The debut album of HIGHLAND GLORY, “From The Cradle To The Brave“, was a good one, but not really sticking out among the many Power Metal bands, which were and are up to mischief then and now, but just like their countrymen GUARDIANS OF TIME, who have come up with a very good second release after a rather unimposing debut, this quintet has also made a huge step forward with this record.
Actually they haven’t really changed the sound, the basis is still melodic Power Metal of the Scandinavian kind, but they have improved themselves in almost all areas, cool leads, dynamic rhythm-section and very good vocal performance from Jan Thore Grefstad, good melodies, everything you want, and above all – I like it! Even if some may say that the catchy melodies will quickly wear off, I can state that even after frequent listens the songs still sound fresh and stirring, so there is no cause for concern.
The opener “Spirit Of Salvation” is not that special and some Metalheads who know the debut album may easily be misled and think that the band still acts on an average level, but these worries will be blown away latest by “Edge Of Time” with the cool opening riff, which leads up to a speedy and melodic song, which instantly elevates the album. Followed by the even better “Mindgame Masquerade”, again speedy and with good riffs, crowned with cool lead-work and an interesting melody line from Grefstad.
HIGHLAND GLORY succeed in carrying on this tempo, with the good ballad “The Sacrifice”, the strong Melodic Metal from “Surreality” to the grandiose “Forever Endavour” which varies between fast and mid-tempo, has a slight Egyptian/Oriental touch and a cool chorus which won’t let you go that easy. This version also has three bonus tracks, cover versions from W.A.S.P.. KISS and IRON MAIDEN, which are all well done.
The production (or maybe the mix) could have been better especially with the vocals, but that does not really harm the class of the album, which should address to the Melodic and Power Metal fans, check it out, it could be worth it!! (Online August 7, 2006)