Beautiful Sin – The Unexpected – 4.5/5
The album is so good it made me post it on the forums before finishing the review. If you’d asked me for an example of a ‘super-group’ as good as the sum of their individual parts id have a real hard time answering. Now, the answer is here, boasting the bassist and guitarists from pagans mind, the drummer from Mekong Delta/Helloween/Gamma Ray/Holy Moses, Gamma Rays keyboard player, another guitarist from Narnia, and a previously unknown vocalist by the name of Magali Luyten.
The problem with a lot of super-group’s is there is frequently a fight for attention, leading to a convoluted end result, it doesn’t feel coherent, doesn’t gel, and as a result sounds severely lacking compared to their previous work. This doesn’t happen here. Everyone knows their place, and don’t overstep their bounds whilst retaining plenty of spotlight. The guitarists get their virtuistic riffs and solo’s, the bassist gets a strong presence, the drummer manages to provide multiple fill ins and changes keeping the song sounding interesting and the keyboard adds synth affects to create a melody that sustains repeated listening.
But no question (at least in my mind) would this album be anywhere near as good if not for the vocal talents of Megali Luyten. She isn’t pretending to be an opera singer, or trying to be over-feminine, as if to say “females can be in metal too!!!” and neither is she trying to growl and sound like a man in the Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy 2006-Present) style. No, she sings powerfully with a touch of rasp when needed (e.g. Spark of Ignition) or cleanly and emotionally (e.g. Closer to my Heart). The range in her vocal abilities should be commended, certainly up there with the best of them, and the fact that she is female lends a certain slight unique twist to the sound.
The album is introduced with a tribute to Helloween, covering their song “The Departed.” Whilst the original was a good song, this is definitely a worthy cover, sounding different and unique whilst retaining the core sound. In fact, its not taken long for me to prefer the sound of Luytens sweeping vocals and the harsh layered vocals in the background with the more heavily synth laden cover than the original. Blended seamlessly with the album – you might have difficulty telling it was someone elses brainchild – it only gets better from here.
There really isn’t a weak track present on this album, from the sweeping vocals in “Im Real” to the aggressive “This is Not The Original Dream,” even the closing instrumental track feels carefully thought out. The only real negative that can be said is with the exception of the vocals, its not too unique. Nothing especially stands out as being original, its simply Power Metal done about as perfectly as I believe I’ve heard, and the fact their so poorly known is just criminal.
Highlights: Spark of Ignition, Give up once for all, Metalwaves.
By T. Bawden