Galderia – Rise, Legions Of Free Men
When I first sampled a few of Galderia’s songs online, I admit to having been somewhat overcome with enthusiasm for it. You see, major chord progressions and uplifting choruses are something that I simply can’t say no to. I ordered Rise, Legions Of Free Men on a whim and gave it several spins immediately, headbanging in glorious fury to what I at first held to be the reincarnation of the old Freedom Call that everyone knows and loves. Now, several weeks later, I return to the band’s EP and cast a critical eye on it for the first time. I am not so boyishly overwhelmed as I once was, and have begun to pry at the chinks in Galderia’s armor.
Galderia is definitely fluffy, fruity, and joyous power metal at its most energetic. Still, I find it more consistently listenable than the Freedom Call concoction that we knew from days past. Galderia’s music moves at a brisk march and features rousing group shouts, and grand sweeping choruses. Overall, it feels like you’re being sung to by a choir (or in this case, a legion) rather than a small band, and is part of the group’s charm. Less charming, perhaps, are the lead vocals, which are fairly rough and untrained. They’re not awful, but they don’t quite inspire the epic sing-alongs that the band is seeking to stir up with their compositions. Lyrics like “break these chains” and “come, my friends!” don’t exactly help the band’s case in this respect, and they certainly don’t score points for originality. In short, you may well end up feeling a bit self-conscious about spinning this in front of friends.
As I’ve stated before, however, this light-hearted and apparently vapid power metal is never as fragile as it may seem. Take it from myself, one who dabbles wholeheartedly in both extremes of the genre (light, upbeat, and soaring; as well as dark, harsh, and heavy): this EP is a keeper, and Galderia are likely going to make some news with their debut full-length when it comes out. Along with bands like Last Kingdom and Wisdom, Galderia is working tirelessly to perpetuate the upper echelon of happy power metal epitomized by groups like Freedom Call, Insania, and Power Quest. Just like their predecessors, Galderia proves through emotion, melody, and sheer compositional competency that their music is to be taken every bit as seriously as their darker cousins’, if not their lyrical material.
The title track is an explosion of freedom and unfettered joy. Tracks like this happen from time to time in the genre, but rarely so blissfully ignorant of anything and everything else. Despite the occasional rough bits and the unaccomplished vocals, the intense energy of this track is impossible to ignore. “Seven Stars” reminds me in more than name of Seven Thorn’s most recent effort, and is a very fun track, but less interesting are “Circle Of Illusion” (which is less exceptional and borders at times on being labeled as “filler”) and the brief acoustic closer “Verity”. However, “From Gaia To Galderia” puts on quite a show with its broad and profoundly memorable chorus, and “Land Of Galderia” itself sounds like a royal mess of influences, and yet manages to establish a wholly unique atmosphere for the band’s namesake fantasy world.
You’ve heard the speech before: Galderia isn’t going win over the typical black/death/thrash sourpusses, and anyone who listens to popular music won’t get it. However, those of us with the taste to appreciate it (those who value the lush speedy power metal that Galderia have bursting from every pore) have another worthy debut from a band that, by my reckoning, will have something very good for us the next time around.
Dan’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5