Released: 2010, 7 Hard
Minuetum hail from Greece (Athens) and are part of the somewhat incestuous scene down there. To wit: Guitarist Jason Mercury used to be in hard rock band Outloud, which features Greek musical mastermind Bob Katsionis on guitar who also contributes guitar to this release. Further, Katsionis played in Revolution Renaissance whose own mastermind Timo Tolkki, despite not being Greek, mixed and mastered this album. It’s enough to make your head spin. Fortunately, Minuetum’s music is not so complicated and is the perfect way to relax.
See, HAUNTED SPIRIT is catchy, straightforward power metal, drenched in tinkling keyboards (the keyboardist is the main songwriter), full of sing-along choruses and tasty guitar riffs. Truthfully, this is some very flowery stuff – in fact it’s the very definition of flower metal that those that dislike power metal point to. The thing is though; it’s actually pretty enjoyable in spite of itself. That being said, it’s far from perfect. The most glaring flaw is vocalist Dimitris Zacharpoulos. His vocals are just plain dull and lifeless, with very little to speak of in range, power, or performance. He’s not terrible, just boring.
Fortunately, the riffs and keyboard leads make up for some of the missing flair. The fiery “Key to Glory” and “The Dark Half” are fast-paced numbers while “Hero Divine” is a more traditional mid-pacer. The highlight though is “Eternal Twilight” which, at 11-minutes, is the albums epic and also the most engaging song.
Minuetum are not going to change anyone’s perception of keyboard-driven power metal, and I doubt they will rise into the ranks of the Stratovarius’ and Hammerfall’s of the world in terms of recognition and sales but they are solid. If keyboard-laced power metal is your thing, give Minuetum a listen, you won’t be disappointed.