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What Will Prevail
Released: 2016, Massacre Records
In an effort to get caught up in the massive amount of high quality material released in the past six months or so, I reviewed almost 30 albums this month and I can say without the hesitation that WHAT WILL PREVAIL by Thornbridge was one of the very best, tied for first place in fact with another new band from the States.
It starts off with a perfect formula for success, a German Power Metal band on Massacre Records with excellent cover art by Juano Castellano. The Spanish artist Castellano is far more well known for his long and prolific career doing Death Metal album covers but his early step into fantasy art is excellent remind us of the superb work of Gary Smith and Andreas Marshall. The bands name is cool, the title unique and mysterious and it fits the imagery very well. The song titles are classic Metal sounding titles as well. I’ve said it before, even if the stars align like the above-mentioned factors, the music still has to rule and does it ever!
Thornbridge is the love child of Orden Ogan and old Blind Guardian who was raised by Rock ‘n’ Rolf. Yes, it is a dull way to label a band, but it is appropriate and if you are going to have a band compared to others why not two of the best? After the obligatory instrumental (swirling, orchestral and very epic) opener, the new quartet rips into ‘Blow Up The Gates Of Hell’ and I knew right away it was going to be a special album. The gruff but accessible vocals of Jorg Naneder lead the charge with a very nice Helloween-esque riff bouncing along propel the song into battle. The huge gang-vocals add a big dynamic, and that element appears in many songs. The earlier Orden Ogan comparison is apt as vocalist Jorg has sung guest vocals in the last Orden Ogan albums and they returned the favour with former Orden Ogan member Nils doing backing vocals. In fact the same choir that did the backing vocals on RAVENHEAD did the choirs on WHAT WILL PREVAIL hence the very welcome similarity. All the vocals on this thing are huge, lending them selves to big crowd-pleasing sing-along chants. I often am reminded of those huge multi-choral harmonized vocals invented by Queen, refined by Savatage and some say perfected by Hansi Kursh and co.
The band picks up the pace on the next track’ The Dragon’s Reborn’ and they blast across the skies never truly sacrificing heaviness, crunch and grit for a happier Euro-Metal sound. I’m not surprised this sound is becoming so popular, it is melodic, catchy but not too sweet and squeaky clean, which turns off some metal fans apparently. The riffs come thick and fast anchoring the album with good weight and power and a nice meaty guitar tone. Just when it can’t get any better they add narration, sound-effects, and orchestral elements, especially predominant on ‘Symphony of The Battlefield’ a song that would bring tears of joy to Manowar. All the songs fall into the 4-5 minute range, leaving us wanting more but never truly overstaying their welcome. There is not a single bad song or tune that feels like filler. I’m going to cut this review short before I start to gush.
There is a whole elite group of bands like this style; Persuader, Sinbreed, Savage Circus, Brainstorm and the aforementioned Orden Ogan, all following the path that Blind Guardian blazed to glory and THORNBRIDGE is as good as any of those bands. WHAT WILL PREVAIL is the most exciting new band and album I’ve heard in 2016 and am supremely confident it will be in my Top 10 list at year end.
2. Blow Up the Gates of Hell
3. The Dragon's Reborn
4. What Will Prevail
5. Coachman's Curse
6. Symphony of the Battllefield
7. Eternal Life
8. Neverwinter Nights
9. Under the Ice
10. Tower of Lies
11. Galley of Horror
Patrick Rogalski Vocals, Guitar
Jörg Naneder Guitar
Patrick Burghard Bass
Maximilian Glück Drums
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