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Valley of the Lost
Released: 2001, Lion Music
From the cold and snowy north of Sweden come one of the shining new lights of the Lion Music roster. It was only a few short days ago that I got this CD in the mail and it has not left my CD player since. The first spin was just to get myself acquainted with the band but I soon discovered that these Swedes knew a thing or two about creating some quality metal. The band was founded in the town on Kalix in Northern Sweden in 1998 to create melodic powermetal. The lineup is Hussni Morsare: vocals and rhythm guitar, Thorbjorn Englund: lead guitar, Toni Erkkila: drums and Erik Tornberg on bass. The band is also joined on the CD by Mistheria on keyboards for a couple of tracks and also by Lars Eric Mattsson on keyboards and orchestral choir arrangements. Mattsson also provides the production for this CD.
Now to get to this CD. Like I said, I haven’t been able to turn this disc off for the last couple of days. It plays constantly!! Before I even start with the songs I want to give a short description of what the band sounds like. Winterlong plays what I would call traditional/power metal. Morsare keeps his vocals in the midrange but can get up there to hit the notes when he has to and lead guitarist Englund is capable of everything from shredding to soft melodic passages. In all the players just compliment each other perfectly which is one of the reasons I think Winterlong has created one of those CDs which is just so hard to turn off. "From Heaven to Hell" kicks off the release with the traditional Swords and Warriors song which is a staple of powermetal. "Nosferatu" deals with, what ekle, vampires. Great song. Winterlong slows things down a bit on "Mystery of Life" which is a great counterpoint to the some of the faster tracks like "Valley of the Lost" and "Winterlong".
The more I listen to this Cd the more I realize that the vocals remind me to a certain extent of Hansi from Blind Guardian. Not that they go as high as Hansi but they are slightly similar in the power of the delivery and the raspiness of his voice. Another thing I have to point out is that the average age of Winterlong is 20 years old. For such a group of young guys they have created an album far beyond their years. Not only is the musicianship top notch but the guys know enough to mix up the music to not have every song totally pounding double bass drums. In Fact they vary their delivery quite a bit which adds to the overall quality of the songs. I have said it before and I will say it again. What is in the water in Sweden. For more information on this great band check out the Lion Music website http://www.lionmusic.com
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