Epic Fantasy Metal: so reads the sticker upon the frontcover of the album. 'Uh, the guy is obviously trying his best to create a brand new subgenre', I said to myself as I saw it.
Well, definition issues aside, I think the first thing you have to know about this record is that Luca Turilli is the guitar-player of the well known Italian Power Metal-band RHAPSODY (though they labelled it as Hollywood Metal, just to take that definition craziness to the higher level of bafflement). This basically is the first part of the 'Virtual Odyssey Saga', a Turilli solo-project which is scheduled to be a sort of huge musical concept portioned in three albums. Hence, as you probably already got, this record is Symphonic Power Metal to the core, so if you can't stand that sub-genre, you can stop reading right now.
I'm not a great Power Metal-fan, but that really doesn't matter at all, the album being entirely noteworthy.
Turilli is an excellent guitarist indeed, and all of the songs on here are among the finest you can find for this musical style. For this record, the Italian fellow joined forces with skilled musicians as well. Olaf Hayer is an ideal Power Metal-singer: he can sing really high without losing power nor anger in his voice, Sascha Paeth and Miro are two guys who don't need any introduction at all, and Robert Rizzo is a precise drummer. Moreover, due to the large amount of orchestrations per song, we have a lot of guest classical musicians backing the band (and doing a very good job, if you ask to me).
The songs run the whole gamut from regular Power Metal-double-bass-driven speedy tunes to mellower, sweet moments, just adding a bit more of classical musical interludes and violin inserts than we're accustomed to for the sub-genre. The choruses are generally very melodic and haunting, definitely winning the 'singin' along factor' out. Someone can argue the toss about them being too much poppy at times, but they all are well crafted, so why bother to such an extent?
If you usually go bananas for this brand of Metal, "King Of The Nordic Twilight" is an essential addition to your CD-collection, 'cos the record effortlessly shreds dozens of currently marketed Symphonic Metal-albums.
By the way, my major complain is that it sounds way too similar to Turilli's mother band (and the standard Paeth-Miro production tends to emphasize that resemblance); in my opinion sometimes this even rips RHAPSODY off. This aspect alone reduced a lot my esteem towards the album. I mean: do we need a sort of RHAPSODY clone-band, when we already can listen to the original?
If your answer to the aforementioned question is by any chance 'Hell, yes! I never get tired of such records!', well this has your name labelled on it. Other way, I'd suggest to get RHAPSODY before.