EXCALION – Dream Alive (2017)
This blog isn’t exactly specialized in power metal, but “Dream Alive“, the new album from Finland’s EXCALION exactly represents what I want to hear if I ever get on a power metal kick. These guys aren’t out there breaking new ground or doing serious experimentation, this is pure European power metal but with a so catchy delivery, chock full of keyboards and soaring melodic choruses that make you want to sing along while tapping your feet with every track.
“Dream Alive” is the return of Excalion after a long 7-year hiatus from the recording studio, and with new lead vocalist Marcus Lang. What has not changed is the band’s strong guitar harmony in riffs and leads, a sturdy rhythm section, soaring, melodic and clean vocals and arrangements, and a large keyboard presence.
That last element is significant since the principal song composer is founding member and keyboard player Jarmo Myllyvirta. His keyboards add everything from orchestration for a symphonic atmosphere (‘Deadwater Bay’, ‘Centenarian’) to powerful solos (‘Amelia, ‘One Man Kingdom’) to simple delicate piano lines (‘The Firmament’).
“Dream Alive” is also the first album to have new guitarist Aleksi Hirvonen. While the guitar lines don’t take a back seat to the synths, at times both have a similar tone making them sometimes indistinguishable from each other. But, generally, the guitar solos are self-evident and soaring as within ‘Living Daylights’ or ‘Portrait On The Wall’.
Speaking about the new singer, Marcus’s voice is a great fit for the band. He has a classically trained style that is practically a prerequisite for this style, able to provide little roughness for passionate emphasis, while still having a tenderness that compliments the more melodic parts.
It’s very enjoyable to have a power metal album like “Dream Alive” that’s not just a full-throttle, high speed race to the finish, as is the case with various bands in this genre.
Excalion is a serious bunch of skilled performers, but cleverly enough to work at the service of the songs. Production is very good, as well as the mix, something needed to hear each instrument clearly.
I don’t listen to a lot of power metal, but I’m going to be listening to these guys a lot when I do.
01 – Divergent Falling
02 – Centenarian
03 – Marching Masquerade
04 – Amelia
05 – Release the Time
06 – One Man Kingdom
07 – Deadwater Bay
08 – The Firmament
09 – Man Alive
10 – Living Daylights
11 – Portrait on the Wall
Jarmo Myllyvirta – Keyboards, Synths
Marcus Lång – Vocals
Aleksi Hirvonen – Guitar
Onni Hirvonen – Bass
Henri Pirkkalainen – Drums
BUY IT !