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Chalice – Trembling Crown

Chalice
Trembling Crown
by Jean-François Poulin at 20 December 2020, 2:28 PM

CHALICE is a Melodic Heavy Metal band from Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland. This is their first full-length album after releasing a demo in 2017 and an EP in early 2019 called ‘’Silver Cloak’’. They are mostly comprised from ex-members of RANGER, a traditional Speed Metal band from Helsinki as well and were formed back in 2016. They are part of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal wave that really struck a chord in many of old school fans out there. I tend to think the movement was really created by the Canadian Heavy Metal band 3 INCHES OF BLOOD back in the mid 2000’s but a lot of bands have caught the old school bug and formed some sort of renaissance. This new generation of bands like CAULDRON, ENFORCER, DEAD LORD, BLAZING RUST want to carry the torch of the past but it’s not always good and unfortunately CHALICE fell flat on their face on this album.

You obviously have your fair share of up-tempo hymns and some songs really resemble the ‘’Powerslave’’-era IRON MAIDEN but the good moments are few and far between on this album. You do have some pretty captivating solos here and there (including some Spanish guitar solos that are quite impressive) and the bass work is probably the best element of the band. The chunky bass strings really screams New Wave of British Heavy Metal like MOTORHEAD and the aforementioned IRON MAIDEN but the rest of the band just doesn’t seem to grab my attention. The vocalist oh my…Lacking some range and presence and it’s really apparent beginning with the first chords of the first song. He seems to sing always on the same tone and lacks the proper range to be the front man of this genre. He really bore me especially after only like 3 songs. It was a hassle to listen to the rest of the album because he just does not capture your attention.

‘’Trembling Crown’’ sounds like a mix of old school Heavy Metal and THE KILLERS (especially the beginning of the song), it was an odd mix but this song is probably the song that is head and shoulders above the rest. The vocals are still not great and the lack of emotion and range just hurts the band. The pronunciation is also a big problem with me and the mastery of the English language is obviously not there and it resembles the Andre Matos-led ANGRA days back in the late nineties. It gets on your nerves and really fast I tell you! The production is just awful at times also, especially on the opener ‘’Night’s Hands’’, it seems chaotic at best and you feel way too bombarded by all the instruments at the same time. It felt like a sped-up version of KING DIAMOND and there is no rhyme nor reason. This really hurts when it’s your first song of the album and it’s obviously not the best first impression to say the least. The sudden rhythm changes in some songs especially the title track, well the production has problems adjusting and you lose the sound of the drums and the bass at times. It feels really drowned and a tad underdone honestly.

A better production would have been a driving force for the band because you have some capable musicians but Verner Benjamin Pouttu just doesn’t cut it as a front man and you just want to turn off the album after a few songs because he is just a boring singer that lacks the charisma and presence you really need in this genre.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Night’s Hands
2. Trembling Crown
3. Hunger of the Depth
4. Karkanxholl
5. Wings I’ve Known
6. The Key
7. Stars
Lineup:
Verneri Benjamin Pouttu – Vocals and Guitars
Olli Torronen – Drums and Percussions
Mikael Cristian Haavisto – Guitars
Joni Adrian Petander – Bass
Record Label: High Roller Records
     


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