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Airged L'amh - Ode To Salvation (CD)

Airged L'amh
Ode To Salvation
by Yiannis Zervos at 09 May 2008, 10:34 PM

Greek Heavy Metal bands are here and that is a fact. Bands like SEPTIC FLESH, ROTTING CHRIST, BATTLEROAR etc are making their way through the dark Metal paths with mainly European success. AIRGED L'AMH are  kickin' asses since the early 90's with reliable Celtic Epic Thrash Metal mentality, from their first demo Vertigo Edda Arised (later became One Eye God, with two bonus tracks) to Silver Arm, which came out in 2004 and made AIRGED L'AMH one of the heaviest Greek bands while they were building their name with a European tour with BATTLEROAR.
After Black Lotus Records's lockdown, a great number of Greek bands were on hold, but AIRGED L'AMH shut their, well shaped, asses down and created material for a new album. Recordings took place during last summer's high Greek temperatures and the band members literally self-financed (from their day jobs) everything, from studio hours, to photoshots and booklet artwork from the well-known artist Mattias Noren. (KAMELOT, EVERGREY, MIND'S EYE, KOTIPELTO, JAG PANZER, SABATON, PLANET X and many more).

When the band called us for a pre-release taste of the new material it was hard to believe that this solid production was made in a Greek studio by a Greek Metal band. Eat Metal Records proudly handled the distribution and finally Ode To Salvation is spinning in my CD player. The album has an atmospheric, Celtic instrumental intro, which could easily fit in any Hollywood epic movie. Midlothian starts with a nostalgic sense and then reaches the fast aggressive marching drums and horns that give the signal for The Hunter' s Path to charge. A RUNNING WILD-ish riff is all you need, and the Power Metal battle is on, with a melodic epic Celtic triumphant bridge, L'AMH put you right into the battle.

The awesome production is already in the listener's face with solid guitars and balanced mix. The other thing that I noticed is that AIRGED L'AMH's tempos are slower than in Silver Arm's extreme Thrash riffs and are getting closer to the likes of the average metalhead. This way there is more space for the band to set the melodies in the right way.

The album's self titled song Ode To Salvation has a pure Power Metal intro that gets you in the mood of the battle right away. Steve Venardo's vocals have an anger that wasn't present in Silver Arm, mainly because in the previous AIRGED L'AMH release he came in the studio with the songs almost ready. In Ode To Salvation Steve adds his own attitude without reaching hi-pitched notes (a thing that is common in Power/Epic Metal singers).  Eternal Eyes is another steady rhythm song that gives us a taste on how IRON MAIDEN influenced AIRGED L'AMH's music in a way, and George Sofikitis produces an Adrian Smith-based guitar solo with excellent accuracy.

The new thing that AIRGED L'AMH brought to their music in Ode To Salvation is the keyboard help of Manolis Gavalas. His crucial contribution to the final result is obvious from the first notes of the album with the Midlothian intro. Dine In Hades, with a wonderful piano intro, unfolds the story of King Leonidas and his 300 Greek soldiers, which we watched as an half-animated blog-buster film last year under the name 300. Inspired by the comic series, Steve Venardo came up with the lyrics for a concept EP that was going to be released from Black Lotus and AIRGED L'AMH put together Dane In Hades from material written for this EP.

It's time for Doom, and the church bell sound is the way to set the mood for it. Pages Of Essence has the slow and heavy atmosphere that a Doom song needs, then things get a little faster with a strange riff in the middle, to reach their familiar Thrash speed in the end just to make the transportation to pure Epic Power Metal for The Ritual Lair. AIRGED L'AMH's solid rhythm section with George Thanasopoulos on the drums (with a powerful drum solo intro) and John Luna Tsimas on bass, create the L'AMH-killing-machine that starts to shred away and The Ritual Lair grabs you by the balls.

After the storm it's time to calm with some wonderful acoustic guitar work, as Mo Cuishle enters smoothly. A deeply emotional song, written from Steve Venardo after his father's death, with a Metal outbreak in the end. Beautiful work once again from Manolis Gavalas in the background. The Ode To Salavation CD concludes with the song that AIRGED L'AMH chose to visualize in a video (check below). Glide On The Wings opens with the familiar RUNNING WILD-ish riff and the keyboards give once again the final touch on the Epic Metal charge. With a chorus melody that can stick to your head, Glide On The Wings finds the listener singing while the war drums and horn sound the retreat and the CD player stops.

Ode To Salvation is not an effort from a Greek Metal band only.  The work that has been done here is of the highest level. The excellent cover artwork from the band's leader and guitar player Alexander Vasilopoulos is top-notch, capturing AIRGED L'AMH's music essence  into one single moment. Also, the well designed and detailed work from Matias Noren in the booklet and of course the outstanding production that brings an awesome Heavy Metal result. These guys put their money were their mouth is, it's your turn to give in to the true Metal feeling by buying Ode To Salvation CD now!

 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Midlothian
Hunter's Path
Eternal Eyes
Dine In Hades
Pages Of Essence
The Ritual Lair
Mo Cuishle
Glide On The Wings
Lineup:
Steve Venardo - Vocals
Alexander Vasilopoulos - Guitar
George Sofikitis - Guitar
John Luna Tsimas - Bass
George Thanasopoulos - Drums
Manolis Gavalas - Keyboards
Record Label: Eat Metal Records
     


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