Fireworks

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Last Kingdom - 'Chronicles Of The North' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4b/28/82/2624_lastkingdomchroniclesofthenorth_1345147125.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 16, 2012    
 
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First full-length release by the Swedish band.

Last Kingdom were formed in Sweden back in 2004 by two friends who worked on a car manufacturing production line. The band’s line-up has gone through numerous changes during the last few years but is now essentially a settled trio and ‘Chronicles Of The North’ is the first full-length release.

I actually managed to get all the way through this twice yet have to admit it was something of a struggle on both occasions. I have never been keen on this brand of power metal and ‘Chronicles’ does nothing to change my mind. Most of the song structures follow a similar blueprint and there is very little respite from the double kick drums and 100mph riffing. The guitars and keyboards constantly compete for space and it is only when the tempo retreats that anything bordering on clarity is achieved. Singer Stefan Jacobsen is decent enough, and has a less than annoying style for the most part, however he still peppers proceedings with some glass-shattering vocal pyrotechnics that would confuse the most experienced of sheepdogs. The lyrical themes deal with historical/mythical power struggles and tyrannical rule yet, though the overall performances are competent enough, every song seems like a race to the finish line.

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I’ve sometimes heard this genre of music referred to as Battle Metal and the album cover actually looks like it could have been taken from that sort of XBox game. I can just imagine some geeky sword & sorcery fan-boy tucked away in a darkened bedroom somewhere nodding enthusiastically to the music contained on this CD as he fervently manoeuvres his joystick. It is the sort of thing Rhapsody were churning out several years ago but unfortunately Last Kingdom lack their high profile quality and certainly have a long way to go before Christopher Lee decides to take enough interest to add a spoken introduction.

Dave Bott

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