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Hour of Joy
March 2006
Released: 2005, Black Lotus Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: MetalChick

HOUR OF JOY is this Dutch band’s debut album in the atmospheric metal scene. They’re following in the footsteps of The Gathering, Epica, Lacuna Coil, and After Forever, and this album is a decent step in the right direction. The song writing is solid, and it’s clear that their gem is female singer Saskia van Heugten. Her vocals are not only stellar, but sound-wise stand far above the other five band members. It’s almost like the producer spent all his time perfecting the vocals, leaving the music with a raw, sometimes muffled sound.

This album reminds me so much of Lacuna Coil’s IN A REVERIE. It’s heavy and dark, pretty simple in terms of style, and the vocals don’t take on the operatic tones of Nightwish or Epica. Songs like “The Unknown is Searching the Unfound” have the strength that gets me headbanging, and sometimes they insert some progressive elements with instrumental sections in songs like “Kill the Silence.” And just when I’m getting a bit bored at a slow part, they blast in with some heaviness and I’m into it again.

The songs do become a bit formulaic by track eight; they stick with what they’ve done well so far, stretching their ‘atmospheric’ power to a lengthy 13 tracks. The vocals do get a bit draining after awhile as well, like she spent all she had on the first two-thirds of the album. All that said, though, I do look forward to hearing more from these guys (and girl) in the future. They can only get better.
Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Hour of Joy
3. Inside
4. This Unreachable Mess
5. The Unknown is Searching the Unfound
6. Kill the Silence
7. Circle of Power
8. When Shadows Dance in the Light
9. Captured by the Colour of Faith
10. Perception of Feelings
11. You're Setting Fire
12. Stop Drawing
13. The Show Must Go On (Queen cover)


Saskia van Heugten - vocals
Martijn Brauwers - guitars
Bas Rensen - guitars
Pol Bannier - bass
Stijn Bannier - keys
Mauro Pi - drums

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» Hour of Joy
by MetalChick

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