Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Up From the Underground : CalatrilloZ's "Psalms of Zahyin"

Don't let the false advertising of Calatriloz's corpse paint fool you they are keeping the halls of power metal open. Often the redheaded stepchild of metal these days, Power Metal has a proven staying power. It has been around longer than thrash, death and black metal. Having it's roots in the first wave of British Metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, whose edgier hard rock drive balance out some of the gaudier Dungeons & Dragons trappings fully embraced by another one of the pioneers Ronnie James Dio . The fact that the genre really came to it's own in the 80s the same decade that saw hair-metal as the poster-child for arena metal, often makes power metal guilty by associates. It does share the falsetto yodels that immediately bring the 80s to mind. Calatrilloz  might not go as over the top with hitting notes only a dog can hear, but does have a similar operatic quality. The layered vocals are pretty soaring. It only takes the first song to conclude that if you are into symphonic progressive metal, then these guys are well worth your time. 

So the challenge for Calatrilloz is not to get mired down by the over indulgent pretense of the 80s, but pay homage to the roots of the genre. It's a very delicate balancing act.  The chug to "I'm Alive". The guitar has some ample blues licks holding the solos down rather than it just being shredding for the point of shredding. Vocals are always way up from for this genre. While they have a some of the majestic sway of Kamelot  and "Ghost Opera" could very well be one of the albums that inspired this, the singer is not just doing a Geoff Tate impersonation. If you were going to say he sounded like any one I would say Dennis De Young of Styx. To be from England the accent is coming from somewhere else. I can also hear strains of Crimson Glory, which is much more welcomed than the typical Helloween  or Iron Maiden lite. "The Long Winding Road" is pretty ambitious to the point of sacrificing some of the heavier elements, with the only edge being the bridge that is a little darker. When they roll out the Victorian pageantry on " A Glimpse at a Fool's Destiny" the hints of darkness return to an even greater extent after the refrain four minutes in. the arrangements are meticulous. Every thing transitions smoothly and the only problems I have with these guys are the similar problems I have with even the likes of Kamelot Some of the gaudy romanticism takes the metal edge off of things. "Z The Psychopath" is rightfully the heaviest song on the album. This is slightly compromised on the brighter melody where he sings" I can't stand it / I won't let it."

These guys are going to be converting any one who doesn't at least own a Queensryche. fans are still split when it comes to the use of actual singing rather than death metal growls, however fans of the genres more melodic leanings and penchant for keen musicianship will find plenty to sink there teeth into. Though not as hard as Iced Earth or even Symphony X they understand the classical element of neo-classical and have created an impressive piece of work. 

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