Australia strikes back or what? With time "down under" also gets better known "up here" as more and more bands also release their stuff here, like VIRGIN BLACK to just name the last one. DUNGEON musically hit a completely different curb. Years ago already praised as the best that Australia had to offer, their debut "A Rise In Power" now has arrived and as it comes via LMP, you already have a rough guess what expects you musically.
And it indeed is Power Metal, but with a harder edge than with most HELLOWEEN clones, you can hear that right away at the beginning of opener "A Rise To Power", the guitars are heavier, the double bass tighter and dryer and the vocals, ok, not such a big difference, for it more often than once reminds me of a certain Joacim Cans, with some of you the hammer might fall at the mentioning of his name… Is not a clone, so that is good.
The already mentioned opener (if you disregard the obligatory intro) is a double bass driven, melodic, but still heavy cracker, which is not too original, but still wets your appetite with its great guitar runs and tight play. And what we get afterwards is Power Metal of the European school (I don't know, if there is an Oceanian school), a bit heavier than the average, with very good guitar work and good vocals (which somehow never can get rid of the Cans comparison), that's something to start with, isn't it?
Also as DUNGEON mostly leave out too happy melodies and choruses as well as overblown choirs (do not get me wrong, I like big choirs and we get a certain amount of those with DUNGEON, too) and therewith have a different hue as we so often get nowadays. Additionally they nicely vary their songs and also use calmer parts, like with the very melodic "The Other Side", while "Stormchaser" is a straight cracker with great melodies.
Elsewhere HAMMERFALL do not only shine through in the vocals, "Where Madness Hides", albeit a tad bit heavier than the Swedes, but listen to the melody in the chorus and hear for yourself. "Lost In The Light" then is quite heavy and then surprises with a great choir-borne chorus, which makes the song one of the highlights of "A Rise In Power", not least thanks to the furious instrumentation in the middle. And "Life Is Black" is a great, emotional instrumental!
Also definitively worth mentioning is "Traumatised", because here we get the most probably biggest surprise of the album. Musically more at home in Thrash than in Power Metal we suddenly get Death Metal vocals, which let you stare at your stereo in disbelief. Only in the chorus we get the melodic vocals again, in this mix reminds me a bit of Swedish AUBERON.
DUNGEON won't win any prizes for originality, but if it comes down to good and tight Power Metal, which does not sound cloned, then they can score a few points. If you do not need Happy Metal, then I would advise you to check out "A Rise In Power", you should not be disappointed! (Online September 5, 2003)