Review Summary: Sufficiently epic, but occasionally lacking in substance.
Power metal, by definition, must be epic. It can either be grand with overboard keyboards, chugging guitars that scream and shout. Or it could tell a multi-album story about some intrepid adventurer who fights evil, amongst other things. Kemilon are one of the more recent bands to join this fold of metal. Twisted Storm is their debut record, and as far as debut albums go, it is one of the better ones around.
Kemilon bring you power metal mixed with a very small dose of progressive metal. The result forms an album which sounds rather unique. The music slowly slips its fingers around the soft flesh of your neck, before squeezing hard and pulling you deep into its mist. Whilst you struggle to break free, the guitars form impenetrable walls to prevent you from leaving. The drums force the ground beneath you high into the air, whilst the keyboards construct a ceiling above you that is getting closer and closer. All the time the vocalist is edging you on, goading you into trying to break free of the rapidly forming prison.
Kemilon absorb you into their sound, all the parts work excellently together. Be it the spacey styled keyboards that open up ‘The gates of heavy metal’, or the pseudo-death metal growls that comprise ‘Sons of Lies’ everything on the album fits together like a well built machine.
But there are some points where Kemilon drop the ball and unfortunately these subtract greatly from the value of the album. Whilst the band preforms well, there are times when an instrument or two fall into the background and are seemingly forgotten about for periods of time. The main culprit is the drumming, and at times is seems to be sufficiently lacking in substance and style for parts of the album. When they do emerge from their self imposed exile, they really make you stop and take notice. But it would be better to have more of these periods.
In addition to this, the vocalist, whilst having excellent range and sound in his voice, sometimes doesn't seem to produce enough power behind it to project it over the rest of the band. Power metal vocalists make or break the band, and this lack of power really shows on some of the songs, which would have been much better if he had the oomph to shoot his voice high above the rest of the music.
However, it is not good to focus entirely on the bad points of a record, and despite these few issues, Twisted Storm puts on a very good show. Musically the album works really well, and a notice of excellent goes to the man behind the keyboards, for his epic and powerful contribution to the symphonic side to the band. The music is slightly more progressive than your standard power metal, and this makes sure that it has enough variety to last the entirety of the record without getting too repetitive.
The downside of this variation is that there aren’t many catchy bits to hook you into the song and keep you there, which means that occasionally parts of the music tend to flow over you and you’ll miss them. In addition, whilst being lightly progressive there is not an extreme amount of variation in the general sound of the record, and towards the three quarter mark it does tend to sound a little bit repetitive, before picking up nicely at the end.
In the end, Twisted Storm is better than your average debut album. The band have found their feet and are doing well at carving out a decent little niche for themselves to preform in. Apart from a few nagging issues here and there, Twisted Storm is a recommended album for fans of power metal. It has a few sparkling diamonds amongst it’s rock face, such as the opening pair of song, which are well worth paying attention to. It has been a good show from the boys in Canada, and I look forward to seeing what they can produce next time they are in the studio.