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Forgotten Realm - "Power And Glory" (CD)

Forgotten Realm - "Power And Glory" CD cover image

"Power And Glory" track listing:

1. Path To The Fire
2. Time
3. Heart Turned To Stone
4. Mountain Of Dreams
5. Eyes Of My Soul
6. Shattered Horizons
7. Forgotten Realm
8. On Wings Like The Eagles
9. Forged In Steel
10. Freedom Calls
11. Man On The Silver Mountain

Reviewed by on February 20, 2009

"'Forged In Steel' is the kind of ode to the 'Power And Glory' of rock that made Dio's career."

Arguably, no other metal genre requires as much instrumental virtuosity straight out of the gate as power metal does. With frantic fretwork courtesy of guitarist Matthew Mills and powerful vocals by David Fefolt, Forgotten Realm easily passes the first test of a great power metal band on "Power And Glory," the band's debut album.

Mills' breakneck-speed playing lights the fuse for the album's opening track, the superb "Path To The Fire," which features some great time changes in addition to fast solos.

One thing that impressed me throughout "Power And Glory" was the fact that Forgotten Realm, unlike some other power metal bands, took care to make sure that the riffs and choruses weren't just space-filler between bouts of high-speed hysterics on the guitar. "Mountain Of Dreams," for example, features plenty of Mills' fast solos, but also features a superb intro that's very reminiscent of early-'80s Dio.

The band lists Dio as one of its influences on its MySpace page, and that influence can be readily heard throughout "Power And Glory," with "Forgotten Realm" featuring a keyboard part that would be right at home on "Holy Diver" or "Sacred Heart." Fefolt's vocals on "Heart Turned To Stone" are especially reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio, circa 1983 or so. "Forged In Steel" is the kind of ode to the "Power And Glory" of rock that made Dio's career. As close as Fefolt's vocals are to Dio's, the only time they really feel like a deliberate imitation is on the album's closing track, a cover of the Dio-era Rainbow song, "Man On The Silver Mountain."

Ex-Manowar and current Holyhell drummer Rhino mans the skins, along with Reynold "Butch" Carlson of Jag Panzer and Joey Tafolla, who played on two tracks. Their drumming is more than adequate, with the intro to "Path To The Fire" standing out for its great interplay with Mills' guitar.

Bassist Brian Sanders gets a few chances to get some tasty licks in, particularly on "Man On The Silver Mountain," but you have to listen pretty closely to hear them.

Unfortunately, "Power And Glory" is an example of how bad production and mixing decisions can turn what were undoubtedly powerful performances into a merely average album. Fefolt's vocals come through well, but the guitars often sound tinny and cold, especially on the lower notes. This has the unfortunate effect of making the intro to the album's second track, "Time," sound strangely atonal.

The whole album could have done with just a touch more bass, which would have added a lot more warmth and energy. It would've added heft to the drums as well.

"Power And Glory" shows that Forgotten Realm has all the makings of a great power metal band. Here's hoping that the band's next release better showcases their sound with improved production.

Highs: Matthew Mills' guitar virtuosity and David Fefolt's Dio-ish vocals.

Lows: Sub-par production, with occasionally tinny guitar sound.

Bottom line: A promising debut that, despite its production flaws, will entertain power metal fans.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)