Review Summary: A band that flies completely undetected in the power metal scene, Galneryus delivers a stunning third album with style and skill.
Power metal is a stunningly versatile genre; you can combine so much with it that the genre is very loosely defined; bands like Kamelot and Helloween deliver opera-like performances with lighter-sounding guitars. Then in the progressive realm, bands like Symphony X and Outworld deliver well-written songs with impossible-to-play solos. And on the extreme end, Children of Bodom and Wintersun, using black-metal influences, deliver crushing riffs and devastating drumming. Very few bands stray back to that early power metal sound that Iron Maiden and Gamma Ray have delivered for decades, and even less are actually good at doing it. Enter Galneryus, a Japanese metal band that does the right amount of everything to deliver, simply put, an album that can’t be matched.
Meet Galneryus at this point:
Syu – Guitars
Yama-B – Vocals
Tsui – Bass
Yuhki – Keyboards
Satoh – Drums
Some of you might have heard of Syu; he was featured in “Young Guitar” for those who read guitar magazines. For those who haven’t heard of him before, he’s one of the best guitar players in the Japanese metal scene right now. While his works on this album aren’t as technical as previous works, they fit perfectly. The intro to Shriek of the Vengeance just screams “epic” because of the guitar. Everything just fits so well, that ridiculous amounts of technicality really don’t matter anymore in an album such as this one.
Behind the great guitar playing come the keyboards. Unlike most power metal bands, you can hear the keyboard nearly 100% of the time. The chords Yuhki plays work great with the guitar lines throughout the song. He follows the guitar most of the time, but he’ll break out sometimes with incredible skill. Drumming is also a big standout on the album. The drummer mixes up the beats as much as possible and doesn’t follow the standard power metal “gallop” beat very often. Unfortunately, the bass is nearly non-existent, and you can barely hear it. Now, the vocals on this album aren’t typical power metal vocals. These are the powerful, mid-ranged vocals you rarely find in power metal today. Yama B’s vocals are comparable to the vocals in Stratovarious. Only in this band, the vocals match perfectly, and just flow better overall. Don’t expect to find these kind of vocals anywhere else in the power metal scene today.
The songs on this album remain catchy, but still strewn with surprising amounts of technical ability. Shriek of the Vengeance has tribal-like drumming in some parts and great guitar/keyboards solos, which work well with the catchy chorus and verses, while In the Cage delivers high-energy, fast-paced riffage. The other songs are great too, and all of them, sans the first and last track, feature a nice, high energy atmosphere, almost guaranteed to keep you hooked and listening. The first and last song, Arise and Rebirth... are just simple filler songs, but they get the job done; they begin and end the album in a way that the album can begin and end in a non-abrupt way.
Not only do songs like the highlights deliver great results, but the lone ballad of the bunch is not only great, but one of the best songs on the album. Dawn of Tragedy has one of the best solos on the album, and the overall sound of the song makes it very appealing to the power metal listener. The vocals also help the song, delivering a smooth, warm tone to the already emotional song. Unfortunately, that’s it as far as slow songs go, but then again, that’s what it’s like on most other power metal albums.
This album suffers from 1 weakness as a whole: its length. True, it’s not very long compared to, say, Lateralus by Tool, but the way the songs are composed makes listening to the album as a whole very tiring. 10 songs clocking in around 5 minutes a piece from the same band gets boring, but that’s true with most other albums like this. While this could be a negative for the album, the songs are just too good to be docked points from. Another could-be negative is that you have to import this album. On amazon.com it costs $40, something that can drive away a potential listener. To bad for them though, this album is good enough to be worth that price.
[+]Songs are extremely catchy
[+]Highly talented band members
[+]Solos match the songs perfectly
[-]Kind of long
[-]High import cost (only available in Japan)
Compared to Galneryus’s other releases, this is definently the best of the four. Guitar work is used better, the drumming is outstanding for power metal, and the singer’s voice is something we haven’t heard for a while. The good completely overshadows the bad of this album; the bad by itself is hardly noticeable in the first place. This is the first album I’ve heard where everything seems to fit together flawlessly. For power metal fans everywhere, you have to own this album in some point of your lives because it’s one of the best you’ll ever hear.
Recommended Songs: Shriek of the Vengeance, Dawn of Tragedy, In the Cage
For your listening enjoyment: http://www.myspace.com/galneryusworld