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Battle of Leningrad
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Détails sur le produit
Descriptions du produit
Ring Of Fire fut le titre du premier album solo de Mark Boals, il devint par la suite au début des années 2000 le nom de son projet néo-classique qui compte à l'heure actuelle trois albums et un DVD live. Mark Boals donc, leader et chanteur de ce combo, officia par le passé aux côtés de Yngwie Malmsteen (période « Trilogy », puis « Alchemy ») et de Ted Nugent. On retrouve ces influences dans ce nouvel opus qui cible les fans d'Yngwie Malmsteen mais aussi et plus généralement de hard rock virtuose mâtiné de néo-classique/shred. Il s'agit d'une musique assez complexe où tous les musiciens ont leur mot à dire. Ce sont d'ailleurs eux la force de cet album, ils composent un vrai All-Star-Band composé de talents venant d'horizons variés, au potentiel explosif. Après un hiatus de neuf années pendant lesquelles ils ont collaboré avec Royal Hunt, Trans Siberian Orchestra et Steve Vai, ils reviennent gonflés à bloc avec un projet dont le thème principal est la résilience et résistance héroïques du peuple russe lors du siège allemand de Leningrad pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Ring Of Fire rallume la flamme pour tous les amateurs de power métal néo-classique !
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Evidemment, Mark Boals n'est pas le seul membre de ce groupe et il serait injuste de ne pas rappeler qu'officient à ses côtés quelques virtuoses répondant aux noms de Tony MacAlpine (guitare) et Vitalij Kuprij (claviers). Le batteur Virgil Donati n'est pas revenu à son poste, c'est donc Jami Juovinen (Sentiment) qui le remplace. A la basse, un nouveau venu aussi : Timo Tolkki (Avalon, ex-Stratovarius). Oui oui, lui-même.Lire la suite ›
Un très bon album à découvrir et à écouter en boucle
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Battle of Leningrad is a concept album focusing – you guessed it – on the famous siege of Leningrad during World War II. If that sounds more like a Sabaton album than something Boals and company would take on, rest assured this is very much a Ring of Fire album. It has that neoclassical, Malmsteen-inspired foundation, and in keeping with their previous release (2004’s Lapse of Reality) there’s a more progressive, Symphony X sound on Battle of Leningrad.
It should come as absolutely zero surprise that the musicianship on display here is top notch. The guitar work alone is worth the price of admission. And Boals continues to impress. If anything, he’s getting better and better with each new album. On the songwriting side, the band does a good job balancing technicality with accessibility, and while the whole concept is effective in tying the songs together, you can still get into individual songs.
It’s good to have Ring of Fire back and making high quality progressive/power metal albums. If you’re a fan of the genre – anything from Threshold to Sonata Arctica to Stratovarius to Royal Hunt to Symphony X – Battle of Leningrad is an album that’s well worth checking out.
Disclosure - I was given an MP3 copy of this album by the label for review.
The style of music explored by this band can, broadly, be described as neo-classical metal. Not all that surprising, seeing that one of the star guitar players of that style of music is a member of the band, and with Boals background as a vocalist for Yngwie Malmsteen this isn't exactly unfamiliar territories for him either. With keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij also a member, his background as a member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra also makes this a natural and logical choice. What might be more of a surprise is that the band have opted for more of a power metal or speed metal intensity and pace, with just as many pointers to those types of metal as they have to neo-classical.
Some of the characteristic peculiarities of this specific album may also be slightly challenging to adjust to. The keyboard arrangements tends to dominate, with richly layered tapestries of various keyboards and liberal use of wandering piano motifs defining traits of this entire album, with plenty of atmospheric laden opening passages, gentler interludes and similar kinds of intermissions highlighting the use and role of the keyboards, and more often than not in a manner with direct references to classical music origin or inspiration at that.
MacAlpine's guitar sound is fairly thin, firm and dry throughout, both when soloing and when providing tight, energetic riff support to the keyboards. Occasionally a richer, more vibrant guitar sound will be used, but overall the guitar sound comes across as less intense and not as powerful as one would expect on a metal album. Something that does give an emphasis on the technical aspects of MacAlpine's performance obviously, and does highlight nicely and distinctly the neo-classical aspects of his delivery whenever he shifts into such runs, and especially for the guitar solo runs this is a sound that suits the playing rather well.
With Boals powerful, melodic lead vocals on top and a solid rhythm section courtesy of Timo Tolkki and Jami Huovinen everything should be set for a blazing fireworks of an album. But rather than delivering on that expectation, I experienced this production as one that lost it's way following a promising start, for a number of reasons.
The compositions themselves, a few notable exceptions aside, comes across as not all that well developed. Especially the more intense, neoclassical creations comes across as fairly chaotic, as I experienced them switching back and forth between arrangements, themes and levels of intensity in an abrupt that wasn't always all that logical, and fairly often disrupting both flow and momentum. The main exceptions to this were songs not all that interesting to begin with too, with ballads and power ballads as the key words to describe why that is the case. But some highlights still appeared: The dramatic, epic opener Mother Russia, the tight and vibrant second track They're Calling Your Name, the more epic oriented title track Battle of Leningrad and the more Yngwie Malmsteen tinged No Way Out are the songs that works best overall, and are clear album highlights.
A further aspect of this album that had a detrimental effect is mix and production. Besides the guitar sound, which may or may not have been a planned effect, the general production comes across as fairly closed in, some of the sounds will actually have slight breaks in them too, and I generally get the impression that this album wasn't given all that much attention in the mix and production department. My impression is that this album was rushed, at least to some extent in terms of developing the compositions and most of all when the finishing touches were applied.
The end result is an album that for me comes across as uneven, and a much lesser creation than what it might have been. The best material is rather good, but there are some cuts there that due to structural and development details both comes across as lesser creations, and those are given emphasis by a mix and production that isn't of the quality expected in this day and age. Still, if you have a soft touch for bands that blend neo-classical metal with speed or power metal this is a production recorded by excellent musicians, and that does contain compositions that are worthwhile. But those who doesn't have a keen interest in this particular type of music should probably approach this album with a bit of caution.
My rating: 64/100