Parsifal – Here From The Past
Reviewed by Christopher Foley
Parsifal is, without a doubt, a bright spark on the power metal horizon. Its debut opus, Here From The Past is, I think, aptly titled. Both the production and material in general is very reminiscent of the turn of the century, European power metal glory days, with elements found in both the Swedish and Italian schools being evident throughout. Couple this with a quirky stamp of identity, and we’re on to something of a winner.
The best way to describe Parsifal is essentially to imagine a cross between Falconer and Valley Of The Damned-era Dragonforce. The blend of speedy power metal and folksy swagger is certainly a tasty one, and one I feel with further development could be a force to be reckoned with. See, as enjoyable an affair as Here From The Past is, it isn’t without flaw; and is certainly a little rough around the edges. Some of this stems from Oscar’s vocals, which come off as a little green in places, and the rest comes from some songwriting choices that don’t quite work.
For the most part though, this is a lot of fun. There’s a whole load of double kicking, lightning fast guitar riffs and leads, and some smile-inducing folk moments. The melodies ooze charm throughout, particularly in tracks such as “Unfold” or the excellent title track. The charm factor works a lot in Parsifal’s stead throughout, as even when any of the aforementioned flaws or rough spots crop up; I’m normally enveloped in child-like glee from a prior segment or melody. This is an album which – as someone who absolutely adores European power metal – never fails in reaffirming how I feel about the style.
It’s a shame Parsifal opens with likely the weakest track on the album, as despite its gallivanting, speedy prowess, it drops the ball early, allowing for a drum and vocal driven section which I feel highlights every negative aspects the band has. It’s definitely something which could turn off a prospective listener, with the first verse of the album showing off all of Oscar’s shortcomings as a vocalist. The aforementioned “Unfold” could have stood as a much finer opening number. “Forever Till Dawn” is another of the weaker numbers, a relatively typical ballad that doesn’t feel all that welcome in an eight track, forty minute album.
Nonetheless, like I say, this is mostly fun. There’s plenty of youthful charm here, and certainly potential for Parsifal in the future. Some of the more predominantly folk moments could be a clinker for those who enjoy a diet strictly comprised of power metal. However, anyone who gets a kick out of happy melodies and speedy instrumentation should look up Parsifal without hesitation. Alongside contemporaries Victorius and Last Kingdom, we have another young band playing European power metal just like they did back in the day.
(Also, does the name make anyone else think Grave Digger? PAARRRCCIIIIIIVAL!)
3.5 // 5