The already sixth album of the sacred dragons from Kazakhstan is rotating here with “Sumerki Bogov“ (“Twilight Of The Gods“), I would never have thought that for one there was Power Metal there and for the other that they already have that many full albums! HOLY DRAGONS were founded in 1997 by the two guitarists Jurgen Thunderson and Chris Caine (long live pseudonyms…) and in 1998 followed the first demo “Knights Of Camelot”, followed suit right after by “Dragon Steel”, the first album.
Sound wise the Kazakhs stand ankle deep in the sound of the Eighties, in a mix of German Power Metal, IRON MAIDEN and a shot of Russian steel, not least thanks to the Russian vocals by Holger Komaroff. The guys nicely master the split between tradition and a slightly more modern production, so that they do not sound outdated, despite the strong influences from that time.
The opener “Krov Elfov“ („Elves’ Blood“, EPIDEMIA already had a title of this track, seems to be in somehow…) starts with a few acoustic guitars, before switching into very guitary Power Metal, with the six strings having received a slightly rawer sound, which gives the whole thing a quite interesting and also quite heavy touch. Komaroff’s voice also has a grittier edge, which has character, the song itself is heavy, melodic and catchy, as you would expect from this style.
“Zheleznyi Orel“ (“Steel Eagle“) sets out high paced, with a dominant bass, reminds me a bit of IRON MAIDEN meets ARIA and in this case this is a compliment, the bass in general is on high demand here, which gives the sound some welcome power, while on “Tampliyer“ HOLY DRAGONS show that they also can take out the tempo, at least at the beginning (where the vocal limits of Holger Komaroff unfortunately are showcased as well and also a bit later on in the song he tries to reach too far), after that they step on the pedal again, fully in the style of the Eighties.
As already mentioned, I would not have expected such a mercilessly European sounding and Eighties like album from Kazakhstan and this experience shows. Still, “Sumerki Bogov” has not turned out to be an absolute high flyer, vocally and at times also compository they reach their limits, while the latter is not as bad as it may read now, because the Kazakhs have a good hand for gripping melodies, well smithed guitars and a good drive.
For fans of Russian Metal and Power/Heavy Metal of the Eighties in general a check out of HOLY DRAGONS could reap some harvest.
Available at www.metal-cd.ru! (Online July 6, 2004)