Released: 2014, Killer Metal Records
Formed in 1996, Germany’s Edge of Thorns’s INSMONIA is only the band’s third full length, and first in 7 years. The delay has not been without merit though, as Edge of Thorns brand of aggressive power metal is catchy as hell and sure to be one of the better releases of 2014. Stylistically, Edge of Thorns are firmly entrenched in the Germanic, aggressive style of traditional early power metal practiced by the likes of Primal Fear, Mystic Prophecy, Rage and Accept. Thus, the guest appearance should be no surprise, but welcome nevertheless, with Ralph Scheepers providing co-vocals on “Metal Unity”.
INSOMNIA is an album composed of twelve hard hitting, expertly produced songs that proudly wave the flag of traditional power metal. Dirk 'Duke' Schmitt’s vocals are whiskey ravaged rasps similar to Metal Church’s Ronny Munroe, that are the perfect accompaniment to most of the tunes, save for the slower bits of “The Watchmaker” and “Is This The Way It Ends.” Each of those songs forcefully demonstrates Shcmitt will never be a dude known for competent execution soft semi-ballads, no matter how cool the music is. That is fine though, because the music on the heavy tunes is precision-crafted steel, a balance of technical guitar solos, immense riffs and speedy chugs. The title track opens with one such technical and bouncy riff before the concrete verse riff kicks in.
The focal points of the album are the molten guitars of Dave Brixius and Jani Näckel both receiving primary positions in the album’s mix, and searing through these songs with controlled and inspired playing. While no new ground is trod, both players are so well-schooled and adept at playing this type of metal that it is nearly flawless. Frankly, the fact that this has all been done before (and many times) is about the only complaint one could level at what is otherwise a masterful execution of heavy metal, equal parts traditional and early power metal. The band is also hungry, which lends the entire album an unmistakable energy and immediacy. Fans of Primal Fear, Metal Church and Mystic Prophecy will want to check out this one