Review By Woody
So here’s me thinking Holy Dragons are a new discovery, well these guys formed in 1992 and Civilizator is actually their Fourteenth studio album, which shocked me as I’d never heard of these guys before. The fact they are from Kazakhstan may be part of the reason they are not more widely known because you don’t produce this many albums over so many years without a loyal and dedicated fan base which they must have in their homeland.
That level of experience is evident in this album, these guys are not raw recruits or budding musicians honing their craft they are in full flow with full belief in the musical talents and song writing.
They have strong NWOBHM influences which they express loudly in their compositions but they have a more aggressive heavier modern sound than that tag would imply. So they’ll appeal to fans of that genre but they won’t alienate listeners by been too retro or sounding like a tribute band to their hero’s. There are also elements of thrash especially in the guitars which triggered comparisons to Megadeth in my mind on a couple of occasions.
They are essentially a power metal band with crunching fast paced guitar riffs interspersed with melodic guitar solos and licks akin to Iron Maiden. Their vocalist also has a Bruce Dickinson style ‘Air Raid Siren’ voice so this intensifies the comparison.
It’s in the guitar’s where the band show their strengths and where the album appeals to me most, there is some amazing talent in the band, because it’s these licks and solo’s that draw you back to the album for repeated listens. I like a lot of the fantastic soundscapes they create with symphonic elements like on ‘Through The Wall Of Lies’ which I found thoroughly enjoyable. There is a couple of instrumentals on the album but I particularly liked the very melodic ‘The Long Earth’ which softens the sound momentarily.
It’s nowhere near as commercial as I usually like my metal to be but I found myself air guitar noodling on many occasions as well as rewinding and re-listening to some of the lusher symphonic musical pieces. I think fans of NWOBHM, Thrash and of course Power Metal should keep an ear out for Holy Dragons as it may surprise a few people. It’s guttural, visceral and dark metal designed to break your neck and melt your face!
Track Listing: Civilzator / Singularity / Through The Wall Of Lies / Bat Bomb / My Fear (Litany) / Secret Friend / No Oil No War / The Long Earth / Blossoming Sakura / Hawker Hurricane / Emptiness (The Void) / Stop The War
Album Rating: 7/10
Woody’s Essential Track: Through The Wall Of Lies
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