Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heimdall - Aeneid (2013)

Power metal from Italy seems to be a growing scene with bands such as Rhapsody of Fire, Ancient Bards, and Thy Majestie taking the genre by storm. There is one band however that doesn’t get the attention they deserve. Since 1998, Heimdall has been releasing stellar albums. “Lord of the Sky” and “Temple of Theil” were a little rough around the edges but great nonetheless. 2002 was the year that the band starting going for the larger sound. “The Almighty” and “Hard as Iron” improved upon everything the previous albums did. They were heavier, more melodic and had a much more grand sound. “Hard as Iron” in particular was an incredible album. It’s been nine years since “Hard as Iron,” but Heimdall came back and released an absolute masterpiece. “Aeneid” is ready to take over the Italian power metal scene.

“Aeneid” completely overshadows their other albums. The musicianship is top notch, the new vocalist (Gandolfo Ferro) adds a whole new sound and the melodies are breathtaking. “Forced by Fate” has, hands down, one of the best power metal choruses this year. Other bands wish they could sound this epic. “Save You” is just as incredible. Most notably, the verse is catchy as all hell. “Waiting for the Dawn” slows things down a little bit before busting out a great head banging riff. The keyboard is also a nice touch in the song. It makes it sound more full and solid. “Ballad of the Queen” and “Funeral Song” really slow things down. “Ballad of the Queen” is a great acoustic song that warms the album up a little bit. Putting these two tracks after “Waiting for the Dawn” was a wise decision. It prevents the album from coming to a complete standstill. The final note in “Funeral Song” is a perfect transition into “Underworld” which picks the momentum of the album back up at full force. “Underworld” has a great chorus and a blistering solo. “Hero” has an amazing bridge section and the end of the song has the most epic use of choir on the album. “Night on the World” is by far the best song on the album. It’s the best power metal song of the year so far period. Everything from the beginning riff to the piano interlude is pure perfection. Coming after “Night on the World” is a hard feat for a track but “All of Us” does a great job following up. “Away” is a great ballad that paves the way for the astounding closing track, “The Last Act.” The album closes on such a high note, one only hopes that Heimdall continues the tradition on the next album.

“Aeneid” isn’t just another run-of-the-mill power metal album. This is the real deal. The amount of work that went into this album is mind boggling. Nine years was definitely worth the wait. If they continue to make albums like this, fifteen years wouldn’t seem so bad. Every song has its place and purpose, and without one of them the album couldn’t function. “Aeneid” is a milestone. No other power metal band can return from a nine year gap and deliver the crowning achievement in their career. It just isn’t done. A power metal album hasn’t been this impressive since Rhapsody’s “Symphony of Enchanted Lands.”  “Aeneid” isn’t just one of the best power metal albums this year; it’s one of the best of all time.


- Brian DuBois

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