Review Summary: Power metal for the lactose intolerant.
Power metal is a rather polarizing form of metal. Some absolutely love it, due to its speed, hot-bloodedness, and fun atmosphere. For others, the aforementioned traits are extremely off-putting. Manticora's Hyperion
proves that even those that fall in the latter group can enjoy power metal, as it finds a happy medium, taking most of the positive aspects of power metal while leaving behind the negatives. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable behemoth of an album.
This is not to say that Hyperion is completely without cheesy elements. The typical keyboards, soaring vocals, etc. found in most power metal are still present. However, it sounds noticeably more serious, while not taking itself so seriously as to alienate the audience that just wants mindless speedy fun. It hits a mark in between both parties in a way that will please members of either.
Another pleasing aspect of this album is the more sincere emotions found within each song. Much of power metal is dominated by quick, high energy music that proves to be utterly generic and somewhat soulless. However, the songs featured on Hyperion come off as much more genuinely reflective of the emotion behind each song. For example, Reversed
is a song which is meant to have a downbeat, somewhat sad atmosphere, and it does achieve this through its melancholy tune. Even more impressive is the vocal performance; had the lyrics not been clearly fantastical, pertaining to the fabled Merlin Sickness (a person aging in reverse), there is enough anguish behind the voice to convince one that this dilemma may actually be occurring to the vocalist. Keeper of Time - Eternal Champion
on the other hand creates a more triumphant, glorious feeling, befitting the story of a soldier finding love and wishing to leave the battlefield in his past. Ultimately, the sincerity found in each song contributes greatly to the album, and allows it to make a mark in the way most power metal albums would be unable to do.
A final positive note is the variety. Power metal frequently suffers from homogenization, with many tracks sounding very similar, and the resulting album coming off as rather stale. This issue is not to be found on Hyperion; each track is distinct from the other, with enough unique structure and thoughtful composition to pull the listener in completely for the full hour-plus of music found in this offering.
Overall, Hyperion is an album enjoyable by those both within and outside of the fanbase of power metal. With plenty of elements to enthrall the listener, without going overboard, this album is easy to listen to for just one track or for the entire tracklist.
A Long Farewell