Maelstrom - It Was Predestined
Perfect Storm Recordings
Epic Cinematic Metal
3 songs (18'47")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Whatever your occupation in life is, I will always give a tip of a hat to those who can stay with the dream of a lifetime for almost 20 years. Whether I am a dedicated Iced Earth fan or not, I am not sure I could have lived through what Jon Schaffer lived through out of his desire to make it as a band. Torture, formerly of El Paso, TX, took 20 years to reissue Storm Alert, so it finally sounded like they intended to in the first place. The latest entry into the list of the most committed metal musicians are New Yorkers Maelstrom, who have also taken 20 years to arrange and properly produce the tracks which originally appeared on their 1989 demo.

It Was Predestined is a three-song sampler EP, a glimpse into an epic story which needs to be brought to completion via a full-length release. Starting with a multilayered acoustic weave of Arise, the band launches into an epic, albeit abridged, journey, equipped with galloping riffs, bottom level heaviness, Malmsteeny arpeggio flourishes, technical death guitar twists, multiple tempo and scenery changes, all in all creating one cinematic vivid picture. Indeed, A Futile Crusade comes out with a sinister edge and explosive percussion, the track somewhat reminiscent of the latter days Death, of the Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance era. The closer Predestined truly throws a kitchen sink and more at the listener, from double bass pummeling thrash to searching solo and a final blasting explosion, serving as perfect culmination. It is mind-boggling how much work it must have been for guitarist/bassist Joey Lodes (Julliard guest lecturer, by the way) to record all of the string-related parts and for the famous producer Tue Madsen to mix and master It Was Predestined into one cohesive picture.

Vocalist Gary Vosganian also does not stay within one frame of sound. Far from smooth and operatic, as we have come to expect in the epic metal genre, Gary is anything but, ranging from Schuldiner edgy to early Jon Oliva scratchy to King Diamond theatrical in his approach. The only complaint here is that Gary, trying to cram a large set of lyrics into the songs, sometimes bunches up his vocals in a quirky rapping fashion.

Maelstrom proves a point that epic does not mean orchestral and certainly does not mean emaciated and emasculated. If you are not stuck on Rhapsody (or Rhapsody of Fire, if you wish), as the only way you will accept cinematic Hollywood metal, It Was Predestined paints another version. I will forego a quote for this EP hoping that it is simply a downpayment on the 20 years long journey for one glorious album.

Killing Songs :
Let's see if the band can deliver it all on a full-length
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