Released: 2012, Metalodic Records
In the summer I came across an album called HYPERBOREA, by a band called Vorpal Nomad, which is just fantastic. I reviewed it in September I noticed the album was released was on the up and coming Canadian label, Metalodic Records, which I knew had been around for a couple of years but I had not given the label the attention they deserved. Impressed by the quality of the Vorpal Nomad, I went to the Metalodic company web-site and basically bought their entire catalogue of eight albums by a roster of seven bands, at a hell of a good price I may add! So now, I’ve decided to review all those releases (minus the Vorpal Nomad of course) in a feature on Metalodic Records to support the label and it’s high-quality, international roster. The bands in the spotlight are Aclla, (Brazil), Caravellus (Brazil), Icewind (Canada), Instanzia (Canada), Kaktus Project (France) and two albums by Kerion (France). Please check out the reviews of these bands in this Metalodic Records feature.
The new Kerion album, CLOUD RIDERS is my favourite release that Metalodic has done so far, or at very least tied with the above-mentioned band, Vorpal Nomad. In terms of the band ability to sound cinematic and mimic an actually movie soundtrack, this band is way up the scale with Nightwish and Rhapsody. The full title is CLOUD RIDERS PART 1-ROAD TO SKYCITY (MLC 008) and launches a whole new story. The band concluded the Staraxis Saga on the last album and have launched into a new conceptual adventure, with a full-blown concept album. The album cover is absolutely stunning and the booklet is equally gorgeous. The characters are fully fleshed out with drawings of each person and a write up on their individual characters, which really helps bring them to life. The whole story is explained across three pages and the layout and design is really nice to look at.
There are no changes to the lineup and there are a handful of guests on the album doing guest spots, including Willdric of Hamka on guitar, Raphel Dantas of Caravellus on vocals, Adrien Eyraud of Silent Fall and the return of Phillipe Giordana of Fairyland on vocals. In terms of vocals this album is just massive. There are full choirs, narration, spoken word parts, sound effects and the soaring lead vocals of Flora.
I’d suggest that Kerion have really perfected in a very short time the Metal soundtrack experience. From the opening notes of the intro ‘Riders Theme’ you know you will be in for a sonic treat as the instrumental overture really sets the tone for the cinematic soundtrack experience. The intro alone conjures comparisons to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and any number of Disney inspired film scores. Some fans may scoff at what Disney styled soundtracks have to do with the Metal but the presence of pure Metal across the whole album will silence the naysayers. Sure the cinematic components are heavily featured but never outweigh the Metal components.
If it needs to be dissected, CLOUD RIDERS is a very strong step in the evolution of this epic, symphonic Power Metal band. All the necessary elements for a strong Metal album are in place, soaring vocals delivered with passion, relentless and pounding double-kick drums, intense blazing solos and a strong sense of melody. The additional sonic elements are flutes, keyboards, violins and some very intense film-score orchestral elements that are pushed to the fore.
Kerion has really hit on something special and CLOUD RIDERS is not only a unique and engaging story but musically the band has really progressed on every level, songwriting, performances and presentation. I would be delighted if one day this album gets turned into a movie or play.