Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alkemyst
Through Painful Lanes
Nightmare

Conjuring this second album over a three year period proves a fruitful quest indeed for these French power metallers. From the bell-tolling somewhere opening, through acoustic prog-interludes, maypole dancing medieval buffoonery and gallops against time ‘cross cliff edges and thro’ thick-set forests these parables for the mordant modern ages are drenched in the totems of glory metal that’ll make you assume they’re saddling up to conquer its traditional German heartland helmed by the likes of Helloween (whose classic Eagle Fly Free they hoist anew like a maiden’s colours at a joust) and UK veterans DragonForce. Battle-ready with valiant anthems to slay their way into the annals of war-hymns and swathed in chivalric allegories of kingdoms, illusions and dragons like a séance with old Nostradamus they may be but as the title indicates, the crest on these troopers shields is forged from rather more arduous endeavours than some. Gallant guitar scimitars hoist Icarus aloft from his pathetic perch, hurling him sun-ward getting a nice Eddie style tan before sweeping generals and entire armies friend or foe easily aside on scything odes of hope and valour. Tech-freaks will froth and fulminate for evermore over the precise musical intricacies, intelligent design and Ramon Messina’s de-hymenising shriek n’ soaring vocals but the common foot soldier will pledge several allegiances in drunken revelries at the surging splendour and commanding presence. It’s preposterous and absurd as you want but enthralling and passionate and cute and heroic. An epic work of true artisans. Stu Gibson

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