HardReviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Destynation - Rising Up
(Sonic Age)

Rising Up is the debut album from the band formerly known as Eternia. Hailing from way bloody up north in Sweden, these guys have old school power metal frozen and calcified in mind down pat. Which is cool, because the Swedes were the best in the mid'80s, coughing up the likes of Torch, Heavy Load, Axewitch and the stirring, starry debut from Europe, all of which can be heard in this bands dark, unflashy sound. But really, what you hear is a hint of Evergrey and a whole lot of Nocturnal Rites (buddies of the band, and nearby geographically), and, emphatically, none of the blurry, technical synthetic quality of a Dragonforce. No, these guys are all about impassioned melodic vocals, lots of space, relaxed grooves, even keyboards, o'er a clattery and cold production job from guitarist Ronny Blylod. Tradition grounds the band with a richness, just like Nocturnal Rites, both of these acts creating mature classicist metal without any of the laughable claptrap of the form.
Rating 8

Metal Church - A Light In The Dark

The second Church offering with third front man Ronny Munroe at the helm finds Kurdt's band solidifying their stance as classy old school riffsters with just a touch of prog exploration to their sound. A bit of the shine is off when you dwell too much on the fact that only Vanderhoof hails from any of the old eras of the band (personally, I'm a Mike Howe man), but with Kurdt being the A-style writing personality that he is, this sounds like all of those old albums, same epic riffs same pounding rhythms, same mix of velocities, and a singer up front who kills all comers as a front man, and fits nicely between Howe and Wayne as a time-honoured Church enunciator. I dunno, I don't find myself crazy excited about this, and I'm hesitant that modern metal fans will get it, given its drenching in Church/commercial Megadeth/commercial Anthrax tradition. I can see these songs exploding live though - especially 'More Than Your Master' - Ronny bearing down and incinerating the complacency out of the hall, and 'Blinded By Life' is fueled by one of the coolest riffs I've heard in hours (yes, cool riffs are everywhere). The album closes with a new version of 'Watch The Children Pray', dedicated to the deceased David Wayne, and like much of the rest of the album, the song is slow to unfold, too dramatic by half, trying my patience. Grade talk? Well, it's like this these days, isn't it? This is a solid album through and through but only for folks with a specific old school bent, and one that you know just won't cut the mustard with the kids - and you sorta agree with them, feeling old in the presentation of it - well, ya gotta apply some discipline and notch back from the easy 8.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 6