Zandelle

Vengeance Rising

Written by: PP on 04/12/2006 14:50:08

An old, common European proverb says you should never judge a book by its cover. Looking at Zandelle's artwork featuring a muscular hero wrestling a scary-looking green monster, you would expect to hear something impeccably strange, perhaps fantasy metal or at least battle metal. So imagine the surprise when the opening track "Blood Red Shores" opens up with guitar wizardy the like of which hasn't been witnessed since the last Dragonforce album. Nothing on Zandelle's third album "Vengeance Rising" points towards the aforementioned genres, but instead draws influences from Swedish melodeath, thrash and epic American metal together to create a sound so beautiful it's hard to grasp its power at times.

The solos - the dozens and dozens of them on the album, I lost count - are unbeliavably great, and I'm willing to risk some credibility by stating that the ending solo on "Blood Red Solo" racing at lighting speed across the sound spectrum is one of the most beautiful I've heard since Between The Buried And Me's "Selkies: The Endless Obsession". It's as earpleasing as best melody can be, its speed, it's scales, it's technicality; it all stuns the listener straight from the first listen. The thrashy support riffs highlight the sky-high tuned lead guitar, and at times you'd expect the band to have at least three guitarists, and just how they've been able to create this sound with only two says something of their technical proficiency, which is out of this world much like the two Dragonforce masteros'. "Dragon's Hoard" is a similar track, where the guitars run up and down scales through the low and high tunes, and while not soloing have a folk rock sound attributed, which immediately reminds you of bands like Finntroll.

So we've established "Vengeance Rising" as power metal now. How does it stand against benchmarks of the genre such as Dragonforce's "Inhuman Rampage"? It's not as cheezy, and it takes itself much more seriously as the odd time signatures of "Queen Anne's Revenge" suggest. Vocalist George Tsalikis' voice isn't as cheezy either, and resembles much more of that of the Hammerfall frontman or even Bruce Dickinson of the mighty Iron Maiden. To continue on the Hammerfall implication, "Vengeance Rising" is practically the album Hammerfall has been trying to write for the past couple of years without any success. If you are willing to check out material from a band with as terrible artwork as this only once this year, now is the time, because "Vengeance Rising" is an album you shouldn't miss, if for nothing else than the staggering guitar work.

Download: Blood Red Shores, Cry For Vengeance
For the fans of: Iron Maiden, Hammerfall, Blind Guardian, Dragonforce

Release date 13.11.2006
Limb Music

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