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Highlord - The Warning After

The Warning After
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 01 April 2013, 5:25 PM

I believe that has been almost thirteen years since the last time I listened to a full length made by the Italian HIGHLORD. It was their second album, with the band’s earlier lineup, named “When The Aurora Falls…”. Not that I didn’t check out the band when I got the chance, listening to a track here and there, but in order to grasp the material, a few separate tracks won’t cut it. Therefore, the coming of “The Warning After”, quite a mysterious title, via the band’s new local label Punishment 18 Records, gave me a chance to hear out this longtime band in full once again. The 90s Euro Power Metal alignments seemed to have been long gone in favor of a somewhat modern touches of sound along with various of additional influences, side by side the melodic, straight out, Heavy / Power Metal flavors of the 80s, such as minor Thrash elements related to MEGADETH and crunchy Hard Rock in vein of EUROPE. Though late 90s Power Metal turned a few stones back in the day, HIGHLORD’s addition since the sophomore albums didn’t remain unnoticed.

In comparison to the band, “The Warning After” sounded way more mature, slightly darker, updated, and less heroic than the nativity of the past. Not that I have anything against letting the imagination run wild, while being affected by legends and myths, but sometimes you have to life the curtain, maybe a few inches up, in order for the listener to comprehend your messages. Musically, the song changed its tune and didn’t remain the same. The material didn’t feel loosen, several of the songs rose above from the one dimensional state of the earlier streams and seemed more thought over, conditioning the tunes to share a much broadened collection of ideas. Well, HIGHLORD didn’t cross into a path of progression, yet there is an evidence for advancement turning into the later versions of KAMELOT and ANGRA.

“The Goggle Mirror”, a superb track, and the album’s greater achiever, for me this is the band’s new mindset. There is thickened layer of Power Metal, but also supplied and driven by grooves and mid tempo rhythms bearing slick riffing. Chorus wise, it is melodically motivated, scraping with great catchy lines, portraying a subsequent C part and the readiness for an inspiring solo. “No More Heroes” pretty much following the same idea as the latter track, yet HIGHLORD turned up the melodies a notch, creating sensational melodic patterns and fine harmonies supporting the goods of the multi layered chorus. For some reason there wasn’t seem that need for keyboards, which could have been a little more passive. Furthermore, this track breaks the common structure planning several surplus junctures. “In This Wicked World”, an anthem of the new domain. It is a sort of a shout out to remain on a constant guard of what might happen next, maybe the contemporary nation in fear. I could send the entanglement of STRATOVARIUS along with early ANGRA. The solo made an impact on this song nonetheless, alongside the anthem chorus that is highly memorable. “Arcade Warriors”, might serve as a reminder that of an innocence or perhaps a bit of a dream world? Could be, but I am only speculating. Possibly this is the band’s traditional Power Metal oriented song of late, yet not in full. This one sinking its teeth deep and even Ralph Scheepers (PRIMAL FEAR) rallied up to join the fun with his highly acclaimed high pitched vocals. Sadly that the song has a middle numb part right before the harmonic guitars kicked in, the keyboards’ display was fairly boring.

The Warning After”, in overall, is fine piece of work. It felt craftier than the band’s older era of straightforwardness, moderately melodic and also diverse. However, I also felt the lack of dominance of the vocals. Sure that the longtime frontman, Andrea Marchisio, is above your common melodic Metal / Hard Rock vocalist, especially when his singing in the vein of Timo Kotipelto and Andre Matos. Maybe it was how his lines were mixed with the rest of the channels, but it felt too thin at times, lacking power. While listening to “Arcade Warriors”, with Scheepers’ involvement, I realized how my notion fitted. Furthermore, HIGHLORD might have proceeded beyond with their material, but I wouldn’t call everything that mind blowing or thrilling. Certainly not average, but a bit behind being called to be classics. In short, this is not for Power Metal fans only, I recommend on having your way with it.

3 Star Rating

1. Tonightmare
2. The Goggle Mirror
3. Brother to the End
4. Inside the Vacuity Circle
5. Standing in the Rain
6. No More Heroes
7. Of Tears and Rhymes
8. The Warning After
9. In This Wicked World
10. Arcade Warriors (Feat. Ralph Scheepers)
Stefano "Sted" Droetto - Guitars
Andrea "Andy" Marchisio – Vocals
Daniele "Dani" Veronese - Bass
Luca "T-1000" Pellegrino - Drums
Emanuele "Mr. Triton" Salsa - Keyboards
Record Label: Punishment 18 Records


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