Stormwind - Rising Symphony

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: MAS CD-0362
Format: CD
Total Time: 40:47:00

Stormwind, a band fusing a number of metal styles, deliver another pleasant album. According to the dictionary, pleasant is defined as "pleasing, agreeable, or affording enjoyment." And this sums up Rising Symphony.

Stormwind have always been an above-average band, a good band in fact, who play unoriginal yet intriguing music. Influenced from all things neo-classical, even power metal, from the opening note to the final pick, Stormwind show that nearly all aspects of Rising Symphony equates to quality. Yet something in the back of my head doesn't sit right. The style of music is vibrant and exciting, led by guitarist Thomas Wolf and wonderfully supported by Kaspar Dahlqvist (ex-Treasure Land, Dionysus) on keyboards. The interplay between these two goes a long way to extending the life of this album, but we've heard guitar/keyboard interplay in many-a-band including Time Requiem, Majestic, Stratovarius, and many others. The support extends to bassist Andreas Olsson (Narnia, Harmony) and drummer David Wallin (ex-Blacksmith) whose consistent performance under so-so song-writing manages to impress. It's in the vocals where I think they hit their straps, with their all-and-sundry vocalist Thomas Vikström (ex-Candlemass, ex-Brazon Abott). His AOR-inspired, charismatic vocal performance sits naturally with the neo-classical/power metal nature of this release.

Unfortunately, across the whole performance, the album never reaches above the "we've heard it before," style. Sure, there are some tremendously rousing songs on here like "Strangers From The Sea" (check the bass out on this song) which will instantly blow you away, but where to go from there? Whilst songs like the speedy "Flyer" and the aggressive opener "Touch Of Flames" will appeal primarily to the more power metal oriented listeners, they manage to mix the album up with some definite AOR tracks like the final three: traditional ballad "Streets Of Prishtine," the groove-dominated "Excalibur," and the instrumental outro "Venezia." Why they throw the speedy numbers in early and the slower numbers last is beyond me. A bit of balance would have been appreciated. The very Swedish "Eyes Of Change" is vibrant and colourful, and Vikström's melodic background allows a great balance between all the defining forces of Rising Symphony. Throw into the mix a cover of Queen's "White Man," which breaks up the over-familiarity of the early songs, follows the egregiously standard ballad "River Of Love" that is more run-of-the-mill than a Henry Ford production line.

Pleasantness aside, Rising Symphony is a very good album that could have been better with a bit more thought. In comparison to past releases, you'll not find too much that is different aside from the more assertive guitars of Wolf. Classical elements and added choirs always help, but Rising Symphony is an album that needs more energy and vigour. Songs like "Strangers From The Sea" show this band have the capability and with more experimentation in this direction it could have added some extremely needed depth.

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Rising Symphony / Touch The Flames / Eyes Of Change / Strangers From The Seas / River Of Love / White Man / Flyer / Streets Of Prishtine / Excalibur / Venezia

Thomas Wolf - guitars
Thomas Vikström - vocals
Kaspar Dahlqvist - keyboards
David Wallin - drums
Andreas Olsson - bass

Straight From Your Heart (1996)
Stargate (1998)
Heaven Can Wait 1999)
Resurrection (2000)
Reflections (2001)
Rising Symphony (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: February 20th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 743
Language: english


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