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Fairyland - Of Wars In Osyrhia (9,5/10) - France - 2003

Genre: Symphonic Metal / Power Metal
Label: NTS
Playing time: 60:52
Band homepage: Fairyland

Tracklist:

  1. And So Came The Storm
  2. Ride With The Sun
  3. Doryan The Enlightened
  4. The Storyteller
  5. Fight For Your King
  6. On The Path To Fury
  7. Rebirth
  8. The Fellowship
  9. A Dark Omen
  10. The Army Of The White Mountains
  11. Of Wars In Osyrhia
Fairyland - Of Wars In Osyrhia

FAIRYLAND traces its origin back to a pair of aspiring French musicians named Philippe Giordana and Willdric Lievin who started with a vision, to create a magical tale set to music on a grand scale. “Of Wars in Osyrhia” thus becomes precisely what its epic album art depicts, a towering colossus of organized sound and mystical storytelling. All of it culminates through the superior vocal efforts of Elisa Martin, who in years prior was the driving force behind the success of DARK MOOR, as well as the rather surprisingly excellent guitar work by Anthony Parker, who was briefly with HEAVENLY during their early pre-major label days. Elisa’s vocals can be best described as a less flamboyant and bombastic alternative to Fabio Lione’s super operatic voice, while Parker’s excellence as a player combines the technical prowess of LUCA TURILLI with the crunchy edge of GAMMA RAY’S guitar sound.

 

The resulting sound of all these combined elements is quite similar to RHAPSODY; in fact, it is a near perfectly even hybrid of all of their first 3 full length albums. You have extremely catchy anthems loaded with speed and majesty such as “Ride with the Sun” and “Fight for your King” that hearken back to “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands”. You get darker fast tracks like “On the Path to Fury” and “A Dark Omen” that remind of such “Dawn of Victory” classics as “Dargor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain”. Meanwhile, “Doryan the Enlightened” has sections to it that are reminiscent of “Rage of the Winter”. The slower Folk inspired “The Storyteller” sounds a bit like “Village of Dwarves”, although it has quite a bit more electric guitar presence and about twice the overall intrigue.

 

Like most epic albums, Fairyland’s debut delivers an exceptionally long track to close the album, one that rivals LUCA TURILLI’S masterpiece, the title track of “Symphony of the Enchanted Lands”. It doesn’t quite have the same large scale and clean production as the RHAPSODY classic, but it makes up for it with sheer energy and well placed section contrasts. This song alone makes the album worth picking up, although obviously one may have a hard time getting to it because of the desire to repeat play the amazing music before it.

 

Although heavily comparable to RHAPSODY, there are some noteworthy differences between them and this band that should be addressed. The overall vibe of this release has a stronger Folk influence, similar to the ones found on albums by BLIND GUARDIAN and FALCONER. This can be gleaned from the instrumental intro “And so came the storm”, as well as several quiet sections in several other tracks. Furthermore, the ballad “Rebirth” sounds much more like a SYMPHONY X ballad than anything RHAPSODY has ever put out, particularly when focusing on the piano work.

 

Basically this is an all around great release that will please all fans of Symphonic Power Metal. You get the same speed, power and spirit that are present on RHAPSODY’S efforts, along with a few rather pleasant surprises and a healthier emphasis on guitar work. It’s not quite the masterpiece that “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands”, but I’d put it ahead of every other album RHAPSODY has put out since their inception. If you like DARK MOOR, FALCONER, BLIND GUARDIAN and FREEDOM CALL then this album will not disappoint.

(Online January 21, 2009)

Jonathan Smith



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