Do not let it be said that French symphonic metallers FAIRYLAND tricked you into buying "The Fall of an Empire". If you buy an album from a band called FAIRYLAND and you expect anything other than the utterly over-the-top bard-metal you get, you're either illiterate or retarded. Anyone not into Middle Earth, bombast, elves, Renaissance faires and loopy theatrical metal, just stop reading now.Still here? Okay, next question: were you let down by the last RHAPSODY album, just a little bit? Think they've lost their way? FAIRYLAND will restore your faith in bombastic, symphonic power metal, because they can be as theatrical as anyone, but even at their most ludicrous, they never lose sight of the song underneath all those layers of synthesized harpsichords and triple-tracked vocal choirs. That's not to say FAIRYLAND (man, I feel light in the loafers just typing that word) are RHAPSODY clones, though there's definitely an influence. There's a little more Gothic medieval flavor in the choral work here, similar to Holland's ORPHANAGE, and a more clear-eyed focus on the guitar as dominant instrument. There are still movie-soundtrack interludes (see "Slaves Forlorn"), and they occasionally suffer from the smaller budget FAIRYLAND no doubt deals with — keyboard parts instead of live instruments, that sort of thing. But check out the vocals in "The Awakening" — when the choirs kick in, it'll send shivers down your spine, and lead vocalist Max Leclerqc has an emotional and commanding power metal voice, well-suited to the material here. Highlights include the lush, but speedy and energetic, "Clanner of the Light" (that chorus!), the majestic "In Duna" with its female vocals and elfin harpsichord, and the stirring title track. It's not an exaggeration to say that FAIRYLAND, on only their second proper full-length, are just about ready to stand at the top tier of the epic/symphonic genre, alongside BLIND GUARDIAN and RHAPSODY, purveyors of cinematic concept albums that transport the listener to fantastical worlds. "The Fall of an Empire" offers nothing new or particularly original to the style, but it's so impeccably put together and compelling, it's bound to become a favorite of the swords-and-sorcery set in no time.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to block users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.