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Highlord - Hic Sunt Leones

Hic Sunt Leones
by Johnny Jackal at 30 August 2016, 2:05 PM

Born from the ashes of AVATAR, this long-running Italian based Power Metal band offers us its first album in 3 years. The preceding album, ‘’The Warning After’’ was not well received and was a departure from the Traditional Power Metal style.

They are definitely not afraid of taking some risks in the genre by adding to some growl vocals to a few songs on this release. Unfortunately they fall pretty flat, it may add some new elements but it doesn’t fit very well with the genre itself. It’s not necessarily a departure from their roots but they wanted to add something new. Some bands like AMARANTHE can add growling vocals to their songs and it fits seamlessly because of the other vocalists in the band. Andrea Marchisio has some great pipes but his mastery of the English language is pretty damn awful. The guy has a beautiful voice but he can’t seem to articulate very well and you can’t really hear the words very well. I am not criticizing his powerful voice or his range, just the little details.

This is a very good Symphonic Power Metal album; you have some really great songs that make me think of various Power Metal giants like LABYRINTH, RHAPSODY and ANGRA. There is not a progression in the genre but these are solid songs and any fan of the genre will instantly love songs like: ‘’Be King or Be Killed’’ or ‘’Wrong Side of Sanity’’. It may not be revolutionary and the genre has been stale for years but these songs are as solid as it comes in Power Metal.

The production of the album is top notch like a lot of the latest albums I have reviewed. The guitars sound some freaking good and production has always been a beast of burden for many bands. The quality of the production gives a lot of depth to the music itself. You have some really solid guitar riffs on this album and even on a MP3 Player, you can feel that energy! It does help when you album is mastered by Tony Lindgren who has worked with bands like SYMPHONY X, DRAGONFORCE and ARCH ENEMY. He is used to work with pretty damn good musicians (especially guitarists) and it shows.

Some people think the sound of some of the songs on this release is outdated. Well like I said earlier, it’s not revolutionary but it does the job. The genre may be at a stalemate for the time being but every Metal genre is cyclical and eventually we’ll see some great stuff coming up in Power Metal.

The most solid aspect of this album is the presence of two great guest vocalists in Apollo Papathanasio (formerly of FIREWIND) and Linnea Vikstrom (from THERION). Linnea adds his growling to ‘’One World at a Time’’ and it’s probably the best element on this song because the rest of the song lacks creativity at times. As for Papathanasio, he does some backing vocals but nothing out of the ordinary. His powerful voice is not used to full effect unfortunately.

This is a good release but nothing spectacular.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Time for a Change
2. One World at a Time
3. Be King or be Killed
4. Let There be Fire
5. Hic Sunt Leones
6. Wrong Side of Sanity
7. Feathers to a Bird
8. Warmight
9. I’ve Chosen my Poison
10. Once Were Immortal
11. Full Circle
Marco Malacarne – Guitars
Andrea Marchisio – Lead Vocals
Davide Cristofoli – Keyboards
Massimiliano Flak – Bass
Luca Pellegrino – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records


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