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Brocelian - Guardians Of Brocéliande Award winner

Brocelian
Guardians Of Brocéliande
by Joseth Radiant at 21 July 2019, 10:32 PM

BROCELIAN is a four-piece Symphonic Metal outfit from Munich, Germany. Founded in 2009 by Alexander and with 2014's debut album “Lifelines” under its belt, “Guardians Of Brocéliande” is an album that displays a band that is beginning to find its feet creatively and is getting closer to discovering its signature sound. While the idea of being a Symphonic Metal band from Europe may sound cliché or old hat, BROCELIAN's strength is crafting memorable songs without the entire album being riddled with nine-minute-long sprawling epics that become either boring or mundane. The feeling one gets when listening to this album is of a band that's well aware of the genre's pitfalls and potholes and makes a conscious effort to avoid them. This reviewer had to do some research as to what Brocéliande is, and a quick Google search will reveal that it is an enchanted forest that has appeared in many medieval texts as a place where much of the Arthurian legend took place. Modern research has shown the modern day location of this forest is the Paimpont forest in Brittany, France and is said to be the location of Merlin's Tomb. This link to medieval legend adds a level of gravitas that enriches the experience of the listener.

“Guardians Of Brocéliande” opens with “Wrath of Nature”, which sets the pace for the entire album as it opens with a choir of vocals and has the band kicking in full force as the song progresses. Susan's vocals shine throughout the entire album. While operatic at times, she is still able to add in a fair amount of grit when the song demands it. Joining BROCELIAN on bass is Chris Rieger (Hydra), and he rounds out the low end of the album with a deft excellence that enriches each track. It then moves onto “A Life For You”, which is one of the more memorable songs on the album. The hook of the chorus is incredibly catchy while the lyrics read almost like a one of the love poems from Medieval France. The lyrics are incredibly flowery, but in the best possible way.

“Speed Of Light” picks up the pace and provides with a fist-pumping track to get your heart racing and your head banging along with the track. If there is any critique that is to be made about this album, it's with the guitar solos. Alex is a fabulous rhythm guitar player and the parts he plays on all of the songs are flawless. This reviewer was expecting a solo different than the one he played, something a lot more shreddy, but Alex is very much a melodic guitar player. His style translates into the solos rather succinctly, but it left the reviewer hoping for more. It would be nice to have a proper lead guitarist in this band to compliment Alex and Angelina's guitar and violin parts respectively, but this reviewer also understands that doing something like that can be easier said than done.

The title track is the fourth song, and it begins with the battlecry, “Allez, combattants! Allez! Pour  Brocéliande! Allez!” which translates into, “Go, warriors! Go! For Brocéliande! Go!” That battlecry in some form or another has been recited throughout the history of Brittany, and by extension, through the history of France itself. It shows the protagonist being drawn into a bard's song that sings of the history of this enchanted forest. It tells of the inhabitants of that enchanted forest rising together to defeat a common enemy and to defend their honor and homes. Angelina's work on the violin adds a layer of beauty to this already stellar track. The band's form is really beginning to hit its stride at this point in the album and it only gets better from here.

“My Last Melody” is without a doubt the climax of the album. Its somber tones really bring the listener into the story of someone that is nearing the end of their life. The memories and regrets of the past drift before the person in their final hours transforming into one final melody that both delights and tortures the protagonist. Here, Alex's melodic guitar solo soars and fits perfectly with the slower pace. Incredibly reminiscent of David Gilmour, when the song requires Alex to play something that takes you on an emotional journey, he is the guitarist to call. This reviewer has listened to a lot of songs in his time, but this one pulled at the heart-strings and made the hair on my arms stand up.

After the previous track's melancholy, we launch into “Now It's Time”. The track almost borders on thrash metal with the double-kick drums of Joris Nijenhuis dominating the recording, and undoubtedly Andi has done an amazing job playing this live. If this track isn't in the live set, it would certainly be a wonderful addition to the live show. The chorus is very easy to sing along to, and is a lot of fun to crank it up in the car as you're driving down the road. “The Signs” is where we hear a lot of anger in the lyrics with the main character of the song is dealing with a narcissistic individual that is blind to their own issues ruining the lives of themselves and the people around them. The vocal hook in the chorus is evidence of this where it's sung, “HEY! WAKE UP! See! The Signs.”

“Escape From Alcatraz” is the first song on the album where the first duet appears. Oliver Tim (Annie Kee, The Crossways) tenor vocals compliment Susan's vocals as the song discusses the classic subject of the prisoner longing to be free. Where they succeed in this subject matter is discussing the mental struggle of being a prisoner as well as the physical struggle of being confined in one place for a very long time. “Fire Of My Heart” follows along with Alicja Mroczka (The Crossways) being the second duet to appear here, and Alicja's voice blends beautifully as her and Susan join together in the chorus. The mid-tempo songs on this album are very catchy and I believe they are definitely a point of strength for BROCELIAN. It will be exciting to see this mature and develop as time goes on. Lastly, we are left with “Summer Days”, an airy acoustic track that gives the listener a chance to catch their breath and relax after being taken on a musical journey filled with emotional highs and lows.

All in all, this album has been a very pleasant snapshot into a band that are getting out of the development phase into becoming a much more streamlined outfit that will undoubtedly be making waves within the metal community. This album reminds me a lot of THEOCRACY's "Mirror Of Souls" album, where there are still areas that could be improved upon, but the overall feel of the album is that the group has figured out what its signature sound is and how it can be enriched and built upon for further releases. Alexander Krull's production abilities are stellar on this album and they make everyone's performances really stand out with top-tier quality. Also, Nele Diel's artwork on the album cover and in the lyric videos really pull the listener into this world of enchantment and fantasy without coming of as tacky or cheesy. This is definitely a band that people should pay attention to because it is very clear that everyone involved respects what groups like NIGHTWISH and the like have achieved while at the same time making a determined effort to create something new and interesting for fans of all metal genres. Keep your eyes open for this band with live dates coming up throughout the summer, and yes, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wrath Of Nature
2. A Life For You
3. Speed Of Light
4. Guardians Of Brocéliande
5. My Last Melody
6. Now It's Time
7. The Signs
8. Escape From Alcatraz
9. Fire Of My Heart
10. Summer Days
Lineup:
Susan – Vocals
Alexander – Guitars
Angelina – Violins, Viola
Andi – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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