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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Антиллия (Antilla) - Древние силы (Ancient Forces)

Artist: Антиллия (Antilla)
Release Title: Древние силы (Ancient Forces)
Year: 2015
Label: Self-Released/Independant
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
1. Последний звездопад (Last Starfall)
2. Тайна (Mystery)
3. Рассвет (Sunrise)
4. Штурм (The Assault)
5. Смертный бой (Mortal Fight)
6. Свечи (Candles)
7. Древние силы (Ancient Forces)
8. Шаман (The Shaman)
9. Одиночество (Loneliness)
10. На краю света (At World's End)
11. Пленённый бессмертием (Captivated By The Immortality)
12. Антиллия (Antillia)
13. Вселенная (Universe)
14. Эпилог (Epilogue)

The debut full-length from Russian symphonic power metallers Антиллия (Antilla) offers a nice, well-rounded display of styles that certainly makes them seem poised to become the leader of the movement. From the outset this release tends to favor far more modern styles of the genre where the expressive keyboards adopt more of a cinematic style that lends itself to feel at home scoring an epic fantasy battle sequence with the overall style on display. It’s bombastic, majestic and grandiose sweeping arrangements give this a rather heavy tone here where it tends to recreate the dramatic energy and emotional resonance alongside the generally explosive power metal riff-work where this one manages to utilize all the prototypical patterns where it tends to either spend the majority of the time either featuring those impeccable speed-metal riffing styles that allow this to fly along at dynamic, up-tempo speeds or the crushing mid-tempo chugging variant that leaves this rather dynamic style quite nicely alongside the rest of the riff-work on display. Even getting the kind of dueling vocal patterns featured here where there’s plenty of grandiose fun to come from the operatic leads from both the male and female vocalists this leaves the album with plenty to like overall. Though this is the case, it does seem to stumble from minor flaws in the sense of basically feeling bloated with too many songs here that it can feel like a struggle to get to the finishing line at times. Getting there based on the fact that there’s several tracks on the later half that goes for the same overall mid-paced plodding without changing up the tempo or playing order leaves with a rather familiar air as it makes it’s way throughout here where it really does get to the point of feeling overdone without much reason to. The ambition on a debut does get them a free pass here, but the quantity could’ve been scaled back slightly to great effect here.

The first half here gives a solid impression of what to expect here. Opener ‘Последний звездопад (Last Starfall)’ takes a grandiose intro turning into a series of sweeping keyboards and charging riff-work blazing with dynamic drumming and operatic vocal choirs over the pummeling, chugging chords taking the majestic, grandiose rhythms thumping along into the solo section sweeping along to raging final half for an utterly spectacular opening impression. ‘Тайна (Mystery)’ uses a moody acoustic intro and melancholy riffing leaving a haunting feel that settles nicely into a chugging mid-tempo feel with majestic keyboards over the rumbling rhythms keeping the steady pace in check through the series of romantic leads carrying along into the solo section and into the finale for another fine effort. Brief interlude ‘Рассвет (Sunrise)’ offers cinematic clanging drumming that sets the stage for ‘Штурм (The Assault)’ that  takes rousing drumming and grandiose thrashing rhythms full of bombastic driving keyboards keeping the energetic riff-work tightly wound to the raging drumming and pounding rhythms chugging along to the up-tempo paces into the solo section and leading through the light acoustic-driven final half for another solid effort. ‘Смертный бой (Mortal Fight)’ takes a steady series of bombastic rhythms and grandiose keyboards that swell into a stylish swirling pace with the chugging riffing staying along with the thumping drumming and majestic, operatic keyboards charging along into the mid-paced finale for a strong, powerful effort. ‘Свечи (Candles)’ features a steady chugging intro with plenty of swirling keyboards over the plodding mid-tempo operatic rhythms sweeping through the majestic keyboards and flowing alongside the pounding drumming with the grandiose keyboards keeping the plodding majestic paces in check through the final half for an enjoyable enough effort. Another brief interlude
‘Древние силы (Ancient Forces)’ simply features bombastic choirs and pounding cinematic drumming throughout.

The second half does come up a little short but still has some quality within it. ‘Шаман (The Shaman)’ utilizes scorching riffing and bombastic drumming driving along to a furious up-tempo pace with the driving rhythms holding the scorching cinematic melodies through the charging atmosphere with the utterly blistering drumming carrying the urgent rhythms along into the blazing solo section and keeping the raging leads through the finale for another spectacular highlight offering. The ballad ‘Одиночество (Loneliness)’ features impassioned, romantic piano lilting over light, melodic riffing as the romantic vocal trade-offs hold the simple, breezy patterns into the lighter piano-driven pattern through the final half for a decent enough if utterly skippable track. ‘На краю света (At World's End)’ brings it back to the blistering drumming and grandiose keyboards raging through the churning mid-tempo rhythms against the operatic vocals and the barreling drumming making for the symphonic battles against the thumping chug-laced riffing into the sol section and continuing into the blistering finale for another strong highlight. ‘Пленённый бессмертием (Captivated By The Immortality)’ features strong dexterous keyboards swirling along through the cinematic rhythms as the keyboards drop into a strong chugging riff-work with pounding drumming carrying through the majestic patterns of the steady final half for an enjoyable effort. ‘Антиллия (Antillia)’ uses rolling drumming and bombastic keyboards into a stellar mid-tempo pace full of thumping rhythms with the plodding riff-work carrying through the bombastic keyboards with plenty of strong majestic keyboards holding through the solo section and into the finale for an enjoyable enough effort. ‘Вселенная (Universe)’ uses the extended sampled intro to lead into plodding, rhythmic drumming and steady, mid-tempo chugging riffing that holds the bombastic symphonic vocals soaring operatically over the steady build back into dramatic mid-tempo rhythms and pounding drumming that carries on through the final half for a stylish effort overall. Finally, album-closer ‘Эпилог (Epilogue)’ takes the bombastic and swirling cinematic rhythms along throughout for an enjoyable finishing touch to make for a solid lasting impression.

Offering up enough enjoyable elements to really make an impression despite a few missteps here and there, overall it ends leaving this one as a rather enjoyable and somewhat notable act to follow for fans of this bombastic, cinematic style of power metal or just undiscerning power metal fans in general.

Score: 88/100

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