November 16, 2011
For some reason unknown to most of us, this is the kind of power/prog metal that causes European audiences to lose their minds, but most American metal fans kind of shrug and give a collective, “Meh”. I’ve read others’ opinions on this and the most prevalent is that power metal often has classical roots, which are embedded in the European conscience, whereas American listeners are used to more blues based music. Whatever the case, if you dismiss power metal, you are cheating yourself out of some good stuff.
For me, power metal is a more positive, uplifting form of metal. Usually the lyrics contain a positive message. Kind of like that happy feeling you get from 80’s hair metal without the cheese and spandex. We who love metal don’t always have to listen to stuff that sounds like it was ripped from the bowels of hell with Asmodeus on lead vocals.
If you’re not familiar with Lance King, he has been the vocalist for Pyramaze and Balance of Power, and has sung on 25+ releases in his 21 year career, so he’s not a newcomer. This is, however, his first step out as a solo artist. The story goes that Lance decided at the end of June 2011 to do a solo album, began recruiting other musicians to help him out, and they had the entire album written, recorded, mixed and mastered 90 days later. So dude obviously knows how to get things done.
What of the results? Well, I’ll be right up front here with the one negative I have with this album. It is meant to be a concept album, but in many places the lyrics seem very forced to fit this concept, as well as some spoken word parts inserted for, apparently, narrative flow. But other than this, it’s a very good album. If you’re into Dream Theater, Symphony X, or the seemingly 100’s of European bands that play power/proggy metal, you will be very happy with this album.
Lance King has assembled a very competent cast of musicians and this is a very solid album. Most of it sounds pretty much like you would expect from this sub-genre, but there is also some very interesting instrumentation on some of the tracks. “Awakening” and “Manifest Destiny” manage to use what sound like real woodwind and traditional instruments without veering over into folk metal. “A Moment in Chiros”, the title track, has a nice change of tempo and feels as though it goes through a couple of movements. And since I ripped on the lyrics a little, I have to say that “Dance of Power” has some well worded political commentary for those who listen closely. Track 9, “Joy Everlasting” has some true ripping and head banging moments, which is another nice change of pace. “Sacred Systems” is probably the proggiest track on the album, and actually manages to remind me of Queensryche at the same time.
“A Moment in Chiros” is a solid solo outing for Lance King. So come on, American metal fans, give power metal a chance. You gotta listen to something between now and the next full moon when you hold your Satanic rites.