We are living in a (golden?) age when hundreds -if not thousands- of titles are released on a monthly basis in every type of Metal sub genre and format that someone could imagine.
Through this flood of offered music, the matter of quality criteria and standards both for the creators and for the listeners is becoming a topic of serious discussion.
At the end of the day and for those that are mainly focused in the realm of Steel, there are two main factors that would identify an important band or release:
1. The first big goal is not to strike out of nowhere generating a seven seconds hype, and then disappear, but to remain.
2. The second big goal is to offer a very specific result, extremely focused into the followed artistic vision of choice. A result that is generated through pure talent and is progressively developed through hard work.
On their second “Towers of Gold” release, SACRED OUTCRY the Epic / Power Metallers from Athens Greece have managed to succeed in both these goals.
“Towers of Gold”, the long-awaited successor to the highly acclaimed debut “Damned for All Time”, is the ultimate realization of the band’s trademark: A perfect musical combination of Power and Epic Metal. The album is written and arranged by mastermind and bassist George Apalodimas, featuring the band’s brand-new line-up with axeman Steve Lado, drummer Defkalion Dimos and the legendary Daniel Heiman (ex-LOST HORIZON) on vocals.
“Towers of Gold” is a full concept album directly tied to the golden age of mid to late ’90s days: An age when the vast majority of the serious Power Metal releases was mainly based on a specific concept or at least a common thematic background as per the lyrics: Books, movies, RPG games or original epic stories would identify the lyrics of such -in many cases marked as classics through the years- albums and a new wave of followers would discover Power Metal as the music to accompany their -mainly based on epic novels & D&D culture- nerdy mood.
Well let me tell you that “Towers of Gold” is bringing back those glory days, highlighting a cinematic story which is fully connected with the gripping variety of the music.
The overall experience of the album’s listening, holding the lyrics in hand is a great matter of escapism, similar to reading an epic book, or watching an epic movie. The chapters on the booklet will cast you into the core of the story. The music will drive you to a state of ecstatic agony. Yes this is pure Gold.
So, teenage nerds of the 90s, now in their 40s, can be happy and I know that you are smiling now reading these lines cause you were one of them.
I have to point out that the masterpiece entitled “Towers of Gold” includes nothing but seriously inspired, Epic / Power Metal music. The songwriting is the leading force here, but the top class of the music is not only due to the above mentioned factor.
It becomes clear even on the album’s first listening, that the core of the songs is mainly based on a variety of melodies and is progressively developed with a variety of riffing. The band has paid some serious attention to the arrangement and the orchestration of their material, managing to turn some pieces of raw gold -the initial / basic themes of the songs- into pieces of classy art of the musical genre they are serving.
The classic Epic Metal pounding riffing is here, accompanied by a larger than life US Metal riff development, and there is enough space for some ecstatic and heavier-than-a-final-battle-cry, slower rhythm guitar parts that will take you back to the roots of Epic Metal.
It is obvious that Apalodimas has carefully studied both the European and the US Epic and Power Metal movements of all eras. This careful study has generated a wide frame of -mainly 80s and 90s- influences that are perfectly balanced on the SACRED OUTCRY artistic vision: WARLORD, VIRGIN STEELE, BLIND GUARDIAN, DOMINE, LOST HORIZON, ELEGY, MANOWAR and ATLANTEAN KODEX offered some of their magic in order for this huge piece of art which is called “Towers of Gold” to be born.
Here I have to point that WARLORD -especially their “Rising Out from the Ashes” era- was always a very important influence for SACRED OUTCRY, an influence that worked as a key starting point for the band’s artistic vision. It is great to notice that this particular influence is still a key factor that actually leads the band to finally build a Power Metal sound of their own.
Of course the melodies of the guitars -both in terms of lead parts and solos- are playing a massive role into the music of “Towers of Gold” release. The same goes for the acoustic guitar parts that become a serious trademark of the band’s sound here. You can listen more carefully and discover some 12 string guitar heaven as well. Each and every melodic guitar part has been wisely used to serve the overall musical development. This is pure heaven.
And on the top of all the above mentioned elements: The voice. First of all I have to clearly point out that in “Towers of Gold” someone can actually listen to the most inspired vocal melodies in the entire Power Metal genre of the last 10-15 years -perhaps more-.
Daniel Heiman is actually feeling and living each and every melodic vocal line that he sings. His overall performance takes the music of this album to a sky high level. He actually brings back all the golden standards of the Power Metal genre as far as the vocals are concerned, reminding everyone that the art of singing has a basic starting point: The ability to deliver vocal melodies that would turn the songs to hymns. Performance is a key factor as well and Heiman is aware of it. So he delivers some of the best vocals of his entire career, highlighting again the passion, the high range and the ability of a voice to become the ultimate trademark of a Power Metal album.
Here I got to point out that the actual songs themselves are offering the ideal space for the voice to shine. What do I mean here?
Well, to tell you the truth when the band first announced Daniel Heiman as their lead singer I was kind of expecting a second album based on fast paced compositions in the vein of the two LOST HORIZON classics. The above described element was already there on some important parts of the previous SACRED OUTCRY album, so I was somehow prepared for a European Power Metal extravaganza. It was a HUGE surprise for me to discover that this was not the case for the new album! My previous expectations went away for good as I was starting to dive into this ecstatic, storytelling and pounding Epic Power Metal greatness based on mid tempo to faster, compositions, topped with the best vocals that the whole genre has to offer today.
A perfection’s fine tuning
The album is mixed & mastered by Steve Lado in SL Studio, Greece and is blessed with a crystal clear sound.
The cover and the overall artwork are great. Hidden messages can be found all over the album. Yes there are almost everywhere: from the album’s cover to the actual lyrics, even in the music itself. Try to discover them!
I would not refer to any song in particular because I want you to hear the album in its entirety. It was created in order to be experienced this way. I just want to point out some very important things as an epilogue.
Well, I doubt that the band will manage to top this album in the future. I hope to be wrong here, but I still wonder how can someone top an actual myth? Anyway we shall see…
“Towers of Gold” is a masterpiece. It brings back the standards of Epic / Power Metal to the absolute top. It is already a classic simply because it can stand next to the classics. This album will be a measure of comparison for the future albums to come.
“Towers of Gold” made Power Metal great again. The listeners can be proud again for their favorite genre, thanks to this particular record.
The album will be released May 19th on No Remorse Records.
Read the discussion about the album on our forum pages.
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