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Great Master - Lion and Queen

Great Master
Lion and Queen
by Ofer Mashiach at 12 February 2017, 8:59 PM

Power Metal has always seemed to me a rather forced genre. I usually find it limited in style and, although this could be said about any subgenre, most bands sound alike in a way you can't tell one from another. Few are the Power Metal bands that managed to tickle me in the right places, as my experience has shown, mostly because the majority of those bands are too "nice" for my taste. I have no problem with galloping riffs or keyboards, let alone high-pitched vocals (which I really enjoy when done right), but it's rather irritating when Metal becomes a "beauty parlor" in an attempt to stray from the characteristic dark themes and balls-out attitude, making it radio friendly and more digestible, or accessible, to the mainstream music consumers with its sweet melodies and watered-down sound.

Unfortunately, that is the case with "Lion and Queen," the latest release by the Italian GREAT MASTER. This is their first full-length since 2012 and third overall. This one is a step back from their previous album "Serenissima", which was more diversified and had a more raw production that gave it a sense of authenticity. The production in here is clearer, but the guitar tone is lean, almost ethereal, and whatever heaviness featured on the previous album is now gone. The nearly unvaried structure of the songs makes it hard to discern one song from another, making the album stale and uninteresting, to say the least. They band try hard, even too hard, to create an impact with an alleged heartfelt singing and vocal harmonies, but Bestasi's voice sounds strenuous, tinny and shallow at best. The riffs are nothing to write home about and there are catchy hooks galore, which makes the overall experience tiresome. The lack of inspiration and evolution barely kept me focused on the music. To add insult to the injury, the album is too slow; being an avowed Doom Metal fan, I'm the last person to complain about slowness, but at least I have the riffage and heaviness there to keep me hooked. The only saving grace in this album is the guitars solos, which are good, engaging and performed impeccably.

To summarize, this is a rather tedious release with little to no replay value. Recommended to fans of the band only.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Voices
2. Another Story
3. Oldest
4. Prayer in the Wind
5. Traveler of Time
6. Stargate
7. Mystic River
8. Holy Mountain
9. Time After Time
10. The Other Side
11. Walking on the Rainbow
12. Lion and Queen
Marco Antonello - Bass
Jahn Carlini - Guitars
Max Penzo - Drums
Max Bastasi - Vocals
Record Label: Underground Symphony


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