Review Summary: Fairyland offers an album that is both epic and cheesy
When a band by the name of Fairyland plays a brand of music called “epic symphonic power metal”
, you can guess that the resulting sound will be something colorful. 'Epic symphonic power metal'
is a phrase that, by itself, gives off the impression of a genre that’s probably pretentious and prone to feature overblown mechanics and ideas. As fate would have it, any band that attempts music of this nature does tend to overdo it. While the subgenre features outstanding musicians and singers that are beautiful and talented, the music itself tends to become a joke merely by the way it sounds; it’s bombastic, cheesy, dense, and yes, in an odd sense of the word, epic
, given the sheer concentration of musical talent involved. The music often remotely appeals to a certain type of music fan, and those certain individuals seem to be few and far in between.
Fairyland is the very definition of an ”epic symphonic power metal”
band. The sound is quite dense, an emphasis being placed on keyboards, guitars, and the guest lead vocalist, Marco Sandron (Pathosray). The lyrics and choruses are cheesy; the backing choirs and voices accent throughout the album for the most outrageous effect possible. Most crucial, however, is that the concept of the whole band is utterly pretentious and overblown. Prior to this album, keyboardist and founder of his original band, Philippe Giordana completed two albums of a trilogy of which Score to a New Beginning
is the final installment. After the completion of the second album--The Fall of An Empire
and his band parted ways; this left Philippe with the job of enlisting a slew of guest musicians and vocalists to complete the final installment in the trilogy.
The resulting album is actually some of the tightest work this genre has offered yet, with hardly a slip in songwriting consistency. Somehow, Phippe is able to get all of these relative strangers to sound as if they have known each other for years. Whether it’s the assembled vocal melodies featured on "Across the Endless Sea, Pt. 2", or the Queen-like delivery on "A Soldier’s Letter", Phippe’s cast of singers pack quite an epic
punch that any listener can appreciate--to an extent anyway. Of course the vocal aspect of the music would be nothing without at a competent lead singer, and fortunately Mr. Sandron does a thorough job leading the pack throughout a Score to a New Beginning
. Any fan of this type of music knows what to expect in a competent power metal vocalist, and they surely won’t be disappointed by Sandron in the least.
Score to a New Beginning
is something any fan of Avantasia or Kamelot might find appealing. As can be expected, much of the music’s content focuses on fast power metal tracks like "Lost in the Dark Lands", "Godsent", and "Assault on the Shore" that feature energetic keyboards and speedy guitar work with solos popping up here and there for a positive effect. The band likes to add variety as well; there are a few interludes and slower pieces such as "Rise of the Giants" to keep things interesting along the ride.
The song structures themselves vary as well; "Master of the Waves" features a stunning orchestrated intro that launches into a power metal staple sound with more of the band’s melodies and stunning guitar work. The album’s title track is probably the most memorable, however, clocking in at a little over nine minutes in length. The song begins with a delicate and well-structured piano and drum build before the song takes off in typical fashion. The cut is a rollercoaster of styles and tempo changes, always offering something different for the listener to hear on the second time through. The aptly titled "Ending Credits" is another change in pace, offering a calming style of strings and drums with little distortion. A female vocal part leads the track before the strings taper off and end the album on a solemn note.
Any weaknesses within Score to a New Beginning
strictly come from any individual's negative presuppositions or opinions the listener may have had about the genre before even having heard this album. Phippe and his various guests do what they do well, offering an excellent exercise in how this overblown genre should sound. While nothing is amazing or spectacular in itself, everything is handled consistently and professionally, creating an excellent album in the process. Surely no one could have guessed that the unsettling phrases, 'epic symphonic power metal'
, could actually create something worthwhile when placed together.