Sometimes, itís the thought that counts. Remember when you asked for an Action Man doll and got one of those cheap, imitation dime-store things? Iím sure you were not happy. Iím sure you thought the present was crap. But did you think of the thought put behind it? Yes, we seldom put the quality of whatís on offer in front of the actual thought the person put into it. The same thing happens, to a certain extent, in music.
All this serves a purpose, of course: to introduce Knell Odysseyís first and Ė I think Ė only album, Sailing To Nowhere
. Itís an album where, clearly, it is the thought that counts.
Knell Odyssey are a Spanish heavy/power metal five-piece (who, I suppose, musty turn into a six-piece on stage, since the keyboards on the album are played by the two guitarists). Sailing To Nowhere
is their 1997 debut, and itís as endearing a record as it is crappy.
Musically, this album wanders in the realm of heavy/power metal, gathering influences from all those bands you may be thinking of. The problem is these boys (for they are no more than boys) wear their influences too close up their sleeve. Whatís worse, theyíre not capable of filtering them in order to create a personalized sound. Result: the albumís a mess.
Take the intro, for example: it could have been taken from either a soundtrack, a Rhapsody album or a Malmsteen opus. The listener gears up for what seems like an enjoyable power metal ride. But then at the beginning of the first track proper, Ethereal
, we haveÖlow-pitched vocals?! The sense of confusion has barely settled in when all of a sudden our ears are assaulted by a drum-shattering screech. Itís singer Alberto Antunez, who looks about 15 in the photos (wearing an oversized Testament t-shirt) and whose vocal pitch is probably the highest Iíve ever heard. Imagine Bruce Dickinson to the umpteenth power, and youíll be close. After a couple of songs being molested by his shrieking and god-awful English pronounciation, youíre starting to think ęwho died and made this guy singer?!Ľ
Unfortunately for the band, itís Antunez that spoils the show. All the other musicians are quite competent, with the dual guitars bordering on virtuosistic. Moreover, while not as young as Alberto, none of the musicians looks a day over 21, which may indicate a huge margin of progression.
Again unfortunately, the songwriting is piss-poor. The lyrics are ripe with English-language mistakes (to the extent that some words arenít written the same way twice!) and the band seems to want to cram all the eggs in the same basket. The Last Recourse
,for example, sounds like Maiden, while Eyes Of A Child
takes its cues from Helloween and Blind
is a clumsy attempt at a prog-metal track.
However, there is one song I have purposefully left out of the former paragraph. Invisible Horizons
is a true gem of a power metal song, capable of sitting up there with the big ones. Which adds to the confusion: if the band can write a track like this, why are all the other tracks so crappy? This will sadly have to remain unanswered, since the band gave no signs of releasing any other albums.
So, in conclusion, the fairest rating for this mess of an album would be 0.5/5. However, one has to take into consideration the bandís youth, and the fact that, despite lacking quality, this album is charming and captivating for its naÔvetť. This is what ultimately helps boost its rating to a more dignifying 1.5/5.