All you need to do is take one look at that glorious album cover and you’ll know what to expect from Swedish fantasy adventure power metallers Twilight Force’s second album, ‘Heroes of Mighty Magic‘.
If Rhapsody of Fire is the Stilton of cheesy power metal, then Twilight Force are the Epoisses of the genre – a cheese so strong-smelling, it has been banned from transportation vehicles all over France. There’s no room for the lactose intolerant on this album.
What’s that? Nothing can be cheesier than Rhapsody of Fire? Well, what if I told you that all the band members wear LARPing outfits when playing live, complete with elvish ears, hoods, shoulder pads, bracers and even a sword – and they are role-playing their own fantastical characters with full back stories and lore? Lead singer Chrileon’s story, complete with magical narration, has just been released by Nuclear Blast which you can see below:
So, now we have established that it doesn’t come cheesier than this, what is the music of the new album ‘Heroes…‘ actually like? Well, it was with great anticipation that I began to play the record, after enjoying debut album ‘Tales of Ancient Prophecies‘ which was released in 2014, and first track ‘Battle of Arcane Might‘ did not disappoint. Classic double bass drums from De’Azsh, typical of the genre, lead into a galloping riff with a melodious vocal progression. Choirs then guide you to a chorus that will make you want to reactivate your old World of Warcraft account and fly around Azeroth on your epic mount.
‘Powerwind‘, the most power metal song title in the world, opens with some fantastic keyboard work from Blackwald, giving it a movie soundtrack feel. The high notes from Chrileon are seriously impressive, and I believe he is one of the best power metal vocalists out there right now. I’m certain there are notes he can hit that only dogs can hear.
The compulsory Tolkien inspired song on an album of this kind, ‘There and Back Again‘, is, of course, also the longest track, clocking in just over 10 unhealthy minutes of epic scores, uplifting choruses, soaring vocals, squealing guitars, double bass drums and a narrator who says ‘Crystal of Destiny‘ just before an epic guitar solo.
You will not be able to help it when you find yourself ‘power-grabbing’ the air whilst ‘Riders of the Dawn‘ blasts through your speakers. It’s the shortest song on the album, but a powerful and effective one, packing one of the catchiest choruses so far, and ‘Rise of a Hero‘ dabbles in prog territory towards the end of the track, demonstrating, that despite the cheese, the skill of guitarists Lynd and Aerendir, and bassist Borne, is undeniably good.
Another lyric video was released for ‘To the Stars‘, one of my personal favourites on the album due to its pleasant melodies and pacing. Contrary to the title, it is one of the most down-to-earth tracks from this record with less of an over-the-top approach compared with other songs.
On the second near 10-minute epic, the title track, a familiar voice breaks through several minutes into the song, in the form of Joakim Brodén of Sabaton, adding his signature powerful voice to the already majestic symphony. The narrator also makes a return, similar to Christopher Lee’s role in some of Rhapsody of Fire’s works as this giant track signals that we are nearing the end of this mighty and magical adventure. If you haven’t already, you may want to go and dig out that plastic sword that you took to the last festival you went to, to wave around in the air for Ensiferum’s show, as your hand will surely be aching from all of the power-grabbing you have been doing.
The album draws to a close with the narrator yapping on for a near 7-minute long ‘Epilogue‘ that I am sure is important to the concept and story of the album, but I can never really be bothered with listening to it all with my full attention. This is followed by ‘Knights of Twilight’s Might‘ (best song title award) that sounds like a national anthem, and I feel like standing upright and saluting, a tear in my eye as my journey comes to an end.
This album by relative newcomers Twilight Force, who formed in 2011, is a force to be reckoned with. The band in general are the best thing to happen to modern power metal since Sabaton’s rise to glory earlier this decade. I can certainly see them rising in a similar way, appearing high up on festival bills whilst huge inflatable weapon-wielding crowds gather to sing along and dance around, dressed in full Dungeons & Dragons attire. For me, this is an exciting prospect and I can’t wait for album number 3 already.
Now, please excuse me whilst I go and watch all three ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies back to back. The extended versions.
Make sure you catch Twilight Force in support of Sonata Arctica on their European tour commencing on 7th October 2016.