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Hazy Hamlet - "Forging Metal" (CD)

Hazy Hamlet - "Forging Metal" CD cover image

"Forging Metal" track listing:

1. The Beginning of the End - part 1
2. The Beginning of the End - part 2
3. Black Masquerade
4. Metal Revolution
5. Field of Crosses
6. Funeral for a Viking
7. Chrome Heart
8. Chariot of Thor
9. Forging Metal
10. The Faces of Illusion

Reviewed by on September 1, 2009

"Imagine the Viking guy forging Thor's hammer on the cover singing, and you'll get a hint of what the vocals sound like."

Not long ago, someone brought a plate of chocolate chip cookies to work for everyone to share. As I took a bite of one of the cookies, I realized that the ratio of chocolate chip to cookie was way too high, making for something almost inedible. I had occasion to think of that as I listened to Hazy Hamlet's "Forging Metal," realizing that they'd mixed together good ingredients in entirely the wrong proportions.

There's plenty of talent on the instrumental side of this Brazilian band. Guitarist Julio Bertin in particular stands out, with some interesting solos (the one in "Black Masquerade" is particularly good). I also like his brutal riffing on "Funeral For A Viking."

My main problem with the album stems from the vocals. Power metal and classic metal are often a haven for vocals in a more operatic vein, but singer Arthur Migotto takes that to a whole new level here. Imagine the Viking guy forging Thor's hammer on the cover singing, and you'll get a hint of what the vocals sound like.

I do like the fact that Migotto's not going for the typical power metal falsetto, but his deep tones often overpower everything else going on in the song. There are times when that works to great effect, like in "The Beginning Of The End — Part II," in which he sings of how "blood and fire now were joined in the taking of the throne," backed by what sounds like an army of Viking background singers. The problem is that the sound doesn't carry over well in the speedier "Black Masquerade." Equally problematic is Migotto's operatic approach to the quiet opening "Field Of Crosses," in which he just sounds out of place.

Though Fabio Nakahara has an interesting bass part, I have to say the album finally makes the trip into "Spinal Tap" territory with the completely over-the-top "Chariot Of Thor," that tells us of "the black fur of Tanngrisnir" and "the bereavement color it wears." The guitar solo is impressive, though.

Instrumentally, "Forging Metal" is a fun trip into metal's past, but its vocal ride with the valkyries is a little hard to take sometimes. If you're looking for metal with a heavy dose of operatic feel, this might be the disc for you.

Highs: You'll be singing along with the chorus on "The Beginning Of The End — Part II," and guitarist Julio Bertin puts in a good showing.

Lows: The over-the-top operatic vocals dominate throughout.

Bottom line: Some good stuff here, but over-the-top operatic vocals are overwhelming.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)