Power And Glory
posted on 8/2008 By:
Virginia's Forgotten Realm is a neo-classical shredding power metal band in the tradition of Dio and Rainbow and Yngwie Malmsteen, with guitar whiz Matthew Mills and leather-lunged vocalist David Fefolt and ex-Manowar drummer Rhino. (80s rock aficionados may remember Fefolt as vocalist in Shrapnel shredheads Masi and also in Hawk, a Lizzy Borden-ish dyed-and-sprayed Sunset Strip band that at various times featured future Bulletboy Lonnie Vincent, Cult / Guns 'n' Roses drummer Matt Sorum, Racer X / Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis, and guitarist Doug Marks of the Metal Method guitar ads in the back of musicians' magazines.) Put these guys alongside Dragonforce in the new wave of arpeggio-laden fist-pumping power metal for sure, although I’d take Forgotten Realm over that cringe-inducing hyperkinetic band any day of the week. But like Dragonforce’s records, Power And Glory is a journey back to the time when metal was synonymous with songs about sorcery, multi-octave vocal melodies and sixty-fourth-note Paganini-inspired guitar workouts.
Some of you have already stopped reading. That's fine.
This is power metal, for sure, but it's more than fun and energetic enough to not fall prey to the usual clichés, even while openly embracing many of them. Fefolt's voice is powerful, more husky than stratospheric, more like a Joe Lynn Turner than a Halford or a Michael Kiske. Mills' guitar work is nimble, speedy and tight like Helloween and filled with enough arpeggios to make Malmsteen smile. Rhino’s drumming is exactly as rock solid as you’d expect from him given his stint in your favorite thundering loin-clothed horde. If nothing else, the musical technique on display is impressive, but unlike many of the shredtastic bands of yore, there’s a little more here than just instrumental overkill. There are also actual decent songs, too, which is refreshing as well as being the very thing that puts Forgotten Realm towards the upper portion of power-metallers and not, say, down with an Axel Rudi Pell. It’s all derivative, of course, and a couple of the songs are probably a bit longer than they need to be, but who’s counting, really… (I did. But when all was counted up, turns out I didn’t care. Check out that sweet Maiden-y descending harmony line in “Time…” Now you’re not counting either.) Lyrically, there’s less emphasis on dragons and fantasy as on more “mature” topics, like the woes of humanity (“Time”) and personal loss (“Heart Turned To Stone”), a difference that, while perhaps not as “metal,” and arguably not as fun, at least isn’t quite as ridiculous in today’s day and age. (Keep in mind, oftentimes, as great as metal is, it’s equally goofy. I doubt that’s news to anyone.) There are keyboards, but they sit tightly in the background and don’t muck up the guitar-drenched proceedings. As a nice little bonus, there’s a cover of the Rainbow classic “Man On The Silver Mountain” at the end of the disc.
Forgotten Realm is off to a good start with the appropriately named Power And Glory. I’ve heard power metal described as the genre that gives metal a bad name. If that’s your opinion, then I don't recommend this. For those of you who enjoy bands like Cellador, Agent Steel, and so on, here’s another one for you to check out.
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