Kaledon – Antillius: The King Of The Light
Kaledon – Antillius: King Of The Light
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Well, this does it. Kaledon’s last release, Altor: The King’s Blacksmith was no fluke. As “trite” and “unnecessary” as those who do not appreciate the band’s style may decry the group. One of Italy’s long-running fantasy hosts has weathered the storm of criticism, putting one foot in front of the other and gradually improving with almost each new release. After the release of the surprisingly pleasant Altor after a slough of what I consider to be fairly uninspired fantasy power releases, 2013 saw a new drummer and, most notably, the replacement of longtime keyboard player Daniele Fuglini with fresh blood. I was concerned upon reading this that the changes may have destabilized a band that was finally beginning to witness the fruits of its labor, but the new members (and indeed, the entire band) have come through in fine fashion.
Antillius: The King Of The Light changes exactly nothing. It is every bit the Kaledon that you expect, and its a completely on-track continuation of Altor: The King’s Blacksmith. The album is fraught with fast, fairly static double bass drumming, rapidly picked chord progressions, dramatic choruses, and pulp fantasy stories of conflict and heroism. So let’s skip the rest of what you know and get to the best parts.
Opener “The Calm Before The Storm” is not actually an ambient intro (that’s its predecessor, “In Aeternum”), but an uplifting anthem with a grandiose chorus that blooms in great fashion. They may not be original, but when Kaledon is on its game, they can create an inspiring sing-along with some of the scene’s best. Things get mixed up with the more grim “Friends Will Be Enemies” and the respectable ballad “Elisabeth” before the rollicking “The Party”. One of my favorites on the album and from the band altogether, this is high-Freedom Call levels of fun and sheer, cheesy, power metal glee.
There are a few misfires (a few sloggy portions in “My Will”), but the Kaledonians continue delivering both strong strokes of melody and occasional bouts of ferocity (see “The Evil Conquest” for a combination of both) through most of the rest of the album. For the most part, side 2 (tracks 7-12, if you will) keep up a steady salvo of hooks, interrupted by a bit of a stutter hear and there. I’m not a fan of some of the overtly eye-rolling spoken sections or sound samples, and it must be admitted that for some, this will all begin to blur. With the final track, Kaledon attempts an elongation, presumably for the sake of a grand ending to the album. I’m rarely pleased with the results (especially in Italian power metal) of extended-length tracks, and “The Fallen King” seems to dip more than usual into the mid-tempo chuggery in order to reach its conclusion at near the nine minute mark. Pass.
These fellows wear their fantasy-obsessed metal hearts proudly pinned to their gilded breastplates, and Antillius: The King Of The Light is by and large another delightful example of good Italian power metal done just the way you’d like it to be. For fans of the national school, this is a very smart acquisition, and while Kaledon is never going to be a favorite of mine, I am quite pleased with the band’s recent work!
3.5 // 5