A Little Background to Twilight Force
Twilight Force are a Swedish power/symphonic metal band who have been around since 2011 and have two albums out. Or at least until August 16 when it becomes three with the latest opus Dawn Of The Dragonstar.
The band all go by pseudonyms with two of them, Lynd and Blackwald, being original members. They have a new vocalist Allyon who was in Rhapsody for a number of years.
The press release is fantastic in general, wonderfully over the top and theatrical, which suits what the band actually does, with it’s comments about the new singer saying (and I quote) “we shall never forget the night where he was summoned before us through arcane and ancient magic” followed by “his destiny was to become the bearer of the crystal of kings and conveyor of legendary tales and songs”. Quite! The music is even more fantastical and over the top.
The 10 tracks have all the elements required for power and symphonic styles with some fast playing, frenetic drumming at times, guitar solos, operatic vocals, huge choruses but they add a little more classical and movie-themed music than most in these genres. It is completely over the top stuff, yet at a time when the world seems to be in the doldrums with all the nastiness going on it is great to dive into other worlds with uplifting melodies that put a smile on the face.
Onto The Songs:
The opener and title track opens with the spoken words “may the power of the dragon guide us” leading into a symphonic piece with energetic drumming. It is reasonably fast but never so much that it sounds like an exercise in speed like, say, Dragonforce, but keeping hold to melody and is fairly accessible if not quite commercial and infectious. Many of the tracks veer towards classical composition, for instance, “Thundersword” that could easily feature as a movie theme, I could almost see the jousting going on as it played! That orchestration theme does pop up again after the very large choruses.
“Long Live The King” opens not unlike a Blackmore’s Night track, all medieval-sounding. There are some quirky sounding keys at points and some terrific harmonies on the chorus. There are moments of Avantasia on this as well as few other tracks, overblown but magical and most important musical (rather than a fretboard workout like certain other bands in the genre). “With The Light Of A Thousand Stars” is very dramatic and operatic with some very strong deep vocals, possibly baritone, and is one of the longest songs on the album allowing more freedom to explore and express a variety of styles and sounds.
“Queen Of Eternity” does go more into Epica territory especially due to the chorus being very much symphonic with a choir belting the words out. Strangely “Valley Of The Vale” has a riff which is very similar to “Basket Case” by Green Day! Check it out around the minute mark (and second minute), I found myself singing the Green Day lyrics. The guitar solo even has a hint of the song but if it was an orchestrated musical piece. It is still a fun track though.
“Hydra” is a particularly strong track being one that again would make a great movie soundtrack song. The melody is extremely impressive. It is playful and jaunty but is still technically metal. Definitely more orchestral or classical than power metal but fits in with the themes of the album. It goes from a haunting choral into a quick lead guitar solo which then double backs into choral. Terrific arrangements and execution.
The longest song at just over 12 minutes throws everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. There is an oriental feel to most of it, possibly the most since Marty Friedman’s “Scenes”. It opens with just piano until guitars drums etc come in. The Oriental flavor flows right through the piece. There are moments that are almost Disney in style, playful and melodramatic mixing and matching but don’t worry, it is still is metal and it rocks in plenty of sections. There was a section that reminded me a little of Dream Theater’s “The Astonishing” due to the vocal and melody, again very theatrical. The song is sumptuous, over the top and a blast to listen to.
An album which will please those who love power and symphonic metal merged together with a huge dollop of bombast! The playing is superb throughout, they can write good melodies and still rock. Well worth checking out.
Dawn of the Dragonstar is released Friday, August 16, on Nuclear Blast Records.