Acropolis - The Aftermath - (6/10)
Published on February 19, 2009
Israeli Acropolis are one of the few power metal bands from the Holy Land, actually only the second one that managed to reach my ears after Desert, who had left a pretty good impression. The first two things that strike are the excellent cover artwork, courtesy of Pierre-Alain Durand, and the fact that none other than Mika Jussila took care of the mastering, so this quintet definitely is out for the kill and does not skimp.
So in anticipation of some interesting music I pop the disc in and the intro “Reveal Yourself” almost made me take it out even faster than I managed to put it in, because this is horrible dancefloor/techno, but I sat through it and “Atonement, Hear My Call” reveals a Scandinavian sounding version of power metal, infused with some progressive metal and at least in the verse hindered by something that doesn’t quite work out, because at first the vocals are too far in the foreground and then when all instruments join in, they seem to drown in the mix, which makes for a somewhat confusing first, well, second impression. Don’t get me wrong, there is a surprising level of maturity in the song writing and Daniel Varfolomeyev’s guitar skills are more than remarkable, but somehow the sum of all parts doesn’t quite add up.
The soloing is what pushes Acropolis closer to Prog at some times, as both guitars and keyboards are given quite a bit of room to shine, which might make things a little harder to digest for the purists of the genre. Short and speedy “Red Redemption” more than once reminds me of Sonata Arctica, which continues through “Divine Cycle”, which is a little less frenetic, but equipped with a very full sound, which sometimes almost seems a little too much, as it’s like a sonic wall trying to get into your ears (happened to me more than once, which can seem a little overwhelming at times, but that should not lead you on the wrong track, as the song definitely is good and once more shows quite a bit of fretboard artistry by Daniel. Closing “Revive From Oblivion” then shows some more originality, mostly due to the guys taking influence from the music of their home country by incorporating some oriental melodies, which lends a very nice touch and might be something that they might want to consider a little more often to stand out more from the crowd, while the song displays a more progressive nature overall.
There are several things going right on The Aftermath, but at the same time several are not running as smoothly, so as of now I can attest Acropolis being a hopeful band that we should definitely watch in the future, but not everything adds up yet. They have mature song writing and execution, know when to be catchy and when to be more demanding, on the other hand the intro is utter crap, the vocal mix of the first full track is off and they sometimes try to pack too much into a song at the same time. If they can work on the latter, the next one should hold a lot of potential, until then I advise you to check out their songs on their Myspace page first.