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Dragonland - Astronomy

Published Jan. 28 2007

=Staff's pick

The Book Of Shadows Pt. IV:
- The Scrolls Of Geometria Divina
Beethoven's Nightmare*
Too Late For Sorrow
Direction: Perfection*
- The Old House On The Hill:
Chapter I: A Death In The Family
Chapter II: The Thing In The Cellar
Chapter III: The Ring Of Edward Walton

Genre Prog./Symphonic Metal
Jonas Heidgert
Tracks 12
Nicklas Magnusson
Runningtime 52 Min.
Olof Mörck
Label Century Media
Christer Pedersen
Release 16 Nov. 2006
Jesse Lindskog
Country Sweden
Elias Holmlid
Similar artists Yngwie Malmsteen, Angra, Evergrey

Every review I've read about Swedish Dragonland's latest album, Astronomy, their fourth to date, has been containing nothing but serious praise. For a long time being aware of their existence but so far without having heard a single note before my curiousity was thus awakened, the album is now in my possession and my judgement is to fall upon it. Doubtlessly this is pretty good stuff bringing tones from the symphonic/progressive areas of the power metal sphere and a showcase of good variation in the repertoir. The songs are diverse and complicated with many inventive details without being so complex that a maze seems easy to navigate. Heavy guitars are marching side by side with dominating keyboards, many neo-classic influences, cleaner vocals of both male and female character and also death metal harscher growling is wrapped up nicely among faster and more mid paced songs.

Supernova sets the show on the road in mid paced heavy fashion with some distorted radio voice vocals while Cassiopeia continues on pretty much the same path but has the addition of female supporting singing. Both contain quite beautiful and memorable melodies while Contact, Astronomy and Antimatter speed things up and the two latter also introduce death metal growling and a more aggressive approach together with a thrashy aspect, especially hearable on Antimatter. The atmosphere that originally was set melancholic and emotional also with these three tracks turn things more into the fringes of horror movie music and the symphonic and neo-classic features continue to permeate the songs. Beethoven's Nightmare is exactly what it sounds like. A neo-classic metal adventure that furthermore enhances the dramatic scary film score.

I really have to say I admire the band's willingness of experimentation and for really trying to stand out from the crowd but as almost always with Swedish power metal with cleaner vocals it's a bit too nice and sugar sweet to totally take it to heart, despite the heaviness. I also find the final three episodes of The Old House on the Hill to be more than just slightly over worked. Doubtlessly Dragonland are fully capable of delivering and composing high standard instrumentals that states that this what Beethoven would churn out being an alive and well power metal composer, but that doesn't mean they should. Too much momentum is lost for me while listening to these three in other ways very ambitious compositions. Seen on a wider total aspect the album's production is pretty flawless and if musical collegues like Yngwie Malmsteen, Angra and Evergrey are among your prefered listening alternatives and you like plenty of variation Dragonland has a whole lot to offer.

Personally I'm not as impressed as other reviewers regarding Astronomy but Dragonland really must be said to have established a secure career for themselves as symphonic/progressive power metal crusaders without having delivered the real awe-inspiring clash.








6,5 chalices of 10 - Mat

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