Next review: » Magic Kingdom - Symphony Of War
Released: 2015, AFM
It is no secret that I am a big fan of Magic Kingdom. I gave their last two studio album perfect scores and the new album SAVAGE REQUIEM is virtually no exception.
It has been five long years since SYMPHONY OF WAR and a lot has happened since then. The band has jumped from the Limb Records label to AFM, which is a solid move. Almost the entire line-up has changed with only Vasiliy (bass) and founding member, Petrossi remaining. The band has taken a very international composition with Vasilly from Russia, Petrossi from Belgium and newcomers Michael Brush (drums) from the UK and new vocalist, Christian Palin from Uruguay. I must admit it is very hard to replace Olaf Hayer, one of the best vocalists in all metal but young gun, Palin does a very good job.
SAVAGE REQUIEM features the stunningly gorgeous and metallically awesome artwork of French artist, Stan Decker, Decker has been doing Metal cover art for about 15 years but is really starting to get the recognition he deserves with recent high-profile albums covers for Timo Tolki’s Avalon, Jorn Lande, Vanden Pla, Stryper and of course the new Magic Kingdom. The art is fantastic and if you look closely you can see cool details such as the skeletons getting vaporized by the dragons breath! The 11 track album runs just over an hour and comes in a number of collectible editions and boxes, most of which are sold-out by the time you read this.
Fortunately, the new line-up is a talented as the previous roster and song-writing has not suffered either, maintaining the high level of quality as the previous albums. The whole is just raging neo-classically inspired Power/Speed Metal. Palin’s majestic vocals soar over top of crunchy riffs, pounding drums and thunderous bass lines all working together in perfect synchronicity. Petrossi perhaps shows a tiny bit more restraint when it comes to the amount of solos making this SAVAGE REQUIEM not quite as guitar intense, but he is still among the elite world players and truly epitomizes the definition of under-rated. The album is not quite as ‘epic’ as SYMPHONY OF WAR it is a bit more song-oriented with multiple strong stand-alone tracks instead of a thematic storyline. The album also has a touch less orchestration and symphonic elements but slightly catchier songs on terms of the choruses.
Oddly enough, I felt the album does not start as strongly as the others. In my opinion the best songs, ‘Ship Of Ghosts’, ‘With Fire And Sword’ and my favourite, ‘Four Demon Kings Of Shadowlands’ all come later in the track sequence. Lyrically the album weaves epic tales of dragons and angels and other appropriate Power Metal topics all delivered with conviction by Palin.
SAVAGE REQUIEM could be considered a very slight departure form the previous couple of albums and maybe Magic Kingdom is a bit more in-line with Dushan’s other excellent project, Iron Mask. These are subtle distinctions, that will be perhaps only recognized by dedicated fans of Petrossi, however, no matter how you (over) analyze it, SAVAGE REQUIEM is a fantastic Metal album sure to please any fan.
1. In Umbra Mea
2. Guardian Angels
3. Rivals Forever
4. Full Moon Sacrifice
5. Ship of Ghosts
6. Savage Requiem
7. Four Demon Kings of Shadowlands
8. With Fire and Sword
9. Dragon Princess
10. Battlefield Magic
Christian Palin Vocals
Dushan Petrossi Guitar
Vasiliy Molchanov Bass
Michael Brush Drums
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