Lion Music 2013
Another chivalry tale of lonely nights and lovely knights. Guests aplenty but the result isn’t so plentiful.
Henry VIII had only six wives, so portraying them was rather easy for a certain Caped Crusader, yet the Round Table had twice as many diners so covering it all might be too heavy a task, and an occasional hero might fall through the cracks. Cue the story of Sir Galahad picked by Anton Johansson and realized, after a 30-year gestation, with the members of his former band MISTER KITE and guests who flesh out his vision into a sort of rock opera. Subject dictating the style, the suite spectacularly bridges prog and power metal all the while treading a territory so familiar it is devoid of adventure despite the orchestral moves and choir injections on opener “The Hope” and PRIMAL FEAR’s Magnus Karlsson shooting a sharp solo into the piano-led ballad “Hunted – The Decision.”
More bright parts come from STRATOVARIUS’ keyboard Merlin Jens Johansson on the streamlined, speedy “Never Alone – The Victory” and his ivories colleague Lalle Larsson on the instrumental “Morning Sun – The Battle,” yet Carl Lindquist’s heroic voice is at its most delicate when set against the violin-and-cello backdrop of “Loneliness – The Peace” before it gets heavy again. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing new either, and though “Coming Home – The Reward” and “Vision Divine” live up to their solemn title, the album holds no Grail.