Released: 1999, Independent
I don’t know what is in the water in Sweden but I want a big bottle of it shipped to me A.S.A.P. It never ceases to amaze me the number of great bands that come out of this northern country. It is the birthplace of the Gothenburg scene of melodic death metal , other awesome bands such as Hypocrisy and Entombed, powermetal heavyweights Hammerfall and many other up and coming bands such as The Storyteller, Eternia and Dionysus. Now to add to this long but not exhaustive list we have Olympia. Morning Rainbow is a 5 track E.P. containing an intro, 2 instrumentals and 2 with vocals. According to Olympia themselves they make music for fun and for themselves. Well they have also made a great disc that can be enjoyed by fans of powermetal or just good old straight forward classic metal. Among their influences the band sites, among others, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Nightwish, Iron Maiden, etc etc etc.... The members of Olympia are Johan Karlsson: guitars, Hansi Kallio; guitars, Miko Tuominen: bass, Juha Tuominen: drums, Maria Marcos: keyboards, and Annica Johansson on vocals.
The release opens with the keyboard and guitar composition "Serenity" which leads right into "Monastery" , the first instrumental. This is the first song ever written by the band and contains great mix of thrash and Maiden inspired riffing with the odd little Helloweenish passage thrown in for good measure. I am not normally a fan of instrumentals but I have to admit to liking this song quite a bit. The first song with vocals is "Sons of the King". Here we get to hear Annica’s voice for the first time. She does not disappoint as she has a very powerful voice. The lyrics are of the medieval kind and feature the story of 2 brothers trying to regain the throne from the man who killed their father when they were children, AWESOME!!!! Up next is another instrumental named "Tears of the Castle". This one is more in the Malmsteen vein of neoclassical metal. The CD closes with "Morning Rainbow". This song contains a 3 minute guitar solo in the middle and lots of little time changes. Great song and great way to finish out a good E.P.
Let me say a few things about this release first. The production is top notch. I found it hard to believe that this was an independent release when I first heard it. Great sound is so important in making a first impression and Olympia makes a good first impression. Since the release of this E.P. Olympia have gotten a new vocalist as Annica has other projects and was never a permanent member. The band has also begun work on some new songs that should be available soon. Overall this is a great release and I look forward to hearing more from Olympia. If you want to check out more about the band and hear the songs that are on this release visit their website http://w1.315.telia.com/~u31511094/Olympia/index.html.htm