Review Summary: High energy metal delivered with the kind of intensity we have come to expect from the genre, this German power metal band has combined classic and contemporary styles together seamlessly.
Every so often I stumble upon a band that on paper seems a little out there. When I first saw this album, the band name and album cover seemed slightly odd. But then I gave the album opener, “To the End” a listen, and I knew I had found something truly special. To simply call them a “power metal” band is a necessary but inaccurate label, as this band incorporates not only power metal, but also folk-metal, symphonic metal, and progressive metal styles all into one cohesive and effective listen that stands out and is truly unique from other power metal releases I have heard this year.
From the heavy and infectious riffing and drumming, to the excellently done vocals, this is a band practically exploding with talent, and all members get a chance to show off their talents here. Solos are placed in just the right places, as are inventive and technical drum fills. Vocals are for the most part of the clean variety, with lots of harmonizing going on. Production is sharp, with all instruments audible and clear, and the track length just right on most songs. The material is also varied and devoid of any prolonged sense of repetition. This is a band that can create a chaotic and heavy atmosphere one minute, a catchy chorus the next, and then round it all off with a ballad at the end, making this album far from repetitive, besides in one way.
Where there are outstanding choruses, hooks, and high energy riffing, there are stereotypes. Power metal is a genre that oozes stereotypes, and this album is no different. This is power metal in the vain of Blind Guardian. The epic and theatrical sounding instrumentals and the slightly mythological and medieval lyrics give this album its fair share of cheesy moments. The first half of the album seems heavier as it has lots of shredding and technical instrumentation, while the second half utilizes more harmonized choruses and hooks, even featuring a ballad as the closer. This difference in half’s is a definite problem, because this makes the whole experience an album of highs and lows. In fact, this is the one but crucial flaw I have found in the album, and track listing is an often overlooked but crucial aspect to any album.
All in all, this is an album I would only recommend to anyone with a serious interest in bands like Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. Although the band incorporated a couple different styles into this album and certainly have proven capable of making great music, To the End still has a traditional feel to it that is sometimes overwhelming, and the track listing is utterly terrible. The real question is; how many harmonized choruses back-to-back can you stand?