F U L L . R E V I E W S

Journey of Souls

Company: Perris Records
Release: 2008
Reviewer: Brad Caplan
Genre: Power

  • They show some real potential, but need to continue to develop their style.

  • Space Power-Pop-Metal from Norway...

    If you are still reading then you must at least have a passing interest in bands such as Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and other European symphonic/power metal bands. I was not aware of Keldian when I was asked to review their new album "Journey of Souls". This is actually their second release in less than 2 years - their debut cd is titled "Heaven's Gate". I am not sure "band" is the correct term in this case - a better word would be project or joint venture. Keldian is two Norwegians (Christer Andresen and Arild Aardalen) who got together to make their version of metal. They have a host of guest vocalists, strings players and drummers. One guest of note is their friend Jorn (Holen) who stepped in to provide the backbone for the new music. Jorn is well known as the drummer for Norwegian black metallers Windir and Vreid. (I prefer Dimmu Borgir, but that is a story for another day). I don't know how many people are familiar with bands/projects such as Avantasia or Ayreon, but all these guest musicians remind me of one of those types of projects (and I like those bands so I was eager to dig into this cd).

    Enough about the band - what about the music? The first track "The Last Frontier" jumps right out of the gates and sounds like Euro-Power Metal all the way. I thought it sounded just like Pagan's Minds or Sonata Arctica almost immediately. Soaring clean vocals combined with some double base and strong keyboards - nothing new, but a good opener to the album.

    Some 80's influences really start to come through in the 2nd track "Lords of Polaris". I was a bit surprised that the album took such a quick detour. This song sounds more like an Asia tune than power metal. This one let's you know that this album might be more than your first impressions would indicate. I found this song to be a bit dated in its sound, but still quite interesting. There was even a bit of a "new age" feel to it. I know this sounds strange, but it's really difficult to put a label on this style.

    "Reaper" features keyboards that are almost reminiscent of the 80's band Survivor. There are a ton of 80's sounds on this album, but mixed with a heavier sound and some double bass beats. When Christer sings in his lower and mid registers he does sound like John Payne who sang on a few Asia albums after John Wetton departed. Again, this third track is not power metal, this is 80's influenced pop rock music. Very catchy, but not as much substance as I would like. Even the guitar solo is very "studio musician" clean - not something you would hear blasting from stage at a metal show. "Ghost of Icarus" takes us right back into power metal universe. I like both styles of music on this album, and it is unusual to hear such musical diversity from a band on one album.

    The sound and production quality on this album are very good. I read that Arild is also a sound engineer so that might account for the good sound. My only complaint would be that it all sounds just a little too neat and too perfect, but with all the technology available today to producers and engineers I guess it's hard to let any of the live sound come through. On the other hand, I doubt that this band has played very many live shows and thus have not really cultivated a "live" sound.

    Another track worth mentioning is "Vinland" which features some female vocals. There are few women with vocal credits so I am not sure who is singing on this track. This is very unusual song - part power metal and part merry go round. You'll know what I mean if you hear the unusual keyboard sections.

    The lyrical content of this album seems to be a mix of "man's place in the universe" combined with a spiritual journey. These lines are representative of the style of writing that you will find: "forever in this life, we sail the sea of stars we ride the winds of light, across the cosmic night." Pretty deep stuff, but it fits the music quite well and is a nice break from songs of love, war or politics that we are exposed to so frequently.

    I am always interested to hear real musicians trying to forge a new style or at least their style of metal. If you are a power metal fan and looking for something new and different - then Keldian might be the ticket. Bottom line - these guys are really just getting started. They show some real potential, but need to continue to develop their style. It will be interesting to see where they go.

    Band Members featured on JOURNEY OF SOULS:
    Christer Andresen- Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass
    Arild Aardalen- Keyboards, Additional Vocals
    Anette Fodnes- Vocals
    Anne Marit Bergheim- Vocals, Mandolin
    Asle Tronrud- Harding Fiddle
    Gjermund Elgenes- Vocals
    Gunhild Mathea Olaussen- Violin
    H-Man- Drums
    Jorn Holen- Drums
    Maja Svisdahl- Vocals
    Per Hillestad- Drums

    About this Writer:
    Brad Caplan // Brad Caplan lives in Charlotte, NC after spending many years in Dallas, TX (originally from Pittsburgh, PA). Brad has spent most of his life accumulating albums, seeing live shows and talking about music to anyone who would listen. He played trumpet for 10 years and has become very proficent at air guitar. Brad has written album reviews and year end lists for MaximumMetal.com and his social network.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

    Journey Of SoulsKeldian
    Brad Caplan7/11/2008
    Journey Of SoulsKeldian
    Raising Iron7/11/2008


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