"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Minuetum - "Eternal Twilight" (CD)

Minuetum - "Eternal Twilight" CD cover image

"Eternal Twilight" track listing:

1. Eternal Twilight (10:07)
2. Follow Us (4:26)
3. Ghost Kings (5:00)
4. Hero Divine (4:54)
5. Into the Night (4:29)
6. Keys To Glory (4:24)
7. Sky Minuet (1:13)
8. The Dark Half (4:15)
9. The Tribe Is Calling (4:40)
10. Time To Fly (3:41)

Reviewed by on April 26, 2009

"Minuetum was formed with the hopes of bringing back the classic power metal sounds of Helloween and Sonata Arctica; if that was their goal, I’d say they achieved it nicely."

If adversity is an indication of success, Greek power metal band Minuteum should soon be the most powerful band around. With a string of band member fallouts, replacements, and searches, all before the release of their first full-length album, the two founding members Dimitris and Dimitris (Melidis and Zaharopoulos), probably wondered if their dream would ever be realized. Fortunately, though guest guitarist Bob Katsionis (Firewind) provided the strings for "Eternal Twilight," the two buddies who met in law school finally have a full lineup, at least for now.

With all these setbacks, it’s no wonder that there was such a delay in the release of "Eternal Twilight." With bassist Ignacio Lopez literally emailing his parts, the album required lots of mixing and mastering, and what began in 2007 has finally come to fruition. And hopefully, Melidis and Zaharopoulos are pleased with the result. Minuetum was formed with the hopes of bringing back the classic power metal sounds of Helloween and Sonata Arctica; if that was their goal, I’d say they achieved it nicely.

I feel obligated to point out that if you are a fan of the speed-influenced wave of power metal acts with pretty vocals, Minuetum probably won’t be your cup of tea. If, however, you like your power metal less refined, and with keyboards that actually compliment the compositions rather than shooting off into outer space, Minuteum is right up your alley. "Follow Us" is a fantastic example of how keyboards can be used well in power metal, and as a part of the melody. Even the inclusion of "Greensleeves" in "Ghost King" seems an appropriate part of the piece.

There are a couple tracks that are a bit more upbeat, with a tempo similar to HammerFall. Both "The Dark Half" and "The Tribe Is Calling" are great tunes, with pulsing tempos that should accommodate a more widespread audience. "Time To Fly" has a bit of a warrior metal pattern, though it and "Key To Glory" are still not as melodic and showy as a lot of power metal.

Symphonic elements find their way into "Ghost King" and "Into the Night," though neither tune could really be accused of being symphonic metal. Perhaps the most impressive track, though, is the opener, "Eternal Twilight." This is a traditional, mid-tempo power metal track, and includes a complex vocal round that is common in orchestral pieces, but is under appreciated today. The other great part about "Eternal Twilight" is that, like classic power metal bands, the instrumentals slowly build up, often repeating the same measure two to three times before adding something new.

Perhaps because of the creative mixing that had to be done with the album, there are a few places where things don’t seem to gel. At times the lead vocals of Zaharopoulos and backup vocals are a bit dissonant, and Zaharopoulos’ voice is unfortunately a little weak on some of the higher notes. This may not, however, be through any fault of his own, but simply because his voice gets drowned out by the instruments. We’ll have to wait and see what happens on the next album, when Minuetum can hopefully produce a studio album with all its band members present. Still, for a freshman release, "Eternal Twilight" is pretty good, and should be exciting to those who had dismissed power metal as a serious metal sub-genre.

Highs: Refreshingly simple compositions that don’t rely on speed tempos and frenzied guitar riffs.

Lows: Vocals have a tendency to get buried behind the instruments.

Bottom line: A rebirth of simple, unpretentious power metal, and a good choice for fans of Sonata Arctica.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)