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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Antillia - Ancient Forces

Hailing from Russia, more known for its frosty black metal and burgeoning extreme metal scenes, symphonic power metal upstarts Антиллия (anglicized into Antilla) have a strong uphill battle to climb by means of this chosen genre hailing from such a location. Despite a few other groups making their case for this particular style emerging recently, it’s this act that seems poised to become the leader of the movement if this powerful, dynamic release has anything to say about it.

It becomes immediately clear here that term Symphonic Power Metal is apropos that it offers exactly to expect here. Majestic, grandiose and bombastic keyboards that feel at home scoring an epic fantasy battle sequence are the primary factor here, offering a cinematic style on display throughout that suitably captures the epic feel generated by the dueling male/female vocals which are also such a prime factor throughout here that it regards itself more in favor of the Italian version where it sought to marry the cinematic scope of the material alongside the energetic power metal material. This is mostly prevalent in several of the more symphonic-leaning tracks here, from ‘Штурм (The Assault),’ ‘Смертный бой (Mortal Fight)’ or ‘Пленённый бессмертием (Captivated By The Immortality)’ which all manage to incorporate a cinematic style approach heavy on chugging rhythms and blasting drumming. When this unleashes more traditional values with faster riffing, dexterous speed metal drumming and majestic keyboards as in ‘Последний звездопад (Last Starfall)’ or ‘Шаман (The Shaman)’ the results are standard symphonic power metal fun that harkens back to the glory days of the scene from the early parts of the previous decade. Though it stumbles somewhat in terms of generating the kind of variation required to really sell this material, as it tends to feel like it’s struggling to get to the finishing line, it emerges as the one real flaw here as this comes off with so much else to like here in the dynamic dueling vocalists and powerful, impassioned performances.

Offering up enough enjoyable elements to really make an impression despite a few missteps here and there, overall it ends leaving this one as a rather enjoyable and somewhat notable act to follow for fans of this bombastic, cinematic style of power metal or just undiscerning power metal fans in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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