Released: 2013, Limb Records
I think that Limb Records must have some of the greatest talent scouts in the Metal world. I don’t know how they keep finding these incredible bands from out of virtually nowhere, they seem to materialize like spirits in the mist and jump out at unsuspecting Metal travelers and draw them in.
Well, in this case the members of the German quartet all were at one time (or still are) in the band Elvenpath, so this seems to be their new project. I’m not really impressed by the band name and the album title THE CHRONICLES PART I seems to lack impact. I like the bands metallic logo and the cover is some sort of mystical cauldron, created by Felipe Franco. It is a very intricate and detailed piece of art but is not a very powerful eye-catching image for a Power Metal bands debut album. Fortunately the music is anything but dull.
THE CHRONICLES Pt. I is a Metal Opera, the side project of Till of Elvenpath. What is most exciting about Lucid Dreaming is that he is using this new project as a showcase for the brightest vocal talents in the Metal underground. You won’t hear the usual vocal guest stars (Michael Kiske, Oliver Hartmann, Jorn Lande etc) that are on all the other Metal Operas. These singers are the next wave, the new generation of vocalists. Probably the biggest known names are Jvo from Emerald and Jutta from Zed Yago.
A little more investigation reveals the album to be based on a pair of books written by Lloyd Alexander called The Chronicles of Prydain. The story is based on Welsh mythology. The epic tale describes the adventures of young Taran and his companions battling the Horned King while on a quest for a mystical pig. North Americans may know the story better from the Walt Disney’s 1985, animated film, The Black Cauldron. That explains the black cauldron on the front cover! As expected each vocalist plays a different role in the story, both male and female, which truly gives it the opera feel.
As it stands to reason, THE CHRONICLES Pt. I is a raging European Power Metal beast, 11 tracks running a whopping 76 minutes. The album has all the wonderful components of a Metal Opera; spoken word interludes, choirs, multiple characters, acoustic segments and sound-effects all blended into a traditional euro-speed-power framework of thunderous drums and blazing guitars. The songs are long as befitting an epic story they run 6-7 minutes with the longest being ‘To Caer Dathyl’ a critical song where the four heroes are united and must flee before the attack of the Horned King and the cauldron born. The grande finale ‘No Turning Back’ is a tour-de-force of singing where they seem to throw every vocalist in to the mix with one mighty scream after the other (five in total!) to finish off the song with raging double-kick propelling the song into glory. The last song, ‘Farewell’ which slowly brings everything to a conclusion with flute, keyboards a slower tempo and some restrained soloing.
I’m a huge fan of Metal Operas. I must have about 50 in my personal collection and THE CHRONICLES has quickly made its way into the upper echelon of my favourites. Lucid Dreaming have instantly made me a fan and I’m looking forward to Pt. II!