Concerto Moon – Angel of Chaos – 4/5
I'd rhetorically ask why I never picked up on these guys before but I already know precisely the reason why. Too much keyboard work. Much like my issue with Balflare in this blog's depths, when I last heard their 2000 release “Fragments of the Moon” it felt too light in tone; too overt in its symphonic keyboard work and flowery Stratovarius-like atmosphere, lacking that touch of a gritty sense of power I find myself gravitating towards. But ten years is a long time, and now they find themselves without a keyboardist at all, and suddenly my interest has returned. Hell even the name sounds more promising; a slight sense of darkness and anarchy to be expected in the proceedings, that clown on the front cover joyously causing destruction in that “Batman: The Dark Knight” sense of 'because we can.'
None of which is to say fans of earlier material should expect some monumentally radical change in how they go about doing things; the core of what makes them – and indeed makes the vast majority of the genre – has remained untouched. The vocalist, whilst not exactly new in joining shortly after I lost interest is certainly new to me, adds more than touch of rasp to his epic lines lending a strong sense of power and emotion to the proceedings, singing the ever melodic chorus lines in English whilst maintaining the flow for his Japanese verses, but really it's the guitarist, Norifumi Shima, that you'll find yourself drawn to in this release. There is a real tendency towards riffs of the face-melting variety, tastefully interspersed with loud and crunchy chords and solo's blasting past in an effigy of speed that makes you wonder how many times he accidentally set his guitar on fire in the studio.
Even without the keyboards, the basic power metal formula hasn't been changed a bit; combine the irresistible melodies of “Anthem” with unusual neo-classical aggression of “Galneryus,” and solo's that would give “Malmsteem” a run for his money, except everything simply sounds more 'Heavy Metal' than it once did; it has more of an attitude; a deep biting aggression as they smile behind their snarls, and with only a slight lack of individuality separating them from the overpopulated herd drawing them back, fans of either side will find no weak moment amongst the plethora of nail-biting riffs and epic solo's on display for people to sink their teeth into. When I last heard them they were merely kittens playing around, but now I've returned I can see the lion's I left behind, and it looks like they're on the prowl...
Highlights: Lost in the Dark, Plectrum, Stand Up and Fight