Olympos Mons - Medievil
Scarlet Records
Power Metal
11 songs (56'11)
Release year: 2007
Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Crims

Olympos Mons are one of those bands that tread a line between mostly generic, but good enough to warrant a quality listen for hardcore fans of the genre, which in this case happens to be Power Metal. Myself being a fairly large fan (borderline hardcore) of just about anything Power Metal with a few exceptions, I found myself drawn to a few songs on here but in the same breath, I found myself disappointed in a few songs as well. When the band hits they hit quite well, and when they miss, it’s not by much. If you find yourself enjoying the majority of the Power Metal out there then read on.

The band flirts with a few Power Metal variations throughout the CD that encompass the likes of Gamma Ray, Nocturnal Rites, Insania, Edguy, and even the more Power Metal side of Symphony X and Pagan’s Mind. The predominant first section of the CD is owes most to Gamma Ray and Edguy (minus the Speed Metal influence in the riffs of Gamma Ray) with a Brainstorm styled heavy but clean guitar tone and production. The double bass is gratuitous and the riffs chug along with keyboard theme melodies. The verses occasionally have a folk vibe to them while the choruses are at once grandiose with back up gang vocals and overtly happy melodies (bringing to memory some of Rhapsody's work and early Freedom Call). As you get deeper into the track listing the band seems to use more mid-paced to fast rhythm heavy chugging riffs that are often heard in Prog/Power bands like Pagan’s Mind and Symphony X. The bass drum of course keeps perfect rhythm with the guitars all the while not-so-subtle keyboards play in the foreground. The band even incorporates an Elvenking meets Sonata Arctica inspired song with A Race Between To Hearts with a folk-ish keyboard melody and galloping rhythms with a strong folk vibe to vocals. Most songs tend to avoid the most basic song progression as they all seem to incorporate some kind of sudden break in most songs with either keyboard noodling or something that attempts to create atmosphere (at times succeeding). I would say the breaks seem to be ripped from the Gamma Ray school of song writing but at least they tried to change things up a bit.

I alluded to the fact that the keyboards are rather up front. In this case it’s not so much of a bad thing. The guitars are so incredibly loud and heavy (but clean) one or the other do not overpower each other. They do, however, tend to overpower some of the verses. Every song has a keyboard theme melody played through the main riffs. This melody varies between folk melodies, happy-feel-good melodies, and darker, more Prog like melodies. Though all of them seem suspiciously familiar they worked as they made the songs catchier than they would be otherwise. The majority of the choruses worked rather well with my favorites being on the title track (one of the few that wasn’t too flowery), The Kingdom Of Winter (Rhapsody inspired), and the surprisingly not useless bonus track Dreamer. Meanwhile the vocals are passable. They get the job done and provide some awesome choruses (also thanks to the superbly produced back up vocals) and the folk sensibility to a lot of phrasing was nice; I did however feel the vocals on many songs did not seem as powerful as they should be (mostly during verses) as they almost seem to be whispered rather than sung with conviction. This could be in part due to the voice of the singer but may have more to do loudness of the instrumental production.

Not all the songs work to their fullest extent. I found The Price to have an excellent chorus with a sub-par verse that just seemed too generic for its own good. Or the opposite is Wolves which has one of few instances where the riffs and rhythms seem to be the most original (with a middle-eastern keyboard theme) but I felt the flowery chorus took away the punch of the in-your-face riffs and aggressive rhythms (it sounds like a beastly, almost Communic riff style and rhythm that then goes into a Sonata Arctica, Ecliptica era, chorus, and no, that’s not as good as it may sound). It’s not to say these songs are awful because they are not. It’s just examples of some things that perhaps prevents the CD from being as good from start to finish as possibly could be. I think all and all this is a fine slab of Power Metal that is probably just a bit too heard-it-before for casual Power Metal fans. With that being said the quality choruses, solid instrumental production, and somewhat varied influences (even if each influence is not built-upon) should make for an enjoyable listen for hardcore fans that don’t mind yet another Symphonic Power Metal. Come to think of it, if this CD was released 10 years we might be praising it as the second coming of Christ… ok that is stretching it but the point I’m trying to make is a lot, and I do mean a lot of bands have been playing this style of Metal for the last 10 years and in doing so have generated a lot of classics. Though the supposed trend has mostly worn off over the last few years with not as many new bands in the style and some originators switching styles slightly or a lot (Edguy on Rocket Ride and whatever Sonata Arctica was doing on their latest) the fact remains a lot was released in a short period of time and some people already became sick of this style in 2003. I for one, have not become sick of this style yet (partly due to a healthy dose of Extreme Metal on a regular basis). So all I can say is when in doubt, try before you buy.

Killing Songs :
One Word, A Race Between Two Hearts, Medievil, Kingdom Of Winter, Dreamer
Crims quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Olympos Mons that we have reviewed:
Olympos Mons - Conquistador reviewed by Mike and quoted 72 / 100
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