Review Summary: Brimming with potential, Hwainoo is Ultimat(ium)ely held back by a lack of originality.
Power metal is easy to come across. Interesting power metal, on the other hand, is a rarity. While some beacons of light stand out, many bands go for an epic feeling, evocative of images of high fantasy and the sound of adventure. They often succeed, but due to the vast quantity of groups achieving this goal, it seems less impressive. This brings us to Hwainoo. Hwainoo is the second album by Finnish power metallers Ultimatium. The album shows clear spots of potential, but it doesn't quite come together effectively enough to be considered impressive.
It's not hard to tell that this is a power metal album. Indulging completely in the aforementioned flights of fantasy, Ultimatium clearly does not believe in subtlety. Hitting you in the face right out of the gates with the frenzied Fight The Time
, Ultimatium decides to show no restraint and tries their hand at simply being the best in the field. While the first track may lead you to believe they are, in fact, this good, the album dips somewhat in quality and winds up being fun, but not memorable. Due to the devotion to all things whimsical, and the saturation of overblown symphonies, the album is somewhat lacking in anything that truly sticks for a long time.
While the composition could be better, the performances would be hard to top without sacrificing the overall quality. Showcasing blazing speed alongside technical prowess, the only major issue with the album is the vocal performance. While it has energy to spare, the tone of voice can be off-putting on first listen, and may take some time to properly adjust to and accept. It fits well in songs such as Play The Game
, but could overall do with some improvement.
It's hard to say Ultimatium aren't trying, as Hwainoo is still a very fun album, showing clear signs of potential. The major issue is that it's somewhat throwaway, and some weaker moments bog the album down somewhat.
Fight The Time
Set The Sails
Play The Game