I Made My Own Hell
1/14/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
Vhaldemar - I Made My Own Hell 2003 Arise Records - reviewed by: EC
I really like what Arise Records is doing these days, putting out great albums from bands such as Axenstar, Steel Attack, and now the sophomore sensation from up and comers Vhaldemar. "I Made My Own Hell" is an album sure to please die-hard traditional metal fans. Think of Helloween, Running Wild, and Powergod all rolled into one nice, crashing combo sure to devestate metal ears everywhere. I love the European style, and this band displays an awesome ability to play fast, galloping power metal at light speed. Vocalist Carlos Escudaro is a dead-ringer for X-Wild frontman Frank Knight, in fact I even had to check the bio sheet to make sure this isn't Mr. Knight (I still think it might be!). Escudaro's rough and ready vocal power is reminiscent of Accept's UDO also, laying down a fine vocal performance here with plenty of "gang" chants to rally the troops while also playing the second guitar here.
Opening title track "I Made My Own Hell" is a real Teutonic ripper, galloping along at break neck speed in full Running Wild mode, while Escudaro sounds the battle cry with his aggressive pipes. "Breakin' All The Rules" is German metal at its best, sounding like a mid-80's Accept caught in time. The chorus provides a bit of epic greatness, piecing together Edguy meets Paragon in a metal puzzle that seems to fit together nicely here. Twin guitar from Escudaro and axe maniac Pedro Monge adds dripping melody that really grasps the listener on every tune. Instrumental pieces always lose me, but I really enjoy the band's work on "Mystery", "Moonlight", and "March Of Dooms". The band doesn't just stop at power metal, adding a bit of thrash to blazers like "Steam Roller" and "House Of War". My favorite cut here is the epic "Dreamer", which adds some nice neo-classical shred with precise tight drumming from Edu Martinez. The chorus in "Dreamer" just won't leave your ears and demands to be played on repeat.
This is just a real metal treasure, with this Spanish act taking it over the top and delivering the goods in what has become a rather boring market for the most part. With power metal reaching its limit, it is so good to see bands like Vhaldemar just taking the basics and running with it, making a great stew even more appetizing by using quality ingredients and a great blend. This is much better than the band's debut in my opinion and I can see Vhaldemar and fellow label mates Steel Attack doing tremendous things for this genre.
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