One year after “Reginae Mysterium” Slovakian ORKRIST are back and the said debut already had been to my liking, one year has passed, time enough for the band to develop, to weed out the weaknesses of the debut and further the strengths.
If you look at the lyrics, it becomes pretty clear that the quartet feels attracted to the texts of J.R.R. Tolkien, songs 3-9 even are put together as “The Middle-Earth Themes“, so pretty obvious, hehe. The band has shrunk by one member and who already had to fight with the keyboards of the debut, will also have his problems with “Grond”, as main song writer Crom also is the keyboarder of the band.
The past of the band I already had spotlighted in my other review, therefore I won’t waste any time with this and go right into the second album of this Slovakian band. The basic direction has not really changed, ORKRIST still are very symphonic and majestic and also bring in medieval influences. Vocally we again get the “Beauty and the Beast” vocals, while Crom’s vocals indeed do sound meaner than with most dual-vocalled Gothic Metal bands.
The intro “For Lordaeron“ again has soundtrack qualities, “When The Autumn Comes” then mostly brings us the very good female vocals of Lydia, together with the Heavy Metal riffing including good leads and melodies of the first album, keyboards and flutes and only towards the end some more harshness, at times with a certain touch of early EDENBRIDGE in the keyboard arrangements, good start for sure.
Then comes the already mentioned Tolkien block, consisting of atmospheric keyboard instrumentals and full songs that are more than adequate: “Glamdring“, “Angmareddon“ and “Grond“ are very powerful, where especially the increased double bass comes into effect, while with “Dreams Of Life Beyond My Shire Beloved“ we get a truly outstanding track, which holds a great balance between atmospheric and heavy parts, very good melodies and vocal lines, strong, really strong! A curb that “Shadowlord” also hits into, also with a comparable quality.
So an evolution compared to “Reginae Mysterium” is obvious and even though not all that glitters is gold yet, they show a grown maturity in song writing and the production and visual side as well can more than convince, I also like the second part of the Slovakian saga and am already looking forward to part three. (Online May 4, 2004)