Tuesday, 22 June 2010

8-POINT ROSE - Primigenia

8 point

8-Point Rose is a band which rose from the ashes of Evermoore, a Swedish metal band who’d previously produced a couple of demos and toured Europe for seven years. The twin lead guitars, combined with the heavy drumming and the melodic, yet very 80s metal vocal stylings present during this album’s opening number tells you everything you need to know about power metal band 8-Point Rose almost in a heartbeat. Aside from a few extreme vocal growls here and there, they don’t especially deviate from their core sound during ‘Primigenia’s ten songs - but on the basis of this debut album, there’s very little reason why they should.

Between the bombast and heaviness of that opening number, ‘Resolve’, there are some great twin lead guitar parts. Those combined with a strong lead vocal and hook should be enough to convince you that ‘Primigenia’ has plenty in its favour. The chugging guitars and accompanying keyboard riff which opens ‘Out of the Shadows’ could suggest the band also have a liking for a lot of European progressive metal, though it’s only here ‘Primigenia’ lends itself to anything in that genre; once Marcus Nygren’s vocals put in an appearance, it’s obvious where 8-Point Rose’s strongest musical loyalties lie, since this number is another solid piece of melodic power metal. While, at first, it appears this track could be heavier than the opener, the chorus has a huge hook and is very accessible – a contender for the album’s stand out track.

‘Relentless’ shows the band in a slightly heavier mood. A track completely driven by Johannes Timander’s double bass drumming and the dual vocal featuring Marcus Nygren’s melodic wail contrasted Adam Johannson’s metal growl, it’s a number which brings more extreme influences to the fore; it doesn’t sacrifice melody completely – it’s just very heavy! ‘The Shadow’ is more in the Swedish melodic metal camp, complete with a huge chorus which makes best use of Nygren’s voice. Again, the more extreme vocal from Johannson makes an appearance during its mid section, though this is brief and doesn’t detract from a great melody and hook. And if you’re into big choruses, then ‘When Chaos Rules Our Lives’ will certainly appeal. While parts of the song are a little too aggressive, the chorus is fantastic. It has a very Swedish feel (and for those of you who’ve been into melodic rock for years, you’ll know exactly what I mean) which harks back to the late 80s/early 90s.

‘Endless Rage’ is also recommended listening, since it showcases everything which makes 8 Point Rose decent. The main thrust of the song comes from its power metal groove, which features extensive use of double bass drums and a solid lead vocal, but it’s the mid section which provides most interest. After a gentle interlude, the listener is treated to a gorgeous solo – long, soaring notes at first, before breaking into a superb twin harmony followed by a great metal solo which remains tuneful and never resorts to outright shredding and showiness.

After opening with a great twin lead which is slightly reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s more epic moments (during their ‘Seventh Son’ period, mainly), ‘The Shadow’ doesn’t quite live up to promise as it slips into grandiosity with a slightly overwrought vocal. This could have been forgiven with a more interesting musical approach, but up against the rest of ‘Primigenia’, this is very pedestrian. It’s with moments such as this I understand why 8-Point Rose have been likened to other power metal bands like Dream Evil. Generally speaking, they’re much better than that, though, as most of this album shows.

The closing number, ‘Name of Time’ features the band at their absolute heaviest. Here, 8 Point Rose channel the more extreme parts of their sound. Adam Johannson contributes more vocals, so that alone is going to ensure it’s harder nature. I’m not especially a fan of his aggressive vocal style, but generally it’s not overused on most of the album and – as said previously – it’s always balanced by Nygren’s traditional metal vocal. The aggressiveness of this track makes it the album’s weakest in terms of both melody and structure, but since most of ‘Primigenia’ is so strong, it doesn’t matter too much.

Great songs, solid sound and a decent production make this debut by 8-Point Rose one of 2010’s best melodic/power metal releases. If you like your metal with a huge sound and a European slant, you need to grab this.


June 2010

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