Aldaria – Land of Light is a metal-opera created by Frode Hovd from Norway. Frode has a history as a guitar-player in the band MEMORIZED DREAMS, and he is the writer and producer of the entire album.
First of all, I’m really impressed by Frode. He has had a dream and he has actually fulfilled it! I honestly don’t understand how he has managed to create and finish this project, and at the same time being able to get this amazing crowd of musicians and singers!
As I said, I’m really impressed. This relative unknown metal-guitarist, that in all fairness isn’t that known in the metal-circus , gets this idea of create a metal-opera and he manages to enrol people like Roland Grapow (ex Helloween, Masterplan etc) to mix the album –which is huge! And I can keep on name-dropping, but I’ll settle with Uli Kusch (ex Helloween, Masterplan etc) and Mike LePond (Symphony X).
I’ve had the privilege to follow Frode as a friend on Facebook this last year, since he contacted us on CRANNK, and I really think that it has been an awesome ride! I’m very happy for his sake, and I really understand how much he has worked on this project, to get it all together time and money-wise.
What about the music? What is Aldaria and is it any good?
Well, the story is about the Lightbringers – the guardians of the light – who are destined to keep the peace and order in Aldaria. Aldaria, a place and dimension between Heaven & Hell where the fallen are reborn as angels, and where the sinners come to be redeemed or forever banished to Hell.
The scrolls tell about a portal to Aldaria, hidden in a hallway below what once was the ancient city of Babylon, where the Lightbringers – the hooded bringers of peace and light – will transcend into the Land of Light.
Now the time has come, where the Lightbringers are called upon for the first time since the beginning of time. Will this be the fall of all mankind, in eternal darkness, or will the light prevail?
This is how you and me want a metal-opera to work! It’s grand, it’s bombastic. It’s very… German… I haven’t asked Frode about this, but I would like to say that he has listened a lot to Avantasia, early Edguy and early Helloween, and combined it all to a great mix.
It’s almost that I would like to cry out “FINALLY!” Finally, someone that take the heritage of The Keeper of The Seven Keys. You have the melodies, but still its heavy. And given the fact that I can find some growling and almost black-metal voices on some of the songs… to me that’s a new dimension that I really love. Over all there is some amazing vocals on the album.
Again, fans of early Helloween, Edguy and Avantasia will really love this album (I know I do!). It’s a fantastic power-metal album. And if you here a “but” coming, well you’re right. As much as I like the album, I have two “buts”…
The first one is the ballads! WHY?? I know it comes with the genre, but I never liked the ballads. To me it disrupts the rhythm of the album. And second, I don’t like ballads, I like the full steam kind of music. Although, ballad number one is fairly OK….
The second “but” is, that sometimes it can be a bit too much Helloween. It’s all too clear in the title song of the album; “Land Of Light”. Don’t get me wrong here. I think that this is the best song of the album! I’ve always been a sucker for songs that are longer than 10 minutes… And when they sound like the song “The Keeper Of The Seven Keys”, it’s truly amazing! But I do get a bit disturbed about the fact that the chorus is very similar to the song “The Keeper Of The Seven Keys”.
But that’s petty stuff. The fact is that this is a great fucking album, and I hope that the rest of the world will find it! I feel like that Frode has re-discovered that good ol’ Happy Metal, introduced by Helloween, and mixed it up with a bit and then created a really good version of his own. This is a metal-opera and you always have that thread throughout the album. You know, when you hear a really good concept-album, and you can’t pin-point a single song… You have to hear the entire album.
To sum it up, this a killer power-metal album, and you should really buy it! The album will be released the 24th of March on Pride & Joy Music
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