|Genre||Symphonic Power Metal|
|Release Date||17 May 2019|
It’s time once again to set sail with the mighty Grimgotts into the world of Vale to witness the war between the creatures of the seas. And, what better way to go on such a quest than to have the cheesiest, feel-good nautical metal by your side!
Honestly, I can’t say which aspect of Dragons of the Ages is more over-the-top. Is it the unified chanting in the choruses? Is it the relentless beating of the rhythm section? Or is it, perhaps, that the synths and fanfares sound like they were recorded from a thirty dollar Casio keyboard? One thing is for sure: these goofs are self-aware to the max and I fucking love it.
That isn’t to say there’s no substance to the album, because there definitely is. It’s light-spirited and undoubtedly uplifting with solid musicianship. They even took enough care to bring in guest vocalists for backing parts in a couple of the songs, which adds a bit more depth than if they had just recorded a bunch of backing tracks solely from the band’s Andy Barton. With regard to balancing honest music and a carefree attitude, Grimgotts stikes a perfect balance.
That being said, there is one thing that Dragons of the Ages severely lacks: variety. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the tracks, with the differences typically being limited to a slight lean toward pirate metal or power metal. There are two tracks that stick out, though, with the most obvious being the nine-minute closer: ‘Here Be Dragonlords’. The first section (just after the string intro) is easily the darkest part of the album, before it carries on to another familiar high and pulls back into a quiet piano run to finish it off. ‘War at Dawn’ is another unique track. The combination of a more somber chorus and a bit of rough vocals are enough to separate this one from the rest. There are highs and lows in other tracks, but these parts don’t do enough to deliver much of an impact.
My favourite part of the record has to be the drums. The super thick synth solos are a close second, but Mo Abdelgadir does a phenomenal job at pounding Dragons of the Ages through the skies and across the seas with the power of a dragon’s furiously-beating wings. Aside from laying down plenty of sick grooves (with ‘Turning the Tide’ having the best drum performance on the album), he drops blast beats in a few choruses where you’d least expect it, helping them hit even harder. The vocals and guitars are excellent, but the drumming here is something else.
Grimgott’s second album to date, Dragons of the Ages is by no means a genre-shattering album. Its sound is often similar to the recent Atlas Pain record, Tales of a Pathfinder (although I enjoyed this one much more), and it follows most of the power metal tropes fairly closely. However, Grimgotts have managed to make something original, super fun, and immensely uplifting. Fans of Power Quest, Twilight Force, Alestorm, and Galderia will love this album.
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