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Holy Shire - Midgard

Holy Shire
by Tuoksu Holopainen at 08 May 2014, 3:23 PM

It's quite easy to tell, only by looking at the band's name, it's a fantasy-themed Symphonic Power Metal band we have here. HOLY SHIRE are an Italian power octet with some folk influences. The band has only released a Demo and EP so far, making "Midgard" their debut full-length.

The album opens up with "Bewitched (My Words Are Power)" and its catchy Power Metal riffs and intriguing vocals, a little watered-down by some weird and kind of superfluous flute cacophony here and there that might have been intended for a Folkish feeling but ended up sounding almost-irrelevant. The following track "Winter Is Coming" is in a completely different mood, still featuring the soaring female/male vocal duet and a succession of tight solid and riffs. It's a convincing track despites the (now) clichéd title. "Overlord of Fire" is an instant Power Metal "classic" and I think it's one of the best songs on this album due to its vigorousness and the great male vocals, yet again the flute (and even the female vocals) slightly ruined it for me.

"Holy Shire" features more prominent symphonic elements and lives up to being the band's eponymous track. The female voices are surprisingly much better on this one and theMaxx continues to showcase his impressive vocal performance. At this point you'd feel like this album is only getting better, yet still the flute is ruining it (at least for me.)
"The Revenge of the Shadow" and "Holy War" are on of the heavier side, with a slightly progressive vibe. In “Beyond” and the bonus track "Greensleeves "the flute ceases to sound irrelevant and seems to be fitting at last. The latter track is greatly amusing.  The title track is relatively weak, despite the intended "epicness" of it.

Overall, this a definitely must-check-out band for Power Metallers and "Fantasy Metal" fans. If you're already into Italian Symphonic Power Metal, this is an album to add to your collection. It's not an instant favorite, nor does it bring anything new to the subgenre, but that's what Power Metal is all about. The eternally-successful combination of the magical elements that you either adore or despise.

3 Star Rating

1. Bewitched (My Words Are Power)
2. Winter Is Coming
3. Gift of Death
4. Overlord of Fire
5. Holy Shire
6. The Revenge of the Shadow
7. Beyond
8. Holy War
9. Midgard
10. Greensleeves (Bonus Track)
theMaxx - Drums
Aeon lead - Vocals
ReverendJack - Keyboards
Ale  - Flute
Andrew Moon - Lead Guitar
Ed Gibson - Guitar
BlackBass - Bass
La Sisiki  - Vocals
Record Label: Bakerteam Records


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Edited 03 December 2022

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