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Guest vocals by Chris Boltendahl and aditional bass by Marcus Bengts.
The monster vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Lion's Share, Wuthering Heights, ex- Civil War) embarks on a long planned solo journey with songs that have been created over a period of more than ten years. And what a great ride this is.
He is vocally on his absolute and most powerful best, and when the songs with almost no exception are based on and forged around the very best ingredients from Wuthering Heights (the dramatic and exciting turns and twists) and Civil War (the drive, groove and catchiness), this album is an instant hit. The opening songs Evil Deluxe and Estonia are nothing less than amazing and sets an exciting tone right away.
With a very similar, and thus great, production to Civil War's latest release the songs get a perfect sound landscape and feel as grand and heavy as I can only assume they intended to in order to carry his voice forward in what is mostly a good pace and drive.
While not being bad in any respect, the songs Circle In The Sky and A Waltz For Paris do not quite reach there, and as a footnote they could have made Chris Bolthendahl (Grave Digger) perform a bit more guest vocals in Metalhead, since he geniously has been engaged to participate in the first place. Those are however the only small sidesteps since the rest of the material holds a very high level.
It was many years ago since I last bothered with a cover, since I usually think they are meaningless, but Accept's Burning in the firm hands of Johansson fits like a glove. A brillant choice and performance and it makes perfect sense and I feel this is a rare case of a cover having just as much business being on an album as many of the normal songs.
I had expected a good album from Johansson, since he close to never disappoints, but not by far this good. This is close to an hour with very few dead and boring seconds and a rock solid release in the heavy metal history.