Gladenfold - From Dusk to Eternity
Buil2Kill Records
Symphonic Power Metal / Melodeath
11 songs (46' 01")
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Andy

Finnish melodeath/power metal newcomer Gladenfold's first LP, From Dusk to Eternity, is a bit of a strange combo, at least to my ears. Think of it as a symphonic power metal album -- no, not the gothic variety, but more of the Rhapsody style -- with a melodic death flavor that strongly reminds one of Bal-Sagoth, who they have toured with before. And while there are definitely some improvements they can make for later, they mostly pull the combination off.

Fate Escape, the first track after the intro, shows a band that's technically excellent but slightly incoherent in their songwriting at times. The musicianship is disciplined and the keyboard/guitar combo and drumming isn't amazingly original for power metal, but is strong and talented. Vocalist Esko Itälä does a good job of alternating death metal vocals with clean choruses that sound rather like those of a fellow Finn, Amorphis's Tomi Joutsen. The songwriting is a bit more of a mixed bag; there are a number of time changes and different themes, as if the band kept coming up with ideas and just tacked them together in the songs. That still doesn't stop tracks like Game of Shadows or Six Soldiers Stand from sounding fantastic (I found the somewhat meandering song structure somewhat endearing), and there are more straight-to-the-point power metal tracks, such as The Last Crossing, which has a neat little keyboard arpeggio playing over the majority of the chorus.

Any rough edges on this album are more than made up for by the ripping lead guitar work and Itälä's vocals, the clean portions of which one starts appreciating more and more as the album continues. The death metal parts never become particularly exciting, but they are delivered with a good deal of energy; the clean vocals, on the other hand, have some rousing choruses. More variety would be nice, though; the closest the band gets to a quieter song is on the last full track, Dementia, which drops some, not all, of the one-speed power metal galloping for a more hesitating beat on the verses and the bridge. This last one also pulls out all the stops the band has at their disposal to try to be the most epic one on the album, and partially succeeds; at least, it makes for a strong finish.

It's pretty clear that Gladenfold is still finding its way (not too long ago they were trying out female vocals and slower songs, on their EPs), but this is a first LP that's enjoyable to listen to and which they can be proud of. It will be pretty interesting to see what they have in store for next time.

Killing Songs :
Game of Shadows, Six Soldiers Stand, The Last Crossing
Andy quoted 81 / 100
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