Holy Knights – Between Daylight and Pain
Between Daylight and Pain
“It’sa time! It’sa time to party like it’sa nineteen freaking ninety nine!” This is becoming one of my favourite ways to kick off reviews of this ilk, and it’s always all smiles when I hear a band nailing that oh-so-glorious style of power metal that was so bloody good back then. Call me hideously nostalgic, or maybe a touch loony for the likes of Return to Heaven Denied and Legendary Tales, but any band paying homage or sounding remotely like it did back then are some of the best fun around.
To those more clued up on the style – particularly those who know a good majority of the early 00’s power metal bands – Holy Knights should be a familiar name. They’re one of those bands who released an album which sounded to little fanfare upon release; the kind with awesome artwork which now might well cost an arm and/or a leg for a hardcopy. Yes, their debut Gate Through The Past is one of those borderline rare power metal albums, and one that is best left fantasizing about. There was a slight charm to it, but it didn’t offer anything Rhapsody, Thy Majestie or Fairyland already displayed in fine form.
History lesson aside, we flash forward to present day, where much to my surprise (and I’m sure many others) Holy Knights have reformed and released a bloody new album. Further surprise came from just how good this is: the band still keeps intact their Italian power metal roots, but they drop a good deal of the symphonic fantasy worship in favour of a slick progressive power approach ala DGM, Vision Divine, and Labyrinth. There’s also a slight neo-classical edge too, which totally sets the album off nicely.
Between Daylight And Pain is majestic and mature, modern and nostalgic; a collection of eight Italian progressive power metal delights (nine if you get a Japanese edition). Holy Knights particularly reminds me of DGM across the album, albeit with a good deal more focus on the power metal side. The performances are superlative, with charming vocals, cheese-dripping keyboards, hyper-charged drumming, and virtuosic guitar playing. The vocal lines themselves, as well as all of the choruses are very well done here on Between Daylight And Pain, be it the mighty soaring chorus in “Mistery” or the romantic middle period Sonata Arctica approach of “Wasted Time”.
On the whole, Between Daylight And Pain is a quality release, boasting a good wealth of depth and replayability; it’s great to see a band I thought we’d never hear from again doing the rounds once more. A great comeback album, Holy Knights blend the formative Italian scene’s style into the splendour of acts such as Vision Divine or DGM at their established finest. Fans of good old fashioned Euro power metal – particularly the Italian school – need this in their lives.
Chris’ rating 4.0 out of 5