Released: 2017, Massacre
This album came out in January of 2017. I got an advance digital copy a couple of months before and I was blown away. Where I heard it I wondered if it was too early (in December of 2016) to call HEART OF THE PHOENIX my album of the year for 2017! So I held off writing my review for quite a while. I had convinced myself that I was probably just excited and over-rating the album. Over the past four months, I have listened to this album more than any other.
HEART OF THE PHEONIX is the fourth album for these Germany Power Metallions. I really like this album as it is Power Metal perfection. I almost don’t want to go into too much detail as I could go on all day about all the little things that I enjoy in this album, like the perfectly placed sound effect of the clash of mighty swords at 1:10 on the opening track’ Shadow Warriors’ or the mini-drum solo/flourish at the 2:15 mark of ‘Hammer of Justice’, placed perfectly after the huge chorus of ‘The hammer of justice will fall!” and leading into yet another blazing solo. The little extra drum segment represents (in my mind) the pounding hammer of justice! One of many flawless executed musical moments on this stellar record. HEART OF THE PHOENIX has it all; soaring, clean, high, clear vocals, crunchy guitar, blazing solos, thunderous, pounding bass, relentless pummelling double-kick drums and some sweet keyboard atmosphere. The lyrics are Power metal dungeons and dragons heaven with lyrics about dragons, swords, rainbows, warriors, heroes and even a little nod to science fiction on the cuts, ‘Sons Of Orion’, and ‘Beyond The Iron Sky’. After album after 10 fast songs in a row, ends on a quieter note with a huge, soaring, majestic, power, semi-ballad styled song with guest vocals by Viktorie Surmova in a very nice duet with vocalist David Bassin.
I know intellectually my perfect rating of five out of five is a little high. A cynic or critic who heard this album might state, “This is just yet another generic Power Metal album. There are dozens and dozens of these bands putting out albums like this every year.” And that person would be right. Our criteria here at Metal-Rules for a five out off five ranking is: “ Groundbreaking, Amazing, Mind-blowing”. Is HEART OF THE PHOENIX really ‘groundbreaking’? Not really. I know that. But it is amazing to my ears and mind-blowing to my brain. I don’t rank originality highly at all when reviewing music. VICTORIUS is as good in performance, style, song-writing as Helloween, Sonata Arctica, or Stratoivarius and I’m sticking with my highly-biased perfect score. In terms of being my most listened to album of 2107 so far, Victorius is victorious!