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Gloryful - 'Ocean Blade'

posted 26 Jun 2014, 12:55 by Paul Woodward

(Massacre Records)

Review By Woody

Ocean Blade is the second album from German power metal outfit Gloryful. Much like the debut and the EP before it Ocean Blade is a concept album which follows on directly from its predecessors storylines. This time the music takes to the high seas and adds a little nautical theme and sounds to the style of the music. I’m not overly fond of concept albums but I know many power metal fans crave these epic mythical storytelling opuses. It’s plain to see the songwriters have a detailed narrative which is their basis of their songs and they keep to it which should please fans of this style of storytelling.

I struggled with Ocean Blade from the first full playback even though it does have elements that appeal to me and usually with concept albums I’ll cherry pick songs which can be enjoyed individually but no songs really stuck out for me here. It doesn’t excite me and the lack of accessible choruses makes the songs unremarkable to me, it really could do with a few more hooks to draw me in too. Another down side for me is I’m not a big fan of vocalist Johnny La Bomba’s voice he moves from gruff to high pitched and mixes it up a lot and showcases his obvious influences like Rob Halford, but I’m just not won over by his voice.

The main redeeming feature to their music for me was Basten and Papotto’s melodic guitar licks, these guys can definitely shred and when their little melodic licks, solo’s and riffs make an appearance that’s when I became interested, some of this stuff is straight out of the Iron Maiden guide to riffology. That said these distinguishing moments don’t happen enough to save most the songs and although I love their heavy use of folk edged touches that give it that nautical flavour I think some people could be put off by it, unless of course you’re a fan of Pirate Metal! Arrrhhh me hearties!

The song that sticks out for me is actually one that doesn’t represent the album as a whole which is obviously not a good sign on my thoughts on the album. It’s the acoustic ballad ‘Black Legacy’ which has its nautical folk hat on and one of those swaying gang choruses akin to pirate classic’s like ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum’ - seriously I’m not kidding!

Although Ocean Blade doesn’t rock my boat (did I just make a funny?) I’m sure there is enough here to keep power metal fans entertained – especially those who love concept and storytelling albums. It’s modern power metal which is obviously influenced by the British NWOBHM movement of the Eighties so therefore is worth investigating if that sounds like your thing.

Track Listing: Hiring The Dead / El Mare E Libertad / Ocean Blade / The Master’s Hands / Cradle Of Heroes / Black Legacy / All Men To The Arms / McGuerkin on The Bridge / Siren Song / Ocean Legacy

Album Rating: 3/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Black Legacy