Dragonfly - Alma Irae
In between Labels at the time
Majestic & Epic Symphonic Melodic Metal
13 songs ()
Release year: 2008
Official Website, MySpace
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the year

From time to time, a completly unknown band gets your attention and makes an impression. Well, in this case the impression could be a fist shaped crater in the middle of my face, as this album was more than just a slap on the face (if you pardon me the expression). It shook me to the bones and got my shivering nerves to work again, full throttle ! This band, originally from Argentina and now living in Spain, is one of thƒƒe biggest musical surprise I've experienced this century.

After an interesting techno-ish styled medieval intro, the album starts with No Lo Veran Caer, and quickly I realize this is no ordinary Power Metal band, the song grabbed me from the first listen and even today after 100+ listens, it still sends shivers down my spine (which is truly an unprecedented event) ! My friends, now THIS IS how you start an album, with a killer song with such an incredible chorus vocal melody that you'll never again forget it for as long as you shall live. The music can be described as Majestic and Orchestral (synth) Power or Melodic Metal, that is epic yet powerful and ultra melodic. The lyrics are in Spanish and at first I thought it would be a problem, but its not, the passion behind these vocals manage but to do one thing : make me want to understand Spanish just because of this band (I shit you not !). Next comes a track that is the perfect continuation of the killer opener with high vocals as well as the trademark choirs of this band (which are crucial in defining the identity of this band), and again with an original chorus vocal melody, this song, Buscando La Paz, is a winner as well. I would continue and describe every one of the songs but that would result into a long review, and therefor I will talk only about the godly ones, since all songs are killers in this album, I had to select those that are so out of this world that they are probably from a parralel universe. The opener No Lo Veran Caer is definitely one of them, so is Angeles Cona Una Sola Ala ! These angels might only have one wing but this song sure does touched my soul, profoundly ! This song has one of the best chorus vocal melodies one could wish for. And if you like these majestically crafted vocal melodies, then you'll surely fall in love instantly with Angeles Cona Una Sola Ala ! Everytime the chorus strikes, I get a strong "discharge" (nothing sexual I assure you) of shivers and feel my soul is literally lifted from the ground and in free flight, and maybe its just me, but god it feels good to still get this kind of feelings from music and I'm all the more thankful to Dragonfly for such emotions they manage to bring within my own self. The solo of this particular song, while not Earth shattering, is beautiful and makes the perfect break , a melodic and technical break at the same time (second part), but the real pleasure is the wave of choruses after the solo, repeating the joy until a piano (accompanied with some dry guitar notes) takes on the same melody in a very melancholic way that sometimes brings a tear to my eye. At this point in the first listen, I thought the album had reached its paroxysm and would go downhill very fast from here on. Boy was I wrong ! Track number 10, Si Te Vas (If You Go / Walk Away), or the song that STARTS with a magnificent solo, followed by a bass tempo and strong keys, to magically flow to a double bass powered bridge that unleashes a magnificent chorus, again with choirs and a vocal melody you can never ever forget. This song is fast, very fast, and the tempo is pushing you from the beginning to the end of the jewel of a song. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a fan's favorite, as this song is really pounding your ears with a majestically melodic sound waves cocktail. The last song worthy of the godly mention, is the closer, Il Renacer (The Rebirth, thanks Max from Chile for the translation corrections). Oh my !!! Only one band finished an album so powerfully ever before, and that was Lost Horizon A Flame to the Ground Beneath, but now Dragonfly does it as well. Opposite to Angeles Cona Una Sola, the song starts with the piano melody of the chorus and then changes gear for a very rhythm oriented introduction to the song, slowly adding instrument and accelerating the pace at what can only be described as a furious pace. I'm not a big fan of rhythm based verse, but when done so beautifully, I don't dare critic nor complain. But as always with this band, what hits you the most is the turbo charged bridge followed by inhuman choruses ! This song is no exception, instead its a melodic explosion that opens the rift of time and space itself, and gives you a melodic orgasm. Its furiously fast, melodic, epic and lasts (one of the longest choruses I've ever heard) almost forever, after the first chorus its already time for a majestic solo on furious double bass drums, that then settles a bit so it can deliver a second version of that galactic slap that is this unbelievable chorus ! At the end of this song, I am drained and completely satisfied to be alive, and my only thought is that I have to start this album all over again, over and over til the end of times... Its good to notice that while I spend a lot of time describing 4 songs on that album, it doesn't mean the rest is not good, as every song on this album is a killer song, with some great mid-tempos and two emotionally charged and passionate ballads as well. Everything is top notch, the very emotional and passioned turbo-charged vocals, the guitar riffs and solos as well as the awesome song-writing.

I took a long time to make that review as I've listened to it first about 4-5 months ago, and since the first listen I have zero doubt on my mine that this was the best album of 2008, and the best thing I had heard since Lost Horizon's A Flame To The Ground Beneath (even though these two are different in style, I'm referring at the pure amount of excitement discharge released throughout my body during the continuous first listens, and amazingly enough, still today). Usually when I listen to an album more than 30 times in a row, I burn it. That means I listened to it so much, and that for many months if not years, I lose interest in it and put it with other CD that suffered that same burning fate. But this album is different, it has become one of my all-time favorite after only 3 listens and I love it the same amount after so many listens. When I put this CD in my car, I won't push eject again for weeks, no matter if there are other stuff I'd like to listen, nothing will bring me so much joy, so this CD almost never leaves the car' stereo.

So much for the short review :), oh well... Its been a long time since any music touched me in such a way and Dragonfly is a band that got my full and total attention with that album, which is their second release BTW. I've also briefly listened to their debut, and while its a good album overall (one I'll probably review as an archive once I can manage to stop listening to this one for a least a week :) ), this is an amazing step up and makes me wonder how the third album is gonna sound, as its gonna be very very tough to top this album in my opinion. Things that can be improved are probably the production, while quite good and better than the debut album, it still needs to tweaking and could sound much more powerful if it was say produced and mastered a la Tobias Sammet's Edguy or Avantasia. It would send such mammoth of an album to the stratosphere and shatter the legend limit of our quoting system. That is also why this album doesn't get a 100, because there is margin for progression, and therefore I do not want to use the legend card too soon, as I believe this band as the potential to become even better and probably my all-time favorite All it needs is another album of this caliber, though it already entered my top-5 almost instantly. I know in my heart that no album will top this one this year, so its with little fear that I award it the Surprise of the Year mention (Album of the Year skeleton since we don't have a Surprise of The Year skeleton... hits his own head for not having created such icon by now !). It will be number one in my list, no doubts about that. Dragonfly is a band that came out of nowhere, in fact I'm sure most our power metal readers never even heard of them. Well, my advice to you is to fix that and soon. Of course if you can't stomach the Spanish lyrics you might not like it, but myself, I find Spanish highly melodic and very fitting to power metal, at least to Dragonfly's blend. Alma Irae is the album that left me on my knees, begging for more. May this melodic dimension rift that suddenly emerged from my soul never close !!!!!

Killing Songs :
Every single one of them, but No Lo Veran Caer, Angeles Cona Una Sola Ala, Si Te Vas and Il Renacer cannot be described other than as pure majestic metal song divinities !
Chris quoted 97 / 100
Other albums by Dragonfly that we have reviewed:
Dragonfly - Non Requiem reviewed by Chris and quoted 89 / 100
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