Age of Artemis - Overcoming Limits
MS Metal Records
Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (43:04)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

I’ve had a difficult time recently in finding interesting new power metal releases. From wholly generic Stratovarius rip-offs to overly ambitious groups that have neither the production budget nor melodic sensibility to create something worthwhile, the genre so far this year has left a rather stale taste in the mouth of a reviewer craving decent power metal to write about. And then I stumble upon Age of Artemis: a seemingly unknown group from Brazil that, with its 2011 debut Overcoming Limits, managed to defy my initial impressions and craft something special despite gravitating towards standard power metal tropes.

With Age of Artemis being from Brazil, it’s almost obligatory that Angra’s style has rubbed off on the band to an extent. The guitar work in particular certainly evokes the style found on Angra’s past two or three offerings, the influence evident in the rapid-fire staccato riffing as well as the insanely technical solos. Pinning comparisons on vocalist Alírio Netto, however, is a more difficult task. He sings aggressively or cleanly depending on the tone that each song calls for, and it’s certainly been a good while since I’ve heard a vocalist perform with such diversity on a single album. With the diverse array of songs presented on Overcoming Limits, his power and range certainly don’t go to waste; melodic speed metal scorchers, soothing ballads, and tame mid-paced numbers are all present in equal measure. The album is bookended by the two fastest tracks on the album; the opener, Echoes Within, should delight fans of the cornier varieties of power metal with its uplifting melodies and relentless double-bass drumming, while closer Till the End ends things on a similarly happy note, although the melodies are not as cleverly written despite the excellent guitar work on display.

Things become more interesting with the introduction of Overcoming Limit’s most atmospheric songs. One Last Cry is mournful and aggressive in equal measure, featuring some of the best vocal performances of the album and a guest female vocalist who helps cement this as the album’s best song. The faster-paced Mystery does indeed have a mysterious air about it, with Netto’s melodic performance longing for answers in the strange world we live in. And the album’s obligatory “epic” track, God, Kings and Fools, evokes Symphony X in its dark melodies and aggressive guitar performances while still sporting a few surprisingly serene moments. The impact of these excellent songs is dulled by the presence of a few boring tracks, namely Truth in Your Eyes and Break up the Chains, both being bland Euro power metal inspired tunes which together help to make Overcoming Limit’s midsection its weakest link. Thankfully, the great songs which sandwich the average ones make the album’s weaker moments seem inconsequential.

Even during Overcoming Limit’s weaker moments, Age of Artemis still maintains a level of complexity in its instrumentation that’s typically reserved for progressive metal bands. If the band can incorporate this technicality into a sophomore release featuring quality consistent with the most interesting songs from this album – while also maintaining the plateau for beautiful melodies established - AoE could accomplish something truly remarkable. Yet Overcoming Limits is a special album in its own right, sporting genuine earnestness that goes beyond the standard debut album spunk. Age of Artemis seems to have greater aspirations beyond what they’ve achieved here; if reach their full potential on forthcoming releases, I have no doubt they are destined to stand alongside Angra, Shaman, and Aquaria as one of the best power metal acts of Brazil.

Killing Songs :
Echoes Within, Mystery, One Last Cry, God, Kings and Fools
Kyle quoted 79 / 100
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