Top critical review
Prestine Presentation, What's Good is Worth the Price
on May 18, 2009
The first thing fans will notice about Dragonland's 3rd album is their steering clear of more "medieval/middle earth" type atmosphere and going for a more straightforward (and unfortunately predictable) power metal sound in the vain of something that simply sounds like a stronger Sonata Arctica - exchanging songs of battle and middle earth war with songs about emotions and uplifted moods. This is unfortunate because I felt Dragonland was one of the very few bands who did the Middle Earth thing pretty well.
Now, the best thing I found on this album was its presentation - the instrumental chops are top notch, and the vocals are absolutely astounding, very on key, epic and passionate, you'll be hard pressed to find equally talented vocalists. Then there's the production, which is just perfect to say the least for a power metal album, I was floored by the album's presentation.... but just because an album comes off as pretty on the surface doesn't mean the songs are even all that good or memorable. Unfortunately, the majority of the songs on here just aren't, and while there are definitely few astounding moments, these parts that last only a few seconds aren't enough to sustain a 4 or 6 minute song. This makes for some very disappointing sections.
For example, the opener has easily have to have one of the best chorus's I've ever heard from a power metal song, so melodic and just perfect sounding, and after the 2nd verse the chorus is sung for the second time, then a pretty good bridge guitar solo goes... and goes, and goes until the song just ends, and I was left wondering why they didn't end the song with the epic chorus given it was SO GOOD! I asked myself "what were they thinking??" they just took this great song and hacked it into something so far below its potential it makes me wonder if they even have an EAR for their own music! This actally happens a couple of times throughout the album and it just sucks.
Overall, while it's pretty disappointing that Dragonland's leaving their Middle Earth sound, I can see their potential with their new direction, but I question how good of songwriters these guys actually are. In their history of work, they seem to hit some great highs but some epic lows. I still very much like this band anyhow, and highly recommend this album to anyone who's into melodic and uplifting power metal.