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Drakarium – Acte II Award winner

Drakarium
Acte II
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 July 2020, 4:18 AM

“Acte II” is the first full-length album by French Canadian metal quintet DRAKARIUM. This latest release further defines the band's identity, integrating folks, progressive and symphonic elements to its already unique sound. This first full-length effort represents a step forward in terms of the band's musicianship, songwriting and overall production. “Acte II” is aimed towards fans of original power metal that walks off the beaten path.

“Prelude” leads off the album. It’s a three-and-a-half-minute track that opens with keys and a Folky feeling. Thunder rumbles in and then the piano comes in with somber tones. Big, powerful claps of thunder and steady drumming form into ominous but pretty tones. “Étoile à tribord” is next, opening with Progressive and Symphonic elements alike. Jean-Philippe’s vocals are both commanding and fitting to the music. A skillful guitar solo ushers in a key change, and I really like what I hear.

“Pacifica” is shorter and much faster, opening with a dexterous riff and a speedy, galloping sound. Here we have more of the Power Metal elements, but still with the skill of Progressive Metal as well. The lead guitarist is absolutely fantastic and the harmonized vocals push the melodies here into the forefront. “Jo le Viking” features more Folky type elements, along with that familiar gallop of Power Metal. The melodies are more free flowing here, and so far this does not sound at all like a debut album…it sounds like something released from a veteran band.

“Tournesol” opens with pretty piano notes, and charms abound in the vocals. The meter shifts constantly here, a mark of seasoned or exquisite musicians. There is a Spanish feeling here as well. The instrumental passage is fantastic, with the band always keeping the melody line in their minds. What a fantastic song! “Révolution” is just under four minutes in length, opening with ominous Symphonic elements, and then twin guitar harmonies lift the song into the heavens. The vocals are steady and charming here. They pour out their hearts into the chorus.

“Neige éternelle” opens with keys and guitars working together in a synergy that drummer Alexandre Lessard-Martin keeps up with just fine. The harmonized vocals and audible bass guitar notes really make this song shine. It’s pure beauty, and Alexandre’s cymbal crashes are perfectly placed, in this somewhat sad song. “Humour au clavier” is close to eight minutes in length, opening with a steady dose of instrumentation as it picks up in speed. Every musician in this band has talent. It then settles into a mid-tempo groove, and then picks back up. They are flexing their collective muscles here, and they are meaty. Around the half-way mark, it slows, with a charming piano melody and some background atmosphere. This instrumental is truly an opus.

“Vegvisir” closes the album, with precision in the instruments and the wonderful vocals of Jean-Philippe. The tightness that is created is both powerful and noteworthy. This song is more reflective of the Power Metal genre, but with spectacular musicianship. Overall, this was a very happy surprise for me to stumble across this promo. As I mentioned above, the band plays like they have been together for many year, and this is a confident debut album. It’s full of Progressive and Symphonic elements that work together, instead of competing with one another, and the melodies will stick with you for a long time. Somebody please sign this band now!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Prelude
2. Étoile à tribord
3. Pacifica
4. Jo le viking
5. Tournesol
6. Révolution
7. Neige éternelle
8. Humour au clavier
9. Vegvisir
Lineup:
Jean-Philippe Brassard – Guitars & Vocals
Guillaume Duchesne – Guitars
Pierre-Olivier Vigneault – Keyboards
Alexandre Lessard-Martin – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 13 August 2020
 

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