Score To A New Beginning

Written by: TL on 04/06/2009 21:51:01

Right, so looking back to last time I reviewed a Fairyland record, I didn't have half a clue about what I was talking about. You can wipe that phony look of disbelief off your faces now thank you, I admit it, I was merely blabbering, which is a mistake that I plan to make good on here on my second run around this band.

Or... Is band really the right word? Maybe it was back in the beginning, when it was called Fantasia (or was it Fantasy?) and mastermind Philippe Giordana actually had a full time band around him. These days, Fairyland has undergone changes on every post but his, which isn't a surprise given that he has been writing almost all the music all of the time, as well as the concept around which it revolves. On the last album from two years ago, "The Fall Of An Empire", Philippe had a steady lineup for the entire recording. This time around he's finally decided that Fairyland is his band alone, and as such, most of what you'll hear on the new "Score To A New Beginning" is written by him and recorded with the help of a lot of guest artists.

Anyway, "what's that about a concept?" I hear you say. Needless to say this band (titled Fairyland and all) is a symphonic power metal band, and a most extreme one at that. You see every single note on every one of Fairyland's three albums is part of a story. A story of the world of Osyrhia. A story which merely accounts for a small part of the thousands of years of history that Philippe has outlined for the world. Yes, this whole thing is that nerdy, so I expect all but the most passionate of D&D appreciators will be clicking out of here by now.

And by rights they should, because when I said this took symphonic/power metal to its extreme I really meant it. Forget about run of the mill German/Italian Iron Maiden-wannabes. You'll find no hollow attempt at being cliché rock'n'roll or metal here. Everything is taken to the extreme in the sense that it all serves the purpose of furthering the story of Osyrhia. It's pointless for me to criticise this music because really, this is more of an exhibition in compositional craftmanship than it is a rock record, and Philippe Giordiana probably knows more about composing and arranging that you and I and all of our favourite bands ever will. Seamlessly he orchestrates schreeching guitar solos, metallic riffs, pounding drums, 80's synthesizers and several classical instruments, into retardedly complex songs that have more going on in them than I can ever hope to fathom. It's the kind of stuff you probably have to study music to truly appreciate, and to all of us who don't, all we're going to feel is that it's like listening to the score of a movie like Lord Of The Rings or Conan The Barbarian, except without the company of the images.

So yeah, from a technical standpoint I'd look a fool if I tried to tear down Fairyland. However, stylistically I will be quick to point out a key issue with the band if you'll let me. You see the problem is that Philippe seemingly has no intention whatsoever, of wanting to make this more than the perfect power metal symphony. No intention of imbuing it with any character that will make it stand out from its own scene and showcase its uniquity to outsiders. It is simply symphonic power metal on the most elitist of levels and then it's nothing more. So if you like that kind of thing, and especially if you can get into the story of it all, then you will probably find this an utterly fantastic experience. If however, you expect it to compete on the terms of more mundane metal or rock'n'roll albums, you'll probably be put off by the sheer volume and inaccessibility of it all, and hence be compelled to grade it quite low. To reflect this, I sit the record just between high and low. Sensible, isn't it?


Download: One track would be kind of pointless out of context. Get the whole thing or don't get at all.
For The Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Virgin Steele('s newer and more serious material), Rhapsody Of Fire, Blind Guardian, Dragonforce
Listen: myspace.com/fairylandfantasia

Release Date 30.04.2009
Napalm Records

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