The Fall Of An Empire

Written by: TL on 13/12/2006 00:49:49

Now, when you hear of a band that goes by the name of Fairyland, what's the first thought that pops into your mind? Then when you see coverart with armorclad elvish looking people in a showdown with ..errhh.. ghouls, and plenty of swords and large axes fill the picture, does your reaction match the one you had with the name? That's correct folks, we're dealing with power metal here, and get ready for the only surprise: no, they're not German, they're not Finnish, they're not Italian, but they're French, and everything you expect when you hear the words power metal, they can deliver.

The bands second full length "The Fall Of An Empire", kicks off all too predictable, with an intro titled "Endgame", complete with bombastic keyboard effects, and male choirs. The track fades, and then jumps straight into the title track, which serves as further confirmation of initial expectations. Fast paced metal, driven by guitars, backed by keyboards and topped by vocals that initially can only be described as typically power metal. Choruses are further backed by choirs like the one in the intro, and of course there's also a solo where the guitar seems to race against the keyboard. "Lost In The Dark Lands" is more of the same, only slightly better in my opinion. A gloomy interlude separates the initial tracks from the next two, where Fairyland slows things down a bit. "The Awakening" has a bit more vocal focus than the opening doses of speedy metal, and seems to grow in the absence of the usual metal wankery, as the instruments work better for the song as a whole. The vocals, also having space to expand, remind you quite a bit of Queen on this track. The next track "Eldanie Uellë" is a regular ballad, driven only by the keyboards, while the guitars stick to the background at all times, except for the obligatory solo in the end. That's as long a break as we're gonna get though, and before launching into another interlude, the band brings the speed back on "Clanner Of The Light", but with somewhat more success than on the first two songs. The harder metal elements seem less forced, and make for a better, more captivating and rocking song.

"To The Havenrod". Piano interlude. Who cares? The rest of the album is up, and "The Walls Of Laemnil" open the ending with characteristic guitar riffs and a further increase of speed. Throughout the songs, the tempo is changed radically numerous times, and the dynamics of these changes help add an epic feeling to it, easily making it one of the better songs on the record. On "Anmorkenta" the the pedal is still 'to the metal', and the mood is more sinister than earlier. Female vocals are present but not really dominant, and on this song, Fairyland seem to lose a bit of focus again, stuffing the song with too many elements, with less consideration for what works for and against the impression they're trying to give. "In Duna" is the slow song of the album, this time with dominant female vocals and a tempo so distant from the rest of the songs, that despite its matching attempt at grandeur, it only serves as an annoyance for the people who remember that this is a metal record and not a LOTR soundtrack. Thankfully, the next song is "The Story Remains". An over 10 minute long epic, that acts like the climax of the record, and almost too predictably has all the most characteristic guitar riffs and all the coolest solos. "Look Into Lost Years" closes the whole thing off, with more moodsetting keyboards, serving as the classic exitlude.

The word classic, is actually what comes into mind, when I need to sum this album up. It is quite simply everything I'd expect to hear, when I put on a power metal record. Nothing less, nothing more. You could argue that the lack of originality should reduce the grade, but then again, the quality deliverance should raise them right back again. In the end, I guess power metal isn't really a genre that is overly concerned with evolving, and how interested you will be in this record will be closely connected to how interested you are in the genre, seeing as how close to the definition of the genre this band comes. A true hairswinging, battlefield-tshirt-wearing metalhead would undoubtedly grade and love this album higher, but objectively, It's not better, nor worse, than a


Download: The Walls Of Laemnil, The Story Remains, Clanner Of The Light
For the fans of: Rhapsody Of Fire, Blind Guardian
Listen: MySpace (So far only older tracks, the space hasn't been updated for a while)

Release date 27.11.2006
Napalm Records
Provided by Target ApS

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