|Review: Dark Empire - Distant Tides|
Year released: 2006
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 3, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)
Finding out that Persuader and Savage Circus front-man Jens Carlsson was involved in a new project had me immediately stoked. I'm a huge fan of Persuader and unlike some I thought Savage Circus' debut to be fantastic. To find out it was a prog/power project had me foaming at the mouth; I had to hear these guys and their debut Distant Tides. Now before going any further I have to inform all of you that this CD is no longer available unless you want to pay an extortionate amount for a second hand copy from an Internet shop.(not recommended) However it is available on iTunes at a very reasonable price. Hopefully they will re-release this album on new label "Killzone Records".
Onto the pressing matter here. Distant Tides is a very interesting debut release in a genre increasingly becoming stale. I think the best way to describe the music these guys play is to think of Hibria, but darker and with an injection of Symphony X as well as the occasional Helloween-style harmonies, all topped off with the undeniable sound of the "Hansi Kursch meets Piet Sielck" style of singer Jens Carlsson. Album opener "We Will Never Die" kicks things off with an awesome harmony that has been done to death but it still sounds sweet. Then they defy expectations, pulling out the crunch with a blinder of a riff, guaranteed headbanging aplenty. "The Alchemist" shows what this band is all about with crunchy, almost thrash-like riffs and Jens Carlsson's aforementioned vocals and the scorching guitar work of Matt Moliti. Instrumental "The Final Vision" is the longest track on the album, which doesn't bode well in my book. Instrumentals can be hard enough to digest as it is, but when they are over 4/5 minutes they just become boring which is a shame because some of the finer riffs on the album are featured in this track which I feel could have been put to better use in a different track. This leaves the album ending on a low note - best to skip this one. Another problem is that at 6 tracks and 37 minutes this is a very short album. I find that I'm just getting geared up and then it ends. Hopefully a problem that will be ironed out in their next release.
However, the problems mentioned still don't stop this album from being a very promising debut from a band that will probably end up spending its career without recognition, which is a damn shame. For fans of Jens' other works and people who like their Power Metal with some actual power to it, check this out, it's a very enjoyable album and certainly a band to look out for in the future.
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