Guardians of Time - Rage and Fire - (9/10)
Published on May 29, 2015
Norway’s Guardians of Time are one of these bands that somehow have managed to continuously fly under the radar throughout their 18 year career and three previous albums. Rage and Fire is their fourth effort (and first in four years) and one can wonder, if this is what the band needs to finally break through to a wider power metal audience at last. Where in the past the Norwegians had dabbled a bit with a modern touch to their sound, this one is a completely different beast and rightfully puts the “power” into power metal again!
Looking at the different currents within the power metal genre, the Kristiansand-based band is hanging more with the Sinbreed crowd, keeping the bombast low, but without neglecting the catchiness of the songs, which not only works well for the band, but also gives them this extra edge that many bands of the genre are either missing or just avoiding to reel in a wider fanbase.
“Iron Heart” unites pretty much everything Guardians of Time stand for, plenty of power, crunchy riffs, powerful vocals, big chorus, lots of energy, setting the pace for the album, because the listener gets all of the above aplenty. But they never get one-dimensional, “Empire” has this oriental touch, but fits perfectly into the overall atmosphere and flow of the album, which is marked by dynamics and the already mentioned power. The Norwegians avoid any unnecessary frills, but still know how to add just enough epicness to appeal to power metal fans all across the board.
Especially Øivind Vågane is performing a true marathon session, because his double-bass relentlessly push the songs forward, creating the base for the guitars to erect their rifftastic structures that Bernt Fjellstad and his powerful yet melodic voice soars over, and not many bands can claim a one-two punch such as catchy yet dynamic “Tomorrow Never Comes” and tour de force “Standing Tall” that can power half of Kristiansand on their own! That being said, Rage and Fire doesn’t have anything outstandingly original about it, but the energy and freshness and power that Guardians of Time put together are what make this album so remarkable, just take “Core” that embodies everything that has been said in the probably best way..
Completely staying away from anything even remotely balladesque, Rage and Fire have the riffs, the power, the dynamics and the melodies to be a stand-out release in 2015’s power metal harvest. Guardians of Time probably are one of power metal’s best kept secret, but this album should hopefully finally change that, because this is some of the strongest power metal that 2015 has to offer!