When power metal is done well, it is done bloody well. When it’s done badly, it’s done bloody atrociously. The second album by re-united Sicilian trio Holy Knights falls somewhere between these two extremes.
Way back at the turn of the 21st century, Holy Knights could have been, in words of a certain movie boxer, contenders. They released a fairly reasonable album, ‘Gate Through The Past’, which received some critical acclaim and, while not posing a threat to the genre’s giants of the time, was reasonably well received in the underground community and among those in the know on such things. Inexplicably, the band split shortly afterwards – only to have re-emerged into the Mediterranean sunlight with this sophomore album.
Things don’t start off well, with opener ‘Mistery’ being no more than a straightforward Dragonforce-style guitar wankfest. They pick up, however, on ‘Frozen Paradise’, which, while still dominated by those dreaded bazillion-notes-a-minute riffs and solos (as is almost the entire album), introduces a more atmospheric, orchestral touch, which is more fully developed on ‘Beyond The Mist’, which shows some real potential. However, ’11 September’ is trite and tacky, its use of a whirligig circus-style orchestral theme totally odds with its subject matter, while the main riff and chorus just don’t work.
‘Glass Room’ is more guitar histrionics, backed up by parping keyboards, straight out of the Dragonforce songbook, while ‘Wasted Time’ is slightly better, aided by the fact that it’s a bit slower and deeper in its feel, but by this stage this particular reviewer was seriously wondering whether listening to this album had been just that… although it is worth staying ‘Awake’ through the ennui of the next track to reach the atmospheric climax of ‘The Turning To The Madness’ (which, to these ears, would have been better listed at the start of the album to try and build some sort of sense of expectation…).
Actually, what is quite impressive about all the guitar work is, that unlike DF and many others acts in this vein, it is all the work of just one man, Simone Campione – but, then that’s the beauty of recording techniques isn’t it? This is borne out by the fact that the bands other two members – vocalist Dario Di Matteo and drummer Claudio Florio – play all the rest of the instruments between them, which suggest that these particular Knights are merely a vanity studio project…
If you like Dragonforce, Rhapsody Of Fire, Sonata Arctica, Symphony X etc., you might just cream your jeans over this. I do and I didn’t. This is but a pale imitation… and so merely merits an unfulfilled 6/10.
2. Frozen Paradise
3. Beyond The Mist
4. 11 September
5. Glass Room
6. Wasted Time
8. The Turning To The Madness
‘Between Daylight And Pain’ is released on September 3rd on Scarlet Records and can be pre-ordered here:
For more information on Holy Knights, visit their Facebok page: