Review Summary: A spectacular debut for a prolific power metal band.
To be honest with you, I'm not too familiar with the Japanese metal scene. Mainly, because I'm not caught up into the whole visual-kia epidemic. However, from what I've heard I can assure anyone, that there is talent within the Japanese metal scene – bands like Dir En Grey and Sigh have shown an enormous amount of talent throughout their career. Now, we have another band amongst the rising sun of the Japanese metal scene. Galneryus, whom takes their own perspective of neo-classical power metal, along with a few additions take the scene as a rising force that's to be reconciled with. Disclaimer: they live up to the stereotypes of Asian musicians shredding on their instruments, and overall being a beast at it.
The best thing about Galneryus, is that they're very refreshing for anyone to hear outside of the European or American brands of power metal. Even if they do blend styles that were once created by Stratovarius, Helloween, Gamma Ray, or even Blind Guardian for that matter, they maintain a consistent original sound. With absolute insane sweep picking, finger tapping on the fret board, squeals that are usually incorporated by Zakk Wylde are adopted, an approach of neo-classical shredding, along with shredding that's varied in style as reminiscence of such genres of the blues or jazz, harmonized sections, the list keeps going on and on, and that's just the guitars. Hell, I'd even go out of the way and say these guys could pick up a Bouzouki without ever playing it before, and make it tell a story in about an hour. While other instruments such as the keyboards practically do the same damn thing the guitars do in the sense of nonsensical shredding turns out to be quite fun to listen to, as well as classical piano arrangements. The keyboards sound like something that came from Children of Bodom, Stratovarius, or Thunderstone, but mainly Warmen comes to mind.
Even if the keyboards and guitars are the main melody, but that doesn't give me the right to elude from the other core members. On drums: there's blast beats, technical patterns with the cymbals and drums, as well as nonsensical shredding that blends together and making rather an enjoyable listen for the guy's sheer technique. While the bass player might be just another bass player, but he's respectable at the least; the fact that he can keep a bass rhythm at the tempos Galneryus plays at, it's quite impressive. In addition, one of the main problems that plague power metal bands from any well-deserved respect is their vocalist. Mainly, because they're high pitched, but this time, Galneryus' vocals are a bit mid-ranged that treads into the high pitched range, but it's not overly high pitched or overbearing like Timo Koltipleto from Stratovarius. When I'm listening to The Flag of Punishment
, I can't help but wonder if these guys took AP Music Theory, and passed with an A, while sleeping in class and practically not doing their homework, but instead writing this beast of an album.
I've listened to a plenty of metal in lifetime, and that basically covers genres of death, thrash, black, doom, heavy, and power metal. And I have to say that The Flag of Punishment
is a highly impressive debut, and it runs on the same line with other respected metal acts across the world that have impressive debuts. Metal acts such as Opeth, Overkill, Testament, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Death, Morbid Angel, Helloween, and Cynic for example. The Flag of Punishment
is truly a masterpiece on both terms of musically and enjoyment and the best part of the album is that there are not any filler at all. This album is a must have for any power metal fan out there.