Review Summary: With a degree of songwriting unseen in the majority of modern power metal, Timeless Miracle’s debut album is...well...a timeless miracle.
Timeless Miracle arrived on the metal shores somewhere back beyond the 2000s with a plethora of demos, under their original name, Trapped. They were an untested brand, but their rough tracks led listeners to believe that they could follow through on a tried and true formula that had been laid down years prior by genre pioneers Helloween and the like. The songs were catchy, formulaic, but done in a relatively sincere way, which was certainly fresh.
Along came Timeless Miracle’s debut album, which exploded out of the dark like a Chinese firecracker lit in a cave, leaving their competition, qualitatively, in the dirt behind them. It was the gem in the rough; so rough, in fact, that very few listeners discovered them at all. But those that dug down deep enough were introduced to a power metal album that surpassed all that came before it, with equal parts passion and unbridled brilliance.
As opposed to relatively ‘classic’ releases that offer mere single tracks that serve as genre staples, Into the Enchanted Chamber offers up 12 (13 including the fantastic bonus track). Each song is on par with the one before it in terms of composition, musicianship as well as pure catchiness. While each varies in terms of mood, pacing and subject matter, they are uniformly well-conceived, which is one of the rarest feats in music.
The production lends itself well to this idea, fleshing out the gorgeous compositions with something very like-minded. The guitars pack a swift and heavy punch, the vocals soar out and around the tracks, the bass, while not necessarily as loud, putts along on the underside, the keyboard presents some masterful atmosphere, and the drums pummel at the back of it all. Each instrument is balanced intelligently, and it helps shine the album’s diamond qualities.
Speaking of these qualities, the vocals need be spoken of on their own. Though not classically resigned as a fantastic vocalist, Mikael Holst fits the niche here impressively. His nasally delivery accentuates the rather cheesy nature of the tracks, but instead of this dampening the quality of the entire product, it merely heightens the album over many similar acts. It’s entirely distinct, and adds a strange but delicious flavor to an already tasty album.
The riffing that drives the album forward is also excellently enacted. Aggressive at will, delicate in an instant, and ridiculously creative when the solos begin to whirl, the guitars are great incentive to finish the album. ‘The Red Rose’ is a solid example of such. The main riffs are slower paced, yet reasonably heavy, and kick up quickly during the chorus, amplifying the effect. Then again, the mood shifts later with an almost reggae-esque break that leads into a somber keyboard passage, seamlessly. The guitars set a stage for the other instruments to act, not to belittle any of the others; the keyboard to be named especially.
The keyboard emulates various sounds throughout the tracks, including violins, classical pianos, horns, and the more principle keys that underlie the genre stalwarts. Alongside that, it provides a solid side of atmosphere, which adjusts the moods of the tracks accordingly. Most impressive, however, is the smattering of solos seamlessly integrated into the album’s framework. They can create awesome moments on par with the guitar solos, which is no mean feat, all things considered. ‘The Devil’ demonstrates such a feat with appropriate ease, its quick finger work erupting in after an outstanding vocal/guitar buildup.
The high points set up by the keyboard and guitar interplay are capitalized upon by the choruses, which are the absolute peaks of the CD. Brilliantly catchy in their simplicity, Timeless Miracle have created some of the finest and most memorable refrains in the genre, and have made the act seem so very easy in retrospect. While the lyrics themselves are not a master craft, they do not hinder at all, and are sung admirably.
While not on par with some of the more spectacular bits of the album, the drums pound along behind the rest of the instruments respectably. It’s typical of the genre, and doesn’t stretch too far outside of what is expected of it. The bass does similar, not being entirely audible, but what can be heard is still solid.
In summary, 'Into the Enchanted Chamber' is an underrated, but overwhelming offering of golden-era power metal. Superb in just about every way possible, it’s a must have for fans of the genre, as well as music lovers in general.
Recommended tracks: The Devil, The Red Rose, Return of the Werewolf