Artist: Dark Empire
Title: “Distant Tides”
Label: Independent (Unsigned)
Release Date: 4/25/2006
Genre: Power Metal
When I received the Dark Empire CD “Distant Tides” I felt the presence of Persuader/Savage Circus singer Jens Carlsson would definitely add some level of promise to the music that I would hear on this release. The vocal powerhouse being coupled with guitar virtuoso Matt Moliti finds the two leading the charge into Power Metal glory bringing to mind similarities of the existing giants Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. The 6 song CD is loaded with stellar tracks and as you listen you will come to agree that without a doubt this band has the potential to stand alongside the notables in the genre. Opener “We Will Never Die” showcase Jens vocal prowess very well, and if you have heard his previous recordings in Persuader and Savage Circus there is no denying the dead on similarities he has to the Blind Guardian front man Hansi. The music is different from theirs of course but the almost spot on sound of the voices might cause confusion to some listeners who catch this in the middle or tail end of the track. I enjoyed “The Alchemist” as well and feel the vivid imagery used in the lyrics does the job you expect of music like this; bringing you to other worlds and times. Moliti also shines on the keyboards during “The Final Vision” which is an instrumental that touches upon the Progressive Metal genre very well.
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Artist: Savage Circus
Title: “Dreamland Manor”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 3/21/2006
Genre: Power Metal
The minute you begin to play the debut release by Savage Circus you will feel as though you are revisiting classic Blind Guardian music with some unreleased archives or even perhaps something by Demons & Wizards. In reality this is something new and exciting but due to the line up responsible the resultant confusion is possible. Formed by Thomen Staunch (previously of Blind Guardian) this new band takes a gamble by choosing to revisit the roots of the genre and as each track goes by you can tell that this was a smart bet to take. “Omen” felt returning to his classic style and sound would be accepted by the legions that also enjoy his work in Blind Guardian. Joining him in this endeavor would be two members of the Swedish band “Persuader” (Jens Carlsson, vocals & Emil Norberg, guitars) along with Piet Sielck from Iron Savior. From there the formula was simple for the band would be adept and accomplished in this style and easily able to handle the framework of the material. Quick time changes and intricate yet powerful melodies are par for the course on this album that will appeal to Blind Guardian fans very much. As a matter of fact you will be impressed at how much Jens pulls off a Hansi like vocal style all around the record. Being able to handle vocals of this style just goes to show the level of performer that Jens is. It also makes me feel we can count on some Blind Guardian to be performed when the band tours. Perhaps a little “Persuader” or “Iron Savior” can be counted on as well, and if you have not heard these two bands you should look into them. Savage Circus takes a little from each and makes it something special for music fans.
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