Does Alestorm need some serious competition? They sure do. Bowes’ beer-crazed sailors overstayed their welcome somewhat lately, together with his other incarnations. But that’s only the first part of the equation. The second is yet another question. Do we truly need a Helloween soundalike to hit our shores? Perhaps we do. After all, Trick or Treat here started out as a tribute band of the latter, we’re told. Cheeseballs galore, watch out for squalls.
Power Metal seems to be on the rise again. And a lot of that is washing up on our shores from Italy these days. Now this time, the RMR crew found itself a band that will address serious contemporary issues with a lighter touch. So, Creepy Symphonies will feed you the tough stuff without scaring your socks off. Right?
But – this just won’t fit the cover art with its skeleton-infested, ghost-ridden orchestra of questionable characters. Straight from that ocean/swamp/graveyard thing. Delivered to you directly by the bringer of light, it appears. We’re so confused.
Because you see, the record sports an upbeat and fresh set of tracks. No sign of horror clowns and damsels in danger of a gruesome bloodletting. And indeed, matters set themselves straight once Creepy Symphonies – the title track – roars off into its murky yonder. By Jove, this track already is the archetype of a trve Power Metal song. Speedy, soaring vocals, catchy riffs, and choruses, it’s all there.
Now, we can debate if ‘first track, best track’ really is that strategy today’s modern Power Metal outfits should follow. But with Trick or Treat this thing just works. In other words, the record gorges with typical PM fare, and we could namedrop the piece until judgment day.1) But it is the authenticity, the serious attention to detail, this ironclad commitment to delivering stellar Power Metal that really sold us. And let’s face it, the band doesn’t include any of those overly sugary garbage deliveries other bands favor. Nor do they lean into that glam thing. But let’s not forget that exactly this close proximity to the PM mainstream may not necessarily work in the band’s favor.
All of that majestically sails into action on a shiny production that won’t let you lose any detail the band deemed necessary to throw in for good measure. Alle Conti‘s soaring vocals often took our breath away. Even if they sometimes do come pretty close to well-known names out there. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. The intricate contribution of the guitars with their proficient riffing and often somewhat Heavy Metal-esque solos always – and I mean always – come in straight on point. A reef many other bands in this multiverse often shipwreck on.
Yet again, all of the above also made us forgive them those attacks from the fondue pot that (often) occur on Creepy Symphonies. April‘s just waving at us, and I wonder why that is. It is after all one of the job hazards any Power Metal band faces and they navigated around that particular cliff beautifully. To the point that not even the 12-minute epic The Power of Grayskull could extinguish that animal magnetism we felt from that record.
Ultimately though, Creepy Symphonies is living proof that a band can still pull off a truly tasty Power Metal record in an oversaturated genre. And they did this with true dedication, delicate and infectious humor, and remarkably patient attention to the myriad of puzzle pieces that make up a good record. So, is this living proof of the “…happy metal manifesto…” the band proclaimed so fervently? Quite so. And this made us forever return to the record, to the point that we almost forgot to write the review. The Alestorms of this metal world better pay attention. There’s a new player out there, and they mean business.