Released: 2001, Steamhammer
I am in awe. Brazen Abbot guitar virtuoso Nikolo Kotzev has created a concept album of epic proportions here. Centering around the life and prophecies of legendary seer Nostradamus, this 2 CD mammoth is truly a masterpiece. Split into three acts, the story roughly traces Nostradamus’ life, loves, prophecies, and his dangerous encounters with the Inquisition. The music is just about what you’d expect: Euro-metal in the vein of Rainbow/Deep Purple with dashes of power metal and symphonic choirs thrown in for good measure. Being that it was entirely written by Kotzev, the disc is actually not based around his guitar – it is more vocally driven. Don’t get me wrong, on heavier songs like “Desecration” and “World War III” Kotzev gets to shred like we’d expect, but it’s still within the context of the song. In fact, all the musicians get to show off a little bit throughout the album. Then again, with a band this impressive, you shouldn’t expect any less. Just check out who plays on this thing: Drums: Ian Haugland. Bass: John Leven. Keyboards/Organ: Mic Michaeli. Not too shabby eh?
So, if t he album is vocally driven, who are the vocalists? Needless to say, it is an impressive cast. As you’d expect there are quite a few characters and each one has either a legendary vocalist or a soon-to-be-legendary one. Joe Lynn Turner turns in a great performance as Nostradamus, Glenn Hughes is fantastic as King Henri II of France, and Goran Edman’s Ghost is cool as all hell. Of interesting note is the inclusion of two Canadian singers as the female leads: Alannah Myles and Sass Jordan. These decidedly non-metal singers blend in perfectly with their male counterparts. I could go on and on here but suffice it to say that every single performer on this album turns in a virtuoso performance. O.K., I’ll indulge myself in one more: Jorn Lande. This guy is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite singers in metal and his work here as the Head Inquisitor is stunning. A brilliant job!
Well, now that I’ve rambled on here, let me just finish by saying that if you are even the slightest fan of melodic metal – you need this album! When the time comes, this is going to be my vote for album of the year. Bravo!