posted on 3/2006 By:
The reason I signed up for this power metal album is because A) I quite enjoyed Thy Majestie’s last effort, Hastings 1066, and B) I’ve got a pretty good dose of metalcore and death metal upcoming so I thought I’d get this stuff out of the way.
Anyhow, Rhapsody is an obvious comparison for Thy Majestie, not just because they are from Italy, but also because they play a form of completely over the top, symphonic, pompous, ‘Broadway’ metal. The theme of choice for this album is Joan of Arc, so the English side of me is a bit worried at Thy Majestie’s anti-English themes (I’m guessing the next album will be called ‘1776-The Colonies Revolt!’).
As I said earlier, I quite enjoyed 1066, but after giving Jeanne D’Arc a few listens, it doesn’t quite measure up, though still a fine power metal album. It’s slightly less epic, cheesy, bouncy and hair flailing. For me, the songs just don’t strike me as good as 1066 and there seems less folk/medieval flair that made 1066 a tad more unique. Where 1066 had tons of choirs and folk interludes, Jeanne D’Arc seems less gregarious in the strings and choirs department relying more so on orchestral, synthetic keyboards ("Siege of Paris"). Now there are plenty of choirs, but they are used as a backdrop rather than standalone elements that were delivered by the Teatro Massimo Operatic Choir as on 1066. Also, new vocalist Guilio Di Gregorio doesn’t seem to have the presence or range of former wailer Dario Grillo. As with most power metal, you can expect big, galloping riffs (“Ride to Chinon”, “The Rise of A King”, “Up to the Battle”, "...For Orleans") , a few instrumental jaunts (“Revelations”, “March of the Brave”, “Inquisition”), a ballad ("Time to Die") and an epic closer (“The Trial”) all delivered with sumptuous production and incredible skill and class.
All that being said, fans of the US styled power metal (Kamelot, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian and to some extent Manowar) will enjoy this album, and I’m not saying I did not enjoy Jeanne D’Arc, I just enjoyed 1066 (maybe because of my affinity for that battle, who knows?). I didn’t find my heart rate rising and catch myself singing along like I did with 1066 (i.e “The King and the Warrior”, “Echos of War”). I really wanted this album to be truly great, but it sort of takes a step back for me. Sometimes the sheen can be blinding and I think that's the case here as the sheer gloss of the music hides some not so dynamic songs. Still though, a solid power metal release.
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