Kaledon - Legend Of The Forgotten Reign Part III-Way Of The Light
The story of the people of the land Kaledon continues and the evil Carnagus has been defeated and a new heir to the land, Daeniel, is appointed by the good king, Antillius. But despite the defeat of Carnagus the land is still full of evil minions of the mighty sovereign Azrael so the trials are far from over for the brave Kaledonians in their quest for peace and freedom in their land. Italian fantasy metal unit Kaledon thus presents the third episode in their Legend of the Forgotten Reign saga, given the name The Way of the Light and the improvements since the previous albums are almost incredible. This release is namely so far the best the band ever has delivered and as good as everything has been enhanced into the better. The singing of Claudio Conte is the most obvious input changed to a much higher level, but this album is also suffering a way better production with a much clearer and fatter sound and a majority of better song-writing on top of it all. The drums on the album are handled by none other than Jörg Michael of Stratovarius so that implement in the music has really reached other heights as well even though his predecessor (David Folchitto who's obviously back in the band again) still did a great job. Furthermore, the symphonic features feel more reduced than earlier and the album is more pure power metal oriented than especially the previous The King's Rescue. The keyboard is used more as a support than a more fronted instrument but still delivers the perfect background effects that really lift the tracks. The focus still lies on a speedy fantasy based epic power metal though and you can continue to compare the band to Rhapsody, Skylark, Dragonland and even Fairyland but Kaledon on this release walk a much more direct and straightforward path, even more than before, while still remaining pompous and melodic. The songs also start to be more varied in pace, not only between the numbers but also within, to give a wider and not so monotone standard power metal approach.
The album kicks off with Inexorable Light, that's a song blending mid- and up-tempo. It slowly builds up with a two minute instrumental intro to transcend into a faster mid-tempo track. The middle interlude then pushes the pedal to the floor with a great guitar passage and of course a mighty chorus is there to really put things over the top. The following The Glory Starts begins with a guitar intro mixing At Vance's Soldiers of Time and any great song-opening by Running Wild. Here we also get a school book instruction of in how many steps a great guitar melody can take in increasing pace while maintaining the same melody. The chorus is slightly epic but also ventures into the "happy-metal" category. The Angel is an instrumental shorter piece that demonstrates Alex Mele's more sensitive guitar touch and not only Brian May influences can be found but also such of Alex Rudi Pell can be clearly heard.
Other true killer tracks are absolutely In the Eyes of the Queen, Mighty Son of the Great Lord and Vultures in the Air. This is a trio that together with the initial three numbers delivers such great material that it's very hard to not get carried away in the grading of the album. In the Eyes of the Queen has a very special verse section and a chorus that just sticks in your head. Varying the tempo marks it as a very versatile track too and easily among the best Kaledon songs so far. Mighty Son of the Great Lord is the fastest track of the album and the lyrics have a lot of importance regarding the story the band is telling. The chorus is just magnificent and just made to sing along to and this just might be the absolute best Kaledon effort ever. Some Iron Maiden touches have found their way into Vultures in the Air that once again delivers a more mid tempo verse section and a more up-tempo refrain. Other tracks like Break the Chant, Sword on the Shoulder and Great Night in the Land are pure and very mighty power metal super injections too and you almost wish it would never end. Come With Me is a more mid-tempo ballad-type track where Conti and guest vocalist Lara Bertoli have a nice duet. The title track also follows this ballad fashion and here some harmonized voices and pipe organ effects bring a very good atmosphere to the song. The instrumental faster Black Telepathy compiles a great instrument delivery from not only Mele, but also keyboarder Daniele Fuligni.
With such a strong and impressive material as this put in the context of epic fantasy power metal albums, The Way of the Light has to be considered among the absolute best. Displaying so many instalments all changed to the better, the vocal especially, and the underlying potential from The King's Rescue fully unleashed (?), Kaledon has really turned into a band that is overflowing with quality musicianship all the way around and should reach much bigger crowds and recognition with this release. Many multi layered refrains, great guitar riffs, Jörg Michael's drum signature and the big variety mark The Way of the Light as one of the top releases of this year. This is absolutely an album for you into well played and mighty power metal where epic fantasy meets undertones of symphonic features and I can't do more than highly recommend it and hope that the next part in the Kaledon saga is not too far away. The future of Kaledon and their Part IV will be very interesting to poke around in and that album is set for a tentative 2006 release. So until then, thank you very much Kaledon and May the Dragon be With Us!
See also: Song By Song Commentary
See also review: The King's Rescue