ReinXeed – A New World
It’s quite obvious by now how formative an influence ReinXeed has been on my power metal tastes, releasing an album every year since I’ve been into the genre, and so it’s only natural that Tommy Johansson and company have a significant impact upon the ebb and flow of the yearly metal tide in my little bubble. A New World is pretty hotly anticipated after the band’s last couple of increasingly expert releases. After listening to it a few times, I feel that I won’t be alone in my mild sense of disappointment.
In essence, A New World feels like a watered-down version of Welcome To The Theatre. The spit and polish are still very present, as are the dramatic, high-flying choruses and aggressive use of glossy keyboards, but there’s a subtle change across the album that I find leaves me with a hanging feeling of unfulfilled anticipation. This is still catchy, professional power metal done up with all of ReinXeed’s bells and whistles, but it feels less focused and is undeniably less enterprising.
First of all, unlike previous entries Welcome To The Theatre and 1912, there is no unifying theme to tie the various and sundry entries of A New World together. While the musicianship is still high and tight, lyrically insubstantial songs like “Northern Allstars” and “Guitar Hero” definitely detract from my enjoyment, if for no reason than I can find similar subject matter anywhere else. However, these silly songs are opposed by the virtue of compositions such as “The Journey Home”, a particularly uplifting and melodically breathtaking affair that redeems a great deal of the band’s perceived sins on this album.
Also, and I admit that this is nitpicking, I notice that Tommy still hasn’t standardized his English pronunciation with a lot of words. His tone is brilliantly clear, remarkably high, and continues to grow in confidence, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take him 100% seriously as a professional singer until he can standardize his English. If he were routinely wrong, it might be a little different, but when I hear “Journey” three times in one song, and “Yourney” three times as well, I can’t help but roll my eyes a little at this and other, grammatical inconsistencies.
While the band’s commercial success is doubtlessly on a smaller scale, I would compare A New World to power metal brethren Serenity’s War Of Ages insofar as I see it as a “victory lap” album. Many bands reach a point where they feel the desire to “Just Rock” (but God help Tommy J, he’d better not write a song like that), and I see A New World as the band taking creative “time off” to rest on its laurels a bit. The impression of being a bit stale is combated by great songs like “Curse And Damnation”, the titular “A New World”, and the aforementioned “The Journey Home”, but as a whole, the record is unmistakably very “safe”, and nothing that we haven’t seen the band exceed in the past.
Still, I recommend this highly to fans of the band, and by proxy, to fans of ultra-melodic power metal in general – with the caveat that it is no representation of the band’s artistic pinnacle. A New World definitely doesn’t reflect its title, but Tommy and his bandmates are incapable of producing something lackluster, and it’s a nice slice of the pleasantly familiar, if no more.
3.75 // 5