SOULHEALER – Chasing The Dream (2013)
There seems to be many releases out from Finland in the last couple of weeks.
Now is the turn for SOULHEALER, which sophomore effort “Chasing The Dream” will be available worldwide tomorrow, May 10.
We at 0day discarded to post their debut (‘The Kings Of Bullet Alley’) back in 2011 because in our opinion, it was too much generic Power Metal. As you may know, our team only presents here releases considered ‘recommended’, good, or at least worth to investigate.
Well, things have changed in SoulHealer’s camp. The quintet have evolved not only in the songwriting department, but also in their style & musical delivery.
“Chasing The Dream”, although retaining some ‘power’ scent in a couple of tracks, shows the band definitely going for an Euro Melodic Metal / Hard Rock sound. The new material feels inspired in the classic stuff from the eighties, really well balanced by a modern, punchy playing and production.
Basically, SoulHealer have injected a strong hard rock groove over traditional melodic metal and this new approach works really well for them. The result is a consistent collection of songs akin Rough Silk, early Pretty Maids, their countrymen Masquerage (recently featured here), Avantasia, etc.
As said, songwriting is stronger, there’s better lyrics and musicianship has grown offering now a more clear and sharp guitar attack, organic rhythm section and fine choruses. What will be the deciding factor in permanent enjoyment for some listeners comes down to the range and delivery of vocalist Jori Kärki.
It’s a strange brew to put into words: he has a lot of the gut level elements of say Graham Bonnet, but then again more of a Scandinavian twist like Messiah from Candlemass – just in a slightly rawer format. I like his vocal style, but looking at the quieter sections of “Smoke & Mirrors” in example, you can clearly hear both his strengths and weaknesses – and he is better served with SoulHealer to work off his lower and middle registers while keeping the high piercing parts at a minimum. Anyway, this is a matter of tastes, and the man fulfils his work adequately.
Overall on the album you just feel enveloped by the old-school spirit, be it the swirling drum effects during the instrumental portion of “Ties Of Time” or the Randy Rhoads meets traditional Euro melodic metal contrasts of clean verses and heavy, harmony-oriented buildups for “Never Turn My Back On You”.
Opener “Wicked Moon” shows some serious riffage ala 220 Volt / eighties Pretty Maids and hot melting solos, the tithing tease of “Don’t Look Back” has a circuitous vibe and a crisp sound, fans of Avantasia will enjoy the upbeat “Into The Fire”, while “Finally Free” evoke the sound of Destiny or the great Midnight Sun.
Where I most enjoyed this new SoulHealer orientation is when the guys hone in on a hard rock slant, keeping the 4/4 groove while the guitars churn out chords that made The Scorpions arena headliners, as the main riff of “Done For Good”.
Or in the highlight for me here: “The Deception”, a moving midtempo with great crescendos mixing electrics with acoustics. Same thrill can be heard in title track “Chasing The Dream” (with more galloping guitars), mostly because the melody and groove make the songs irresistibly catchy.
SoulHealer has changed for good. “Chasing The Dream” is a strong second release from a band naturally evolving into more classic stylings and sounding tightest than ever.
An album that will be ideal for those who want that European melodic metal / hard rock crossover that made the eighties near and dear to the hearts of fans across the world.
If you like the many acts mentioned as influence in this review, you won’t be disappointed with SoulHealer’s second effort.
01 – Wicked Moon
02 – Don’t Look Back
03 – The Deception
04 – Chasing a Dream
05 – Done for Good
06 – Ties of Time
07 – Never Turn My Back on You
08 – Finally Free
09 – Into the Fire
10 – Smoke & Mirrors
Jori Kärki – Vocals
Teemu Kuosmanen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Sami Mikkonen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Pasi Laakkonen – Bass
Jani Nyman – Drums
BUY IT !