cover artwork, featuring dragon-headed ships and a warrior holding his sword high. If you’re not sure what to expect from these clues, the unimaginative song titles should convey the rest: “Dragonheart,” “Dawn of Victory,” and “Steel Invaders.” Oh yes, we have some power metal made of steel, not clay, here. If you’re into glory, this album is for you.
Hark! True warriors, only ye should take note of this well-played and catchy release. All you need before raging into battle awaits you here. You have your double-bass speedsters, like the opener, “Dragonheart.” There are the more mid-tempo head bangers reminiscent of bands like Mob Rules or Hammerfall, such as “Follow the Sign,” “Jackal’s Eye,” and “Bloodbath of Kings.” Then, you have your Rhapsody-ish songs that feature folksier clean guitar melodies that build to epic choruses like “Lord of the Labyrinth” and “Legend of the Magic Sword.” Vocalist Martin Steen has a perfect, clean voice for the hooks that carry most of these numbers, and the band plays everything just fine with lots of intricate guitar solos.
In the end, though, it is just too paint by numbers power metal to appeal to anyone outside of the Dungeons & Dragons set. While everything is played great, there is nothing exciting about any of it. These guys take no chances at all. The production is perfectly glossy, perfectly taking out any edge that the music might have. The lyrics are abysmal, easily written by anyone who ever heard a Manowar album or read a Dragonlance novel. Bands that excel in this genre often have these same shortcomings, but they succeed because of their high intensity level, something that is missing on this release. Hardcore power metal fans will most likely find something that they will enjoy here, but casual genre fans should pass and wait for a more volatile and diverse offering from someone else this year.