Fireworks

Holy Dragons - 'Civilizator' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/10/61/fa/Holy-Dragons-Civilizator-4-1474222391.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 18, 2016    
 
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Guttural, visceral and dark Metal, designed to break your neck and melt your face.

So, here's me thinking Holy Dragons are a new discovery; well, these guys formed in 1992 and 'Civilizator' is actually their fourteenth studio album – this shocked me, as I'd never heard of these guys before. The fact they are from Kazakhstan may be part of the reason they are not more widely known, because you don't produce this many albums over so many years without a loyal and dedicated fan base – which they must have in their homeland. That level of experience is evident on this release; these guys are not raw recruits or budding musicians honing their craft, they are in full flow, with full belief in the musical talents and song-writing.

HG have strong NWOBHM influences, which they express loudly in their compositions, but they have a more aggressive, heavier modern sound than that tag would imply. So they'll appeal to fans of that genre, but they won't alienate listeners by being too retro or sounding like a tribute band to their heroes. There are also elements of Thrash, especially in the guitars, which triggered comparisons to Megadeth in my mind on a couple of occasions. So, they are essentially a Power Metal band with crunching fast-paced guitar riffs, interspersed with melodic guitar solos and licks akin to Iron Maiden. Their vocalist also has a Bruce Dickinson style "air raid siren" voice that intensifies the comparison.

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It's in the guitars where the band show their strengths, and where the album appeals to me most. There is some amazing talent in HD, because it's these licks and solos that draw you back to the album for repeated listens. I like a lot of the fantastic soundscapes they create with Symphonic elements, as heard on 'Through The Wall Of Lies', which I found thoroughly enjoyable. There are a couple of instrumentals on the album, and I particularly liked the very melodic 'The Long Earth', which softens the sound momentarily.

'Civilizator' is nowhere near as commercial as I usually like my Metal to be, but I found myself air guitar noodling on many occasions, as well as rewinding and re-listening to some of the lusher Symphonic musical pieces. I think fans of NWOBHM, Thrash and, of course, Power Metal should keep an ear out for Holy Dragons, as it may surprise a few people. It's guttural, visceral and dark Metal, designed to break your neck and melt your face!

Paul Woodward

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