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Great Master – Thy Harbour Inn

Great Master
Thy Harbour Inn
by Justin Joseph at 17 August 2021, 6:36 PM

The Italian Power Metal voyagers, GREAT MASTER bring forth their 5th release to our shores, titled “Thy Harbour Inn”. Constructed in 1993, the crew first set sail with their first full length in 2009, since then their journey has been unhindered, for the winds that guide their vessel have seen them through a slew of releases. GREAT MASTER’s brew of Power Metal is not your typical sword and sorcery flavor, for it borrows from the waters of pirate tales, such as Treasure Island and other typical pirate adventure tropes. So how is the album? Well…. Let’s find out!

When one thinks of Power Metal the first thing that is envisioned may be tales woven of epic proportions, stories of knights, elves and dragons, the quest to overcome the evil which may plague the innocent, or to battle the demons within oneself. While GREAT MASTER do keep their ship along the waters where epic tales are concerned, they however opt for a more whimsical and theatrical approach in their story telling, think of bands like WINDROSE and some parts of TURISAS that make use of folk melodies, so does GREAT MASTER also add these elements to their ale. Take for instance, the first track, “Randy Dandy Oh”, which personifies the jovial tone of the album, as the melodies takes shape and evokes the feeling of the listener being a part of the ship crew sitting in an inn while the tale unfolds. “All for Me Grog” is another track which illuminates the joyous spirit that encompasses the album, the vocal patterns on this track emanates a folk-like ambience towards it, where it gives the vibe of hearing a drunken sailor spurt his adventures while trying not to spill his drink at the same time. Now you’re probably wondering “But this sounds way to comedic…..” and you are right in a sense, but it’s not comedic where it deviates from the musical prowess portrayed on “Thy Harbour Inn”, in fact it’s the instrumental and vocal patterns that shape the waters of this album and drives the song to that eccentric theme. The playful tone to it adds a rather erratic atmosphere where it’s an album that can be enjoyed with friends or even at a festival to sing along with crowds, and for the spirit that it evokes, it does so rather well.

Now onto the voice that is the wind that breathes life to the sails and dictates the journey, while it’s not the soaring operatic melodies that pierce the skies and slays the dragon, instead, the vocals here are more toned down but makes up for it by using more melodic patterns. Now, I’ll get this out of the way, the vocalist is really, extremely talented, even though the album displays an amiable outlook, it’s the mirth and emotions intertwine with every note that gives the “Thy Harbour Inn” a unique flavor. The acoustic version of “Skull and Bones” (a rendition of a previous song on a past album) exemplifies the vocal strengths portrayed on the album as well as giving it the distinct voyager tale vibe. The instrumentational aspect of the album is what keeps the sails drawn high, as it is the mast of the ship. While building along to the pirate theme, the guitar and drum patterns morph to further expand on the crusader feeling. “Rolling Down to Old Maui” is a track which fosters the elements described prior with the riffing patters, while not extremely fast and intricate, they flow to the vocal melodies adding to the festive mood.

Overall, as you can deduce, it’s a fun album, but it doesn’t end with it, musical wise, there is much to admire, especially where the folk elements are concerned, as the instruments work in such a way to transport you to that venture setting, with salt and wind upon your skin while you watch your crew mate walk the plank or bite a bullet…..good times…good times. However, this is an album I can see working on certain occasions, more for festive feelings or sing-alongs, I can see these songs being quite a mood changer at shows. But if you are a Power Metal fan, sure, I’d recommend this release, as it offers a different shade to genre, not unknown, but definitely enjoyable. To GREAT MASTER, may the great winds guide you to more victories!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Randy Dandy Oh
2. All for Me Grog
3. Here’s a Health to the Company
4. Leave Her Johnny
5. Rolling Down to Old Maui
6. Skull & Bones (acoustic version)
7. The Shantyman’s Rundown
8. Treasure Island (acoustic version)
9. Long John Silver (radio edit version)
Lineup:
Massimo David - Bass
Jahn Carlini - Guitars
Manuel Menin - Guitars
Giorgio Peccenini - Keyboards
Stefano "Stex" Sbrignadello - Vocals
Jack Lauretani - Drums
Record Label: Underground Symphony Records
     


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