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On disc: Power Quest

Blood Alliance - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

Blood Alliance

Blood Alliance
(Napalm Records - 2011)

Back in 2009 I witnessed the final show of the then Power Quest line-up, an emotional parting of ways at Metalfest Dudley. Since then Steve Williams, the heart of all that is Power Quest, has spent his time putting together a new lineup and recording this, the band's fifth full-length album. This time Williams has been joined by an UK based lineup which will hopefully make things a little smoother with regards to touring.

Power Quest play an extremely melodic brand of Euro power metal similar to early Sonata Arctica or the sadly defunct Dreamtale. The music is very keyboard-centric and the band's lyrics are what many would describe as cheesy; pure fantasy inspired, bombastic and typically power metal. With the new album the band seem to have taken on a slightly more gritty sound comparable to Iron Mask. It is still unashamedly Power Quest, but Power Quest with an edge.

Sri Lankan singer Chitral Somapala, whom many will recognize primarily from his work with Firewind on the belting Forged By Fire album, is the new Power Quest frontman and delivers a characteristically powerful performance (I know he has taken some flak for his vocals but based on what I've heard I can only surmise that the criticizers have had rocks in their head in place of brains). The deeper register of Somapala, akin to Piet Sielck (Savage Circus, Iron Savior) or Klaus Meine (Scorpions), is a marked improvement for Power Quest in my opinion, particularly with this grittier sound. I did enjoy previous Power Quest albums but I always felt Alessia Garavello's vocals to be rather hit or miss, unlike Somapala who hits the spot on every song. I don't mean to be too critical of Garavello as he is a talented singer but I just didn't take to his voice that well.

The overall sound of Power Quest remains true to the original formula of melodic power metal with a healthy dose of 80's bombast (the Van Halen-esque Only In My Dreams, Crunching the Numbers Better Days, for example). Steve William's magic fingers cast some blinding synth-spells throughout the album whilst the guitars have the characteristic chugging power metal style. However, as seems to be the case with everything on this album, the guitars are a bit meatier than on previous albums and give Power Quest a fuller sound that just wasn't present before.

Williams and co have returned with a blinder here. Blood Alliance is easily the best Power Quest album date and I really cannot wait to see this new lineup live. Power metal fans, you need this album!

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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