Release DetailsLABEL Sound Riot Records
RELEASED ON 3/17/2004
posted on 4/2004 By:
Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm the only person who enjoys power metal. Then reality sets in and I realize how huge this shit is in Europe. With that said, sometimes I get the feeling that there's a reason everyone doesn't adore power metal. Like me, right now. I'm really not enjoying power metal thanks to Gaia Epicus, who are generous enough to supply the reviewers at MetalReview with an album that clocks in at an 69 minutes.
First things first. There are very few things I want to hear 69 minutes of, but I do anyway. Local radio? No problem. Heavy machinery? Sure. Children crying? Alright, I can tolerate it. But stale power metal? No fucking way.
Gaia Epicus is a Norweigan power metal band whose dreams of dragonslaying glory are just a bit out of reach. The album starts out with "Keepers of Time", which really isn't half bad. In fact, I initially enjoyed it despite a few setbacks. I instantly knew this wasn't going to be any sort of classic, but figured maybe it'd have some redeeming factors anyway. And it does, sort of.
Yeah, sort of.
I can't imagine being in a power metal band, as really, you've got quite a few extremely talented acts to contend with. when you're playing a style of music which has almost been perfected by the likes of bands like Rhapsody, Blind Guardian, and even Heavenly, you're just setting yourself up for failure.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that the singer of Gaia Epicus needs some fucking vocal training. It's obvious that this guy is perfectly suited to become a power metal singer, but on Satrap, there's not enough triumph and confidence in his voice. It's shaky and even poorly timed at parts. Maybe they just need to improve their production so it doesn't feel that this guy's all alone in trying to lead this band.
It's a big fucking problem to try and tackle a style of music that you're just not equipped for. Gaia Epicus may have the formula down for writing power metal, however, they lack the musicianship to execute it. Sub-par vocals, forgettable guitar melodies, even more forgettable rhythm parts, standard drumming, and keyboards so misplaced that they sound like they belong on an early Dimmu Borgir album. It's a mess at times. It gets worse on songs like "Heavy Metal Heart" when Gaia Epicus gets the bright idea to incorporate a crowd of drunks to sing "Heavy metal! Heavy metal heart!" I suppose lyrically, this band could probably have a duel against Manowar over who's more ridiculous and deserving of Boris Vallejo cover art.
Nothing's absolutely horrible here, but it sort of sounds like someone's hobby band poorly covering Gamma Ray. It's not going to get your attention, let alone keep it for 69 minutes. They're lacking the spirit of power metal. I'm not convinced that these guys are on their way to a cave to fight bog worms or some shit. Instead, I'm pretty sure these guys are sitting around in their apartments playing video games and eating soup out of the can.
One thing I will say in their favor though, there's an instrumental track called "Innovation" (how appropriate) in which the band actually showcases their ability to write some engaging progressive instrumental music. It sort of shows that this band is actually capable of doing different and better things.
Gaia Epicus isn't beyond help. They've just a little too ambitious to try and enter the world as a serious power metal act. Who knows, maybe someday they'll produce a masterpiece, they potentially could. Or maybe they'll just produce a 40 minute album that doesn't make me want to cut my toes off and shove them into my ears after the second consecutive listening. I truly hope these guys find their place somewhere, whether it's power metal, or hopefully, something else.
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