|Review: Ultimatium - Hwainoo|
Year released: 2008
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 13, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (6 Votes)
Ultimatium are a Finnish Power Metal band.
...sit back down. These guys play high-octane, acrobatic and melodic metal in the vein of Stratovarius and...Stratovarius some more. That's not anything too stunning; we have lots of bands doing that these days. I mean, without a real Stratovarius at the moment, who are we to turn to for our daily dose of sugary melodies and soaring vocals and speed metal riffs? Twilightning? No, not Twilightning. Ultimatium, that's who!
This is a very well crafted and streamlined album, with no real filler or throwaway tracks; just a whole lot of classy Power Metal. Power Metal isn't a very strong genre these days, and it seems like the safest bet if you want to stay inside the genre's lines - if you're not Edguy or Helloween - is to throw together a spirited romp full of pomp and pride, chock full of catchy choruses and all the stereotypes of the genre done beautifully well. And what surprises me about Ultimatium and their stellar sophomore effort Hwainoo is just how brilliant this stuff is. Every single riff and chord sounds like it came straight from the band's collective frozen heart, every frigid, chilly chorus is meticulously constructed to be as catchy and infectious as possible, and the production accentuates all of this wonderfully. Ultimatium have a lot of heart, and that's commendable in this world of commercialization and bullshit slinging.
That isn't to say they can't kick ass, too, because they sure as fuck can. On opener "Fight the Time," the band pumps out some of the best melodic Metal I've heard in the 21st century thus far, rivaling even Stratovarius's best work with a fist-pumping riff and a chorus so happy and sweetened that you won't be able to resist singing along, and they don't let up, with such loyal and luscious impressions as "Dreamlife," the ripping "Set the Sails" and the AOR-soundalike (and this is not a bad thing) "Descent." "Storms" is a ballad, and while it IS a bit excessive in its emotion sometimes, I still like it. On the second half of the album we get killer shit like the blazing, furious "Over the Edge," which features a stunning keyboard backdrop, some harsh vocals and a piercing chorus, and then the more introspective "Play the Game." The token epic here is "Whispers of the World," and it's a good song, not too pompous or over the top, with just the right amount of grandiose elements added in for good measure. It will not disappoint.
If you like bands like Dragonland, Episode-era Stratovarius and Excalion, Ultimatium should be the brightest gift under your Christmas tree this Winter season. Full of proud, spirited music with heart and soul to rival the best of whatever is in your collection, Hwainoo will not disappoint.
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