PelleK – Ocean Of Opportunity
Reviewed by Kevin Hathaway
I once made a joke picture on a power metal page I run on Facebook about how Tommy Johansson can only possibly be a robot made specifically to crank out power metal at an inhuman rate. I mention this because a) Tommy himself commented on the picture, thus making one of the highlights of my life (sorry, felt like bragging) and b) PelleK seems to have a similar robotic productivity to Johansson, albeit being a lower-grade model, so to speak. PelleK is (in)famous for his Youtube covers, which I swear he cranks out daily, but recently he has been getting into making his own music with mixed results.
It’s really frustrating hearing PelleK’s music. He clearly has mountains of potential, but his voice is just naturally powerless and overly melodramatic. PelleK is at his best when he restrains himself, oddly enough, sporting a mid-range voice that sounds pretty similar to Tony Kakko. But my ears wince when he attempts a high note, because it seems an attempt to be so dramatically showy when there really isn’t much to show off. As I said, his voice lacks power, but it also lacks passion, like he’s trying his damnedest to win an “America’s Got Talent” competition but he is relying solely on his talent, rather than what’s *in here* (I guess you can’t see me tapping my heart through text).
I have to give credit where it’s due though, PelleK can write a ridiculously catchy tune if he puts his mind to it, and also gets together a capable crew of backing musicians. “God’s Pocket” is a definite highlight with its cheery keyboards and melodic chorus, and also features a surprisingly reined-in performance from PelleK. “Northern Wayfarer” is also quite upbeat and melodic. Really, there’s good, even great stuff here. At its best, this album is as uplifting as anything Aquaria and Power Quest have put out, but PelleK’s voice is still lacking when it comes to the high notes. It’s really hard to describe; he’s technically capable, but that’s about it. Check out his cover of the “WOAH-OH-OH-AH-AH-AH-AAAAA-HA-AH-AH-AH-AH-AH” section from the immortal (yeah, pun intended) “Highlander (The One)” on Youtube. Just listen, I’ll wait here.
Do you hear what I mean? Yeah it lacks some serious balls, but there’s more to it than that. When Daniel Heiman does that part, it’s commanding and demands that you drop everything you’re doing so you can listen in awe and wonder whilst the thickest and manliest of beards appears spontaneously on your face (be you man, woman, or child). When PelleK does it, nothing near the previous sentence happens. It’s like, “Oh cool, he can hit those notes” but nothing more. His performance is almost robotic, in a way, much as it is on this album at times. Wow, I didn’t think I could relate back to my opening paragraph. I surprise myself sometimes.
If PelleK could overwrite the melodramatic component of his speech function and download the “balls” update (okay, now I’m really pushing it) we could be talking about an amazing album here. But he’s actively holding back his own band. All he needs is some vocal training to control his voice. Maybe if he stopped uploading his horrendous covers on Youtube at all hours of the day, he could work on that. Until then, we have pretty quality flower metal held back by a whiny singer. This is a definite step in the right direction, at least.
3.0 // 5