Here is a quick hitting single EP from Swedish power metal band Isengard, whose story began in a town called Vikingstad but it is now Linköping, Sweden that the band calls home. The band traces their origins way back to ’88, and their Facebook page reveals images of grizzled metal veterans who have seen the battles, fought the wars, and are still standing in an often thankless business. SAIL OF ORION is a three song EP, permeated by a do it yourself ethos that is a testament to what underground metal is all about.
Proudly recorded in a “home” environment, SAIL INTO ORION will not win any production rewards, but that is not why we are here. The songs speak for themselves, with the title track showcasing the Dio-esque vocals of Peter Peter Högberg fused with Rob Tiranti. Indeed the band could be accurately described as a blunt and less ornate Swedish version of Labyrinth. Högberg does an excellent job of harmonizing with himself while providing multiple vocal tracks to carry chugging rhythms of the songs. Janne and Ulf Tillman handle bass and drum duties respectively, and they are quite the rhythm section. Ulf really pushes these songs along with his impressive percussive skills, while Janne’s bass is one of the key elements to the band’s sound and present much further up in the mix than most bassists. The closing song “Farewell” is a diverse tune, featuring quality female vocals in the middle sections and the twin guitars are well-done through the entire album, but probably the lowest instrument in the mix, unfortunately.
Unsigned, yet possessed of label-worthy talent, SAIL INTO ORION hints at great promise. Once these guys get some decent production, these songs are going to be electrifying. Sure there is not any real groundbreaking sound here, but power metal executed this well is worthy of a wider audience and bigger budget. I admire the perseverance and undeterred attitude of the band after toiling at this for quite some time. If you can disregard the fairly anemic production, you will find underneath a smoking band that is an ideal listen for fans of Labyrinth and Kamelot.
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1. Sail Into Orion
2. Heart Of A Lion