Released: 2009, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Narval, coming all the way from Puerto Rico, features members of Dantesco and Sacrilegio, whose purpose was to make an unique fusion of 70s, 80s and 90s era heavy metal and progressive rock. Encompassing 3 totally different decades of heavy metal and progressive rock for one album is quite a task to do even from highly experienced musicians, and I don´t think that the guys in Narval have quite acquired all those essential and important musical elements for their self-titled debut album, within a long span of 3 whole decades, to give a more substantial credit for their relatively pompous goal on this release.
Sure thing, hearing some tiny bits from heavy rock/metal bands like Rainbow, Dio, Uriah Heep, Warlord, Tarot and such in Narval´s songs, it just doesn´t give them enough credibility for advertising their package as the 3 whole decades uniting metal/rock thing unless you are a musician yourself whose roots aren't deep down somewhere in some certain decades, and you have personally been able to create music from one generation to another - and probably even understand truly the sounds of those decades and what they are all about. Yes, a pretty epic and even quite dramatic sounding stuff this is, so all the credit to them for achieving at least that for this record. But I neither find that much of that progressive rock thing ála Jethro Tull or Kansas from Narval´s sound at all for that matter though, nor I think Narval´s stuff can have much to do with Manowar´s stuff either. I just don´t find a link to that type of pompous metal that Manowar represents. Well, enough too hard analyzing though.
What is good in Narval, is the use of two different type of vocals that both fit into Narval´s somewhat progressive and epic type of heavy rock/metal. Erico uses quite a lot of these Halford-type of high-pitched screams within the songs, but the most dominating type of vocals are surely his quite dramatic, a bit of operatic type of vocals that partly locks in the right place very well from time to time, but then some other times they sound like they are just out of place somehow, and start even irritating me a little bit. Or maybe it´s just that my ears need to get adjusted to them a bit more before the last doors into a rewarding world of these songs are completely allowed to open for myself?
I can, however, openly subscribe to the presence of Rainbow´s, Tarot´s and especially Dio´s influence in Narval´s sound. A song like "Blood Pact" could be Narval´s own "Stargazer" while the beginning of a song "King of Dream", could well be their own answer to some song off Tarot´s TO LIVE FOREVER album. The music is surprisingly heavy, kinda progressive and rather cleverly built-up - and undoubtedly many of you are relatively keen on checking them out, I believe. However, this ain´t necessarily the kind of album that might open up for a listener based on the results of the first couple of rounds. It needs some time to get fully into it - at least that´s what it did to me. Narval´s self-titled album is a pretty damn good wholeness all in all despite my suspicious thoughts about it at first.