Brocelian - Guardians of Brocéliande - (7.5/10)
Published on July 17, 2019
Brocelian’s second album “Guardians of Brocéliande” is in every possible way, a symphonic power metal album. It follows the genre’s recipe with very few elements to break the pattern. It’s all about catchy choruses, easy melodies and basic verse-chorus song structures. The guitar riffs, drums and bass work mostly as a backbone to give the heaviness and pace that makes it metal but leave all focus on the melodies, vocals and symphonic elements.
Personally, I’ve never been keen on music driven by a recipe and have always loved to be challenged a bit but every now and then you need an easy listen and that’s when this sort of thing comes in handy. The problem is that simple can often mean boring. I’m happy to say that Brocelian didn’t completely fall into that trap with this album but they do have some bugs though. First of all, it’s ridiculously cheesy and every chorus is so jumpy and playful that it’s almost laughable. That’s not entirely in a bad way because the cheerful attitude in most of the songs makes it almost impossible to feel bad listening to it but it does lack credibility. Also, it doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to diversity as all songs sound very similar, making the album as a whole quite predictable and reduntant.
But it is sonically pleasant. It’s always ear-friendly and energetic and the mixing is pretty neat too. Though generally the instrumentation gets a bit bland, there are some good guitar leads and nice use of piano here and there and some clever details on the drums help build a decent groove and dynamic. And the vocal performance is really quite a treat, presenting a fairly impressive range especially in the high register and just an enjoyable tone. Also in the vocal area there’s a satisying amount of layering with both male and female backing vocals and even a couple of duets with guest vocalists (“Escape From Alcatraz” and “Fire Of My Heart”).
Probably their trick to break the pattern and the element that stands out the most is the use of violin, giving a bit of a folk direction to the music. They’ve also addressed the redundancy issue a little bit with the ballad “My Last Melody” and the acoustic album closer “Summer Days”. To be honest, this album is pretty much what you’d expect based on the single but somehow it’s more enjoyable than it is predictable or repetitive. It’s not impressive or surprising in any way but if you’re willing to put up with the cheese it’ll do the trick.