Twilight Force
Dawn of the Dragonstar

2019 is turning out to be a banner year for Power Metal- all the heavy hitters like Sabaton, Gloryhammer, Battle Beast, Beast in Black and two Rhapsody related projects have all dropped excellent albums, and next week, genre grand fathers Hammerfall release a new album, and  then later this year Dwarven warriors Wind Rose drop Wintersaga, and if  “Diggy Diggy Hole” is anything to go by, it will be excellent also. And I’m sure there are some lesser known ones Ive missed. But for me personally, the best of the bunch is the third album from Sweden’s aggressively cheesy, LARPing symphonic metalers Twilight Force.

And listen, I fully acknowledge how divisive this kind of cheesy metal is, but it’s soooooo  wonderfully, epically, dragon-fucking-ly perfectly done, it just makes me grin. As I stated in my review of the band’s second album, Heroes of Mighty Magic, this is utterly over the top stuff that makes Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire look fucking basic, so if that gets you all upset, just steer clear of this.

The Rhapsody of Fire comparison is solid though, just with somehow even more added synths and even more choirs. And with former Luca Turrili’s Rhapsody vocalist Alessandro Conti (though clearly eons older than his new band members, is here in full costume with the rest of the band as ‘Allyon’) replacing Chrileon, the comparison is even more valid. And while everything else in the cheese factor has been upped, Conti actually lessens it , as he is a little more restrained and less …..’sparkly’ than his predecessor.

But by Gandalf’s swinging hairy grey balls, is this epic,  glorious, uplifting, soaring, galloping, bombastic stuff. Having a bad day? Just press play and let the opening title track whisk you away to the Twilight Kingdoms as the Twilight Force‘s mightiest members Lynd (lead guitars) and Blackwald (synths) battle Dragon kings and other such Dungeons and Dragons, High Elven fuckery. Then stay as “Thundersword” further drags you into the realms of High Fantasy, with a glorious main synth line that could be a John Williams theme ( and a completely out of nowhere fiddle/banjo break). Then frankly, if my personnel favorite and arguably my favorite power metal song of the year, the stupidly bouncy “Long Live the King” does not get you happy, then just kill yourself.

Admittedly after the bombastic “The Light of a Thousand Suns” the album then takes a bit of a turn towards more shimmery, softer, hues with shimmery “Words of Wisdom” and “Queen of Eternity”, though neither enter into full on ballad (surprisingly there is no ballad at all on the album, and it could have used one to break up the almost non stop , double bass bombastics) and both still fun, they are a the equivalent to a movie’s quieter second act. But shredding Dragonforce-ish “Valley of the Vale”, regal, marching “Hydra” and “Night of Winterlight” get things back on track with more high octane silliness

Where Heroes of Mighty Magic had two 10 minute epics (“There and Back Again” , “Heroes of Mighty Magic”), this album has just one long track, the 13 minute closer “Blade of Immortal Steel”, where Twilight Force update their Dungeon Master’s manual with some Far Eastern influence character sets  akin to Whispered or Stormtide, and it works, breaking up the bombastic repetition a little, with some catchy , serpentine noodling and Far Eastern shredding. It ends the album with fitting , story telling closure, though a little long.

These guys have rolled another 20 with their +5 sword of epic cheese in their short history, and it looks like I’m going to have to put my planned power metal band, ‘Dragonsex’ on hold to let these guys take the spotlight in a little longer…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 5th, 2019

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