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Braveride - ...of Heroes and Innerfire

...of Heroes and Innerfire
by Rachel Montgomery at 24 June 2019, 8:42 PM

BRAVERIDE describes itself as “pure epic feeling and modern sound, which characterizes the style of the band and all the lyrics inspired by sword and sorcery fantasy themes.” Founded by Marios Christakis in 2004, this is the band’s fourth studio concept album, complete with the epic sword and sorcery that the band is about. Truthfully, the thematic and conceptual elements are wonderful, as are the instrumentals and ambiance. However, there’s a big problem throughout: the production buries the lead vocalist.

The intro track and the beginning of “Knights of Victory” are lovely, with melodic guitars and beautiful, chanting elements leading into the album. I love the rolling melody at the beginning of the second track. However, when Kostas Chatzigeorgiou begins to sing, his beautiful voice is mired by the instrumentals and the ambient noise in the album, turning what should have been an epic masterpiece into cacophony. Plus, there’s no reason to bury the vocals. He sings on-key, he has a powerful voice, but it’s so muted I can’t enjoy it along with the rest of the song and that is a big problem, especially since it recurs throughout the entire album.

By Our Strength” does the album right by varying the melody and tone of the song so it doesn’t sound too similar to the one before it. The instrumentals are wonderful and intense, but the vocals are also buried, and worse, reverberate. Same with “Onward” and “The Seeker”, the next two tracks. They each slow down, the former giving a Phantom of the Opera tone, and the latter song featuring some beautiful piano work, a lovely, ambient beginning that creates an interlude effect. Again, everything from the arrangement to the background elements are wonderful. However, I cannot hear the vocals above the instrumentals in any of the songs.

The rest of the tracks have wonderful elements in them. “On Dragonwings” specifically comes to mid due to its mixing of heavy, low guitars juxtaposing flying melodies, and it works, even though you wouldn’t expect it to. However, the vocals are so buried that it distracts from the amazing elements here. Why is this a problem, you may ask? I think of songs as a meal, and the vocals, if they’re included, are the main dish. They carry the melody, they’re the star of the show, which is why the vocalist is called the “front man.” They are the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, and in the production, they need to be audible above the instrumentals. Not too much, but they can’t be so buried that it takes an amazing song and turns it to mud.

It’s not the vocalist’s fault; he has a great, clear voice with good projection and an obvious command of his range. It’s the production: he is mixed so low that he gets swallowed by the powerful tsunami of elements around him. Overall, it ruins what would have been a wonderful album. I did enjoy “Through the Winter.” The vocals aren’t as buried and I love the wintery elements: the soprano background singer, the bell-like guitars; the ambiance is so powerful that I could get lost in the song (even though it’s the middle of summer, it makes me think of Christmastime). While I was disappointed by the vocal production here, I want to check out the other band’s work due to the great elements.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 2

4 Star Rating

1. Of Heroes
2. Knights of Victory
3. By Our Strength
4. Onward
5. The Seeker
6. Through the Winter
7. War Mage
8. The Mission
9. On Dragonwings
10. Voice of the Hero
Marios Christakis – Guitars, Orchestrations
Yrr – Keyboards, Additional Orchestrations
Kostas Chatzigeorgiou – Vocals
Kostas Mylonas – Drums
Record Label: Heathen Tribes


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Edited 23 March 2023

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