Fairyland - Score To A New Beginning
Napalm Records
Epic Symphonic Power Metal
12 songs (60'32)
Release year: 2009
Fairyland, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Marty
"Hollywood Metal"...."Film Score Metal" or whatever people prefer to call it, Italy's Rhapsody (of Fire) was one of the very first bands to introduce this new type of symphonic power metal; using huge complex arrangements and choirs to accompany the speedy power metal sound. The whole idea was to provide epic fantasy mental imagery with the music to give the impression that the listener was listening to the soundtrack of a movie. Rhapsody (of Fire) had a pretty good run with albums like Legendary Tales and Symphony of Enchanted Lands yet seem to be their own worst enemy as of late; becoming so complex that I find it hard to listen to their last several CDs. France's Fairyland charmed fans of this genre with their debut album Of Wars In Osyrhia; released in 2003 and featured former Dark Moor vocalist Elisa C. Martin. That album and the subsequent follow up Fall Of An Empire were both written by keyboardist Philippe Giordana and guitarist Anthony Parker however Fall Of An Empire featured an all-new line-up including ex-Magic Kingdom vocalist Max LeClerqc. After the tour for that album, Philippe Giordana parted ways with the rest of the band and decided to continue Fairyland using the Ayreon approach of enlisting guest musicians and vocalists. The result is a triumphant return to the style of the debut album Of Wars In Osyrhia with Score To A New Beginning; the third and final saga in the fantasy realm of Osyrhia.

Much like the Rhapsody (of Fire) approach, Fairyland mixes symphonic power metal with very theatrical and atmospheric interludes. The speediness of early Rhapsody (of Fire) can be heard with tracks like Across The Endless Sea (Part 2) as well as At The Gates Of Morker. There's a very strong keyboard presence to much of their sound with lots of synthesizer work and a dreamy 80's style Marillion feel. Big choirs and the occasional female vocals accompany the very strong, soaring and emotional male lead vocals with some very Sonata Arctica like similarities to the melodies especially with Assault On The Shore. Traditional/Celtic overtones can be heard with tracks like A Soldier's Tale and especially the hauntingly beautiful End Credits; complete with a stunning orchestrated sound to accompany some very passionate female lead vocals. The center piece to all of this is the title track Score To A New Beginning. Clocking in at almost 10 minutes in length, this one takes on Trans-Siberian Orchestra like qualities with its heavy and thunderous orchestrated sound. Also sounding very Ayreon-like, this track is arguably the best thing that they have ever done. Screaming and very emotionally charged male lead vocals are accompanied by very touching female vocals and a huge and uplifting sound. Everything about this album comes together in every sense of the way with this track. The combination of the title track and the aforementioned End Credits rounds out a truly amazing listening experience.

Very visual in its presentation, Fairyland presents us with the type of album that really is a genre defining moment. For anyone not familiar with this type of highly "visual" and orchestrated epic power metal, this album would make a great introduction. Others may have pioneered this genre but Score To A New Beginning is quite simply one of the best albums in this genre to come out in many years. It's the best album that this band has ever done with the debut Of Wars In Osyrhia coming in at a very close second. Phillipe Giordana might just be on to something here with his ensemble cast of guest vocalists and musicians. Without the distractions of outside pressures and influences, it has allowed his art to flourish in huge way. Disappointed with the last several Rhapsody (of Fire) albums? Give this one a try....you'll be glad you did.

Killing Songs :
Assault On The Shore, A Soldier's Tale, At The Gates Of Morker, Score To A New Beginning and End Credits
Marty quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Fairyland that we have reviewed:
Fairyland - The Fall Of An Empire reviewed by Andrew and quoted 75 / 100
Fairyland - Of Wars In Osyrhia reviewed by Mike and quoted 96 / 100
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