Different countries or regions have different sounds that you connect with them, Gothenburg, for example, will always be branded for super melodic Death Metal, which had been created by bands such as DARK TRANQUILLITY, AT THE GATES and IN FLAMES and the Power/Speed wave of Italy will be their stigma for years to come. HERALDRY stand at the edge of that wave and I can definitely still call them Power Metal, although they thankfully are not part of the purely generic mass.
“Shadows Of Ancient Skies” has already been released in 2003, but only reached me now, showing a band that for one sounds almost typically Italian, but on the other side also tries to get away from it, with rather split success, I must say. The songs contain rhythmic variety, so contrary to many other bands they do not just speed through, which is a plus, if they would not have some rather counterproductive elements, but more on that in a moment.
The songs mostly alternate between mid and high pace, with partly pretty strong use of keyboards and high vocals, which should “satisfy“ all Power Metal haters, because almost all of the ingredients could be found here, that they here and there dive into Melodic Metal is a bonus in terms of variety. The songs sound nice and are well played, but hardly more, they don’t really stick to your memory and sound pretty harmless in places.
But the main problem is that the guys at times really blow their songs up pretty dramatically, five of the songs exceed seven songs, which waters down the whole thing, if the substance is not strong enough and despite the great musicianship it in the end will pull down the rating.
The review so far reads pretty negative, I have to admit, more negative than intended, because the guys can definitely play and also write good songs, among them “Dream Fighter”, the instrumental “Landscape” or the title track “Shadows Of Ancient Skies”. But overall there are far too many bands in this style that are pretty good and also many that are at least one step ahead. (Online August 2, 2006)