Release DetailsLABEL Metalism Records
RELEASED ON 4/27/2006
Black Moon Rising
posted on 12/2006 By:
As much as Borat might poke fun at his home country of Kazakhstan, there is, apparently, at least one good metal band in said country: Holy Dragons. Sure, they look funny as all hell in the band photo, but they do a hell of a job in keeping things interesting musically.
Holger Komarov’s vocals are actually fairly powerful. As easy as it would be to make fun of this band given their relatively goofy name and the fact that making fun of Kazakhstan is all the rage, they are passionate about what they do and that accounts for at least 50% of the success of any band. Additionally, the fact that they have recorded ten full-length albums should speak for itself. This isn’t a novelty for them. This is out of love. They don’t expect to be selling out the Staples Center anytime soon. I mean, think about it for a second. How much access is there to heavy metal in Kazakhstan? Heavy Metal isn’t something that lands on every doorstep in Kazakhstan.
Some of the melodies here are gorgeous. It’s obvious from the start that a few twists and turns on Black Moon Rising are the product of careful calculation. “Forbidden Horizon” and “Tengri” are solid not because of the sheer length of each track, but because Holy Dragons took the time to ensure that the two songs had decent replay value. Not one of these songs is under a healthy eight minutes, and this isn’t because of unnecessary elongation. It actually took that long to develop these songs to their full potential. While “Tengri” is the stronger of the two, “Forbidden Horizon” has a similarly rewarding ending, and songs like “Morok” incorporate Middle Eastern influence while maintaining an international appeal.
The opening to a song like “Dynamite” should blow your mind until you hear the familiarly sharp clarity that sets in as soon as Komarov’s singing sets in. It’s too purposely throaty, not enough natural talent. “Black Moon Daughter” hits all fronts, but I have a feeling it will register as too little too late for most. Komarov is especially impassioned vocally, but he’s not able to make up for lost time. Holy Dragons are too traditional to appeal to the Iced Earth crowd and too modern to appeal to the Attacker crowd. Black Moon Rising doesn’t have enough authentic vigor to sustain its nearly hour long length.
I am not convinced Holy Dragons are worth the years they have put into their music, as harsh as that might sound. Technically speaking, isn’t some of this noise pollution? Only “Tengri”, “Forbidden Horizon”, and “Sons of Judas” are worth their salt. The rest are “take ‘em or leave ‘em”, and material like that just isn’t worth anybody’s time. At the end of the day, it’s the songs that stick in your head that matter. Not even a handful did that, and that’s an important fact to consider when judging an album’s whole. They have certainly found their formula as a band, but, at least in this case, maturity won’t cut it. We need to hear something that will separate them from the rest of the pack. I would have honestly liked to have heard more original material like the quasi-folk opening to “Dynamite.”
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