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Released: 2003, Self-released
One of the greatest things about metal is that it is a truly international phenomenon. There is a metal scene in just about every country, however unlikely: from Botswana to Slovakia. In fact, Slovakia is home to power metallers Vindex. Just so you know: Slovakia is in Central Eastern Europe, and Vindex is Latin for "the defender" or "the keeper". Vindex, as might be surmised from the triumphalistic name, plays upbeat symphonic power metal.
Vindex plays music that is based on twin-guitar neo-classical melodies. The interplay between the guitars is very accomplished, with numerous great harmonies especially on "Lonely as one can be". Incidentally, I was very glad to see that the band acknowledged the inspiration of G.F. Handel for one of the solos in that track. Too often neo-classical bands take classical compositions and plagiarise them without citing the original composers.
In power metal, two vocal styles are common: the gruff style of Udo Dirkschneider of Accept or Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger, and the soaring tenor made famous by Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske of Helloween. Thankfully Vindex opts for the former with a vocalist who, interestingly, was found via an Accept tribute band. This gives their music a rough edge to offset the smooth compositions and thus prevents the songs from becoming overly sentimental.
The production is very good for a demo recording; perhaps it helped that at least two of the band members have sound engineering experience and were thus able to mix and produce the album themselves. My only real criticism of this 23 minute demo is the fact that they were not able to find a drummer in time for the recordings. Thus they used a drum machine. While their drum machine is not particularly annoying, a real drummer would most certainly benefit the power of the music.
All of the songs on this demo can be downloaded from the Vindex site. I can recommend this band to fans of neo-classical power metal, as well as to those curious of metal scenes in "exotic" parts of the world. It will be interesting to see how Vindex will rise up to the challenges of being a player in the international metal arena.
1. Shadows Fly
2. The Thunder
3. Lonely As One Can Be
4. Children of Tomorrow
5. Here I Am
Ronnie K├Ânig - Bass
Ludek Struhar - Vocals
Ado Kalabar - Guitar
Jozef Rigo - Guitar
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