Force Majeure - 'The Rise Of Starlit Fires'

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Force Majeure - 'The Rise Of Starlit Fires'

Force Majeure could well turn out to be a major force in Power Metal.

Those flippin' Finns are at it again! I reckon if you cut someone from Finland these days, they'd bleed Metal! This time it's Force Majeure, who return a mere six years after their second album. Armed with "Finland's best kept secret" (so it states here), vocalist Marcus Lång, this is Euro Power Metal for the masses which delivers hard on the melody and song-writing.

The grandly named 'The Rise Of Starlit Fires' is, thankfully, not as up-its-own-arse as the title may suggest. Mind you, the cover is pretty funny, if unintentionally so, but we only judge an album by its cover if it has the words "Justin" and "Bieber" on it! After such a build-up, I was really hoping Lång wasn't going to be a growler or similar, and from his first notes on opener 'Gemini Rising', it was clear this thankfully wasn't to be the case. I am definitely a fan of powerful, high register vocals, something that started with vintage Helloween and Queensrÿche when I was but a lad. Lång certainly nails the style and is backed up by some very impressive musicians who seem to enjoy playing at DragonForce-level speed and with a similar amount of melody.

There are plenty of bands about that follow that particular path, and I'm pleased to say that on the evidence of this album, Force Majeure could be up there with the best of them. The song titles are as epic as the album title itself (seriously, 'Pantheon Of My Passion' is like a sixteen year old Goth's poetry book), but look past the drama and inside you will find music that flows like a raging river. There are plenty of keyboards that provide some lift when needed, and the two guitarists are predictably brilliant.

'The Rise Of Starlit Fires' may only have eight songs, but they're eight consistently high-quality tracks with none falling into the "three minute wonder" category. There are no epics here (a bit surprising, really), but the bonus of that is that nothing outstays its welcome. The songs could be a bit more "catchy", but they are so good the lack of sing-along choruses isn't too much of a deal.

Fast, deep and blessed with Finland's "best kept secret", Force Majeure could well turn out to be a major force in Power Metal.

Alan Holloway

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