After leaving RAVEN LORD's boat on the eve of the release of their first album, shred maestro / guitar wizard Stefan Lindholm (ex-FIRECRACKER) has resurrected his solo project and unexpectedly, he chose to walk the same musical path as his past band, indeed the updated music presented in “Cage of Infinity”, is an improved straight, right to the guts Power Metal and it sounds quite similar to Csaba Zvekan’s RAVEN LORD sound style.
It’s a major transforming and a spectacular mutation that occurred overnight, the Prog influences are dramatically gone for good with the replacement of veteran vocalist Goran Edman (ex-MADISON / ex-RISING FORCE / ex-GLORY / ex-TIME REQUIEM), and now VINDICTIV sounds more like a dangerous ferocious war-machine than before and, I think it’s an understatement indeed (“The Chosen”), instead of an cerebral maturated Progressive Metal as shown with “Ground Zero” in 2009 on the contrary here, we have a savage Power Metal blowing speakers album, with as always a strong focus on his fantastic soloing abilities, displayed in many spots where he can deliver his acrobatic high tech licks full of Swedish patented Neo-Classical minor scales, extensively filled with loads of amazing shredding patterns and knitting parts: the whole embellished and complemented by virtuoso appoggiaturas (“The Encounter”) the more accurate comparison could have been PRIMAL FEAR / BRAINSTORM meets IMPELLITTERI / MIND ODYSSEY.
Third cut “Down In a Black Hole” sounds more like US Metal spiced by some Germanic overtones. The songs “Human Emergency” or “Astronaut” are nevertheless still in a more melodic side and it recall that’s Lindholm is not just a fast shredding engine but also a very gifted guy when it comes to compose songs and writing hooks and addictive themes (“Resistance”), this particular approach in their style is something to cultivate in order to keep the combination of both furious and clever sounds as an real asset for this Swedish band under a wings of endless progression and improvements.
For a real, complete and successful metamorphosis, a new revamped casting is most of the time an obligation. The new singer is stunning Italian born Marco Sandron (ex-PATHOSPRAY / ex-EDEN’S CURSE) who proves his greatness, indeed he had to challenge the fame of the legendary Mr. Edman but he had also to step in, after Andi Kravljaca (AEON ZEN / NERGARD / ex-SEVENTH WONDER) and Tommy Karevik (KAMELOT / SEVENTH WONDER / ex-FIRECRAKER), but happily he has succeed: Maybe it was the best way to show to the world why his reputation was that big, and why, it wasn’t stolen or a fluke. His singing performance is indeed world class and he showed that he can play in the same circle as his famous predecessors and his future seems quite bright for a stardom destiny.
The remaining members are highly skilled too, notably veteran bass player Nalley Pahlsson (L.A.D. / TREAT / THERION / ALFONZETTI) who with the help of his buddy Henrik Hedman (ex-LAST KINGDOM) is forming an unmoving rhythm brigade solid as a swedish mountain and of course the excellent ex-FIRECRAKER Keyboardist Pontus Larsson who shared some lead breaks with Lindholm in the great Malmsteen / Johansson manner.
Power Metal is a genre that is growing by leaps and bounds (dixit Steinmetal), but it’s a Metal style in perpetual mutation and this band is one of the few able to lift up and break the frontiers between Prog and Power, to reach another new step in the fusion between those highly tagged alloy of glorious HM sub style. Buy or listen to Greek Eurovision’s contestant instead.
1. The Chosen 2. Cage of Infinity 3. Down In a Black Hole 4. Choices 5. Astronaut 6. Human Emergency 7. Resistance 8. Orphans 9. Son Of Fate 10. The Encounter 11. Screaming For Answers
Marco Sandron - Lead Vocals Stefan Lindholm - Lead Guitars Pontus Larsson - Keyboards Nalley Pahlsson - Bass Henrik Hedman - Drums