Highland Glory - From The Cradle To The Brave

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: 0385
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:45:00

God, no. Please, make the bad man stop.

The arrival of an album that necessitates these comments means that I want so badly to like the album but unfortunately cannot due to the deficiencies surrounding this release. First up is that Highland Glory were formed from the burning, fiery ashes of Phoenix Rizing, albeit with a new singer and music that's infinitely heavier than said band. First impressions were horrible, but I'll say that whilst it didn't get worse with subsequent listens, it didn't start receiving accolades either. Despite some enjoyable, melodic choruses, there are a few things that make this release far below par.

The first is vocalist Jan Thore Grefstad. A screeching power metal vocalist who, when he reaches the high notes, makes standing next to an aeroplane engine more enjoyable ("This Promise I Swear"' and "One Last Chance"). His normal singing voice is not so high so credit to him for changing his style throughout the album, but he needs to control those notes better. That said, at least you can hear he is trying inject power and passion into the songs, unlike the song-writing which is devoid of creativity, instead offering up mundane music with apathetic lyrics. Why do metalheads have to put up with this? The work of keyboardist Lars Andre Larsen (who also plays guitar) is a little colourless, with less excitement than a Republican at a Monarchist convention, and whilst the piano-driven ballads are nice, musically, those vocals really don't help ("Will We Be Again" is much better than "This Promise I Swear"). Larsen, together with Jack-Roger Olsen, are the guitarists, and whilst not overly inspired, perform crunchy riffs that give the album a groove-like feel. I quite like their work. So too, drummer Morten F?røvig who, whilst not given the most creative of music to explore, is a competent performer who should have been exploited more. The indulgent double-kicking, whilst requisite with power metal, may be too repetitive for some.

Incredibly for a metal album, it's only taken until track 5 to find the first really good songs, a double consisting of "The Land Of Forgotten Dreams" Parts I and II (great work on the high vocals on this song). Thankfully both songs are on equal footing and showcase traditional metal with more movement than Mount Etna, but still there's something derivative about even Highland Glory's best tracks. The two lengthy highlights are the finale (epic) title track and "Wear Your Gun To Neverland" [is that a reference to Michael Jackson? ? ed (PPO) {lol ? PW ed.}]: two of the more expressive tracks influenced by Iron Maiden and Running Wild.

Highland Glory never rises above average and for every fine example of metal music here there's music that's tame, lame, and, well, pain(ful). I wish I could have liked this more but I can't. There's far too many good releases to be buying metal like this.

[Shame really, because the artist who did the cover is Mark Wilkinson, he who many prog fans know from his Marillion and Fish covers. It may be telling that Wilkinson makes no mention of this piece (that I could see) on his website (and yet he admits to artwork done for Kylie Minogue...) And doesn't that fella on the cover make ya think of Mel Gibson from Braveheart? ?PW ed.]

Similar To: Phoenix Rizing, Hammerfall, The Storyteller

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

One Last Chance (4:50) / Beyond The Pharaoh's Curse (5:15) / A Warriors Path (5:35) / This Promise I Swear (4:55) / The Land Of Forgotten Dreams, Pt. 1 (6:45) / The Land Of Forgotten Dreams, Pt. 2 (5:51) / Whear Your gun To Neverland (8:19) / Will We Be Again? (4:29) / From The Cradle To The Brave (7:46)

Morten F?røvig - drums
Jan Thore Grefstad ? lead vocals
Lars Andre Larsen ? keyboards, guitars
Daniel Heiman - vocals
Jack-Roger Olsen - guitar, backing vocals


Fredrik Olsson - background vocals
Celtic Clansmen Choir

From The Cradle To The Brave (2003)
Forever Endeavor (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NO

Added: December 19th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.highlandglory.com
Hits: 673
Language: english


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