What do you really expect from a band that after trying the names FANTASIA, FANTASY and FERREOL finally settled for FAIRYLAND? Who has guessed symphonic Power Metal has hit the nail on the head, for the band from French Riviera town Nice has exactly chosen this style as their playing ground and after their debut still had former DARK MOOR fronter Elisa C. Martin on the mic, the quintet now sports a new vocalist with MAGIC KINGDOM singer Max Leclercq.
Upon first listen the biggest issue of "The Fall Of An Empire" is that you hear it, you enjoy it, you forget it...completely. As if you had never heard it before. That usually is a pretty "good" sign for a CD having a problem. But as it is my duty as a reviewer to give CDs more than just one chance, I came back to it and with time the album began to reveal that it is more than just an absolute rehash of what had been played ad nauseam by other bands, but that there actually is some redeeming value to the songs and performance.
Now I have never heard the debut, so I can't compare, but if you can see beyond the obvious influences by the usual suspects of this particular sub-style of Power Metal, which are evident from the beginning, with RHAPSODY, SYMPHONY X etc. being no strangers in the song writers' stereos, they show their full potential in tracks such as "Eldanie Uelle", "The Walls Of Laemnil" or the brilliant "In Duna", which features female vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards and choir for maximum effect.
But with this I don't want to say that the other songs were crap, no, far from it, they are all very well written, arranged and played and Max has a very good voice as well, so this side is absolutely covered, they just do not manage to stand out from the crowd of similar sounding bands, worse than those, though, they are not.
"The Fall Of An Empire" is one of those albums, where most people will not even try to go beyond the surface due to the parallels to too many other bands, but if you feel appealed by this style, give it a try, because once you scratch the shiny veneer there is more to be found inside. But next time a little less might be a little more in the end...
(Online January 9, 2007)