I listened to a bit of POWER QUEST when I first discovered Power Metal, and I never quite liked it – remember, it was in the early 2000’s and Power Metal was all the rage. It seemed like a new Power Metal band formed every single day and to me, POWER QUEST seemed like the most unoriginal of them all. I thought at the time “Okay, another band like any other… Next!”
If there’s one thing life teaches us, it’s how times change. “Blood Alliance” is probably in my top 10 albums of the year and it’s great precisely because it’s a pure, unapologetic Power-fest (no pun intended) Indeed, a few years ago POWER QUEST was riding the waves because Power Metal was the “it” style and now that “it” is more Folk Metal and Progressive Metal, ironically they are the kind of band we need more of. Let’s face it: many, many Power Metal bands we know and love kind of drifted away from the style to make either Proggy or Symphonic music, for better (BLIND GUARDIAN) or for worse (SONATA ARCTICA). So yeah, it would no doubt have sounded paradoxical in 2002, but it’s quite refreshing now to hear a pure and simple Power Metal cheesefest.
If you got any doubt about the direction this album is going to take, just take a listen to the two-minute intro, “Battle Stations”. On any other record these days, you’d expect the intro to be some piano or symphonic melodies. Not here. On “Blood Alliance”, the Metal starts at the first second of the first track and ends on the final notes of “City Of Lies”! No bullcrap, no compromises, only unfiltered rocking from start to finish.
If there’s one track some people, myself included, could be disappointed of, it would be the nine-minute title track. But then again, it may simply have been because I was expecting something else. The song’s length led me to believe “Blood Alliance” was a Proggy track with lots of tempo changes and new stuff being tried. The actual song... was nothing like that. Ignoring those expectations though, the song is really good, as is the rest of the album!
After a series of line-up changes leaving keyboardist Steve Williams as the only remaining founding members. Don’t be worried thought, POWER QUEST fans: The new members certainly get the job done here. Chitral Somapala (ex-FIREWIND) steals the show as new vocalist while guitarists Andy Midgley and Gavin Owen turn out fine performances as well. Rich Smith’s drumming is the standard in Power Metal – simple, but consistent and effective.
Original? Maybe not, but all in all probably the best purely Power Metal release you’ll hear this year. Never thought I would say (write) this, but long live POWER QUEST!
Definitely listen to: "Rising Anew", "Glorious", "Sacrifice", "Survive", "City Of Lies".
(Online January 18, 2012)