Excalion - Dream Alive
Scarlet Records
Power Metal
11 songs (59' 47")
Release year: 2017
Excalion, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Andy

Excalion's a power metal band I hadn't gotten around to listening to, but Dream Alive is a great introduction to them. They've been compared to Stratovarius, but where that band has moved towards ever-slicker production and even the incorporation of Euro-trance elements into songs in recent albums, Dream Alive gives off a grittier vibe in its mostly mid-tempo but enjoyable songs.

Is that a keytar they're using? It sure sounds like it in places, though it's probably just regular keyboards playing the same riffs as the well-produced guitars. Said guitars are crisp and jagged, prone to harmonics, but the sound, in keeping with the album's title, is dreamlike in its soft keyboards. Divergent Falling starts the album off on the right foot, with just the right mix of smoothness and gritty triumph, but its successor, Centenarian, is more emotional and a stronger performance by vocalist Marcus Lång. When the band tries out faster songs instead of mid-tempo chugging, the resemblance to Stratovarius increases, but not in a bad way; some could say their melodic choices are better in places, especially on Amelia's chorus, which is especially uplifting.

With the European power-metal sound in the songs come some progressive touches as well, especially on Living Daylights, but Excalion doesn't lay out a song with truly progressive complexity until the twelve-minute Portrait on the Wall, a real saga of a song where the band gives it everything they've got with a powerful performance by Lång. The drumming and guitar rhythms on this one are especially good, ranging all over the place from blastbeat-driven fury to soft keyboard introspection -- the keyboard/guitar duel they throw in the middle is really nice, too.

Excalion produces a rock-solid album in Dream Alive, providing a little for every listener -- some darkness, some grittiness, some prog -- without overspecializing to the point of committing to any aspect of their sound. Power metal fans should pick this one up.

Bandcamp: https://scarletrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dream-alive.

Killing Songs :
Divergent Falling, Centenarian, Portrait on the Wall
Andy quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Excalion that we have reviewed:
Excalion - High Time reviewed by Chris and quoted 67 / 100
Excalion - Waterlines reviewed by Chris and quoted 82 / 100
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