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Album Review By Iron Mathew
Emerald are a heavy metal band from Switzerland forming in 1995, releasing their debut album in 1999. Five more albums were released over the next thirteen years, with the bands singer Thomas L Winkler leaving in 2014 to join Gloryhammer. A short lived affair with replacement George Call (ex Omen) ended amicably, with their current singer Mace Mitchell (ex Silence Lost) appearing on the bands seventh album, ‘Reckoning Day’, released in 2017.
An atmospheric and epic intro introduces the melodic hard rocking ‘Only The Reaper Wins’ and Emerald can be satisfied that they have succeeded in finding a suitable replacement singer. A clean and clear vocal style evokes similarities to legendary singers Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Steve Grimmett (Grim Reaper, The Sanity Days). Emerald are a band that deliver European style power metal with a heavy hitting sharp edge. Pace quickens as ‘Black Pyramid’ romps in and gallops on, echoing the famous NWOBHM style from the eighties. The buzzing guitars blend well with the keyboards and the rhythms are infectious and catchy. Increasing the pace and thundering on, ‘Evolution In Reverse’ features former singer George Call on lead vocals. ‘Evolution In Reverse’ is a very heavy and rampant song that will have fans all around the world head banging hard. ‘Horns Up’ is much more melodic and is mildly aggressive as it strides on. Guitars buzz and chug rhythmically with an anthemic style sing a long chorus.
Dipping into ballad territory, ‘Beyond Forever’ has a cracking mix of keyboards and acoustic guitars coupled with a soulful vocal performance. Lighters high in the air, the entire audience will be swaying from side to side at this one. Former singer George Call makes a second lead vocal appearance on ‘Through The Storm’, a savage storm of riffs and bludgeoning rhythms. Emerald are proving themselves adept at delivering a brand of power metal that effortlessly swings from very heavy, almost thrashy, to the more classic traditional European style. All the while keeping the catchiness intact that will attract many new fans from all around the world. The melodic hard rock returns in full force as ‘Ridden With Fear’ buzzes into life and thunders on at a highly energetic and mid tempo pace. Occasionally switching to out and out speed metal, ‘Ridden By Fear’ is a corker of a song with one of the most sing a long choruses on the album.
The remainder of the album switches style a little bit and follows a concept called ‘The Burgundian Wars’, which is based on the historical novel ‘Der Lowe Von Burgund’. The concept section begins with the musical narration of ‘Mist Of The Past’, setting an epic laden atmosphere, that leads into the menacing vibe of ‘Trees Full Of Tears’. Bustling along at pace, ‘Trees Full Of Tears’ is heavy rock straight out of the top drawer, with the most catchy and infectious chorus break you will have ever heard in a very long time. ‘Lament Of The Fallen’ is a sublime instrumental, setting up the majestic title song ‘Reckoning Day’ to forge a path of hard rock across the airwaves. ‘Reckoning Day’ will pound and pummel the senses with its heavy hitting rhythms and menacing vocal style. A second power ballad comes to life in the shape of ‘Reign Of Steel’, but only for the short intro before wham and a bam, the power metal oozes from the speakers and ‘Reign Of Steel’ becomes a thundering power/speed metal romp. Those lighters you reached for when the song began, put them away and punch the air high with your fist and get head banging… With the album quickly heading for its end, Emerald take the opportunity to deliver a seven minute plus epic, ‘Signum Dei’. Atmospheric and majestic, ‘Signum Dei’ has a melodic swagger that keeps it at a mid tempo pace. Bringing the concept section to its end is a second musical narration, ‘Fading History’.
Overall, pounding heavy metal from a veteran band of the European power metal genre, there is plenty on offer here to head bang to.
Only The Reaper Wins
Evolution In Reverse
Through The Storm
Ridden By Fear
Mist Of The Past
Trees Full Of Tears
Lament Of The Fallen
Reign Of Steel
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