Thursday, March 10, 2011

Emerald Sun - Regeneration

Emerald Sun
Pitch Black Records

Formed in 1998, Emerald Sun is a melodic power metal act that hails from Greece, and has to date released two full-length efforts (2005’s ‘The Story Begins’ through Encore Recordings and 2007’s ‘Escape From Twilight’ through Limb Music Production).
In the four years since their last release, Emerald Sun has undergone a bit of a line-up reshuffle, with vocalist Stelios ‘Theo’ Tsakirides and bassist Fotis ‘Sheriff’ Toumanides joining the established line-up of guitarists Johnnie Athanasiadi and Teo Savage, keyboardist Jim Tsakirides and drummer Bill Kanakis. Aside from a change of guard, Emerald Sun has also moved labels; with the band signing up with Cyprus based label Pitch Black Records for their third full-length effort ‘Regeneration’.
If you weren’t aware of where Emerald Sun hails from, you could be forgiven for assuming that the band originated from Germany after giving the opening track ‘We Won’t Fall’ a run through. From the heavy keyboard presence, the melodic tandem guitar work and Tsakirides’ vocals that closely resemble Klaus Meine of the Scorpions, Emerald Sun are clearly aiming for a sound that closely adheres to the Gamma Ray/Helloween/Stratovarius mould of power metal, and they’ve certainly achieved their objective.
The fast paced follow-up track ‘Theater Of Pain’ picks up where the opener left off, with the band adopting the genre’s trademark relentless double kick drum work and the faster paced riffing that mimics their idols, while ‘Where Angels Fly’ lies somewhere between the two former tracks in sound and construction with its mid-paced heavy metal groove.
From this point, it’s fairly clear what the band have on offer for the remainder of the album, and that’s sadly more of the same.
‘Starchild’, which is preceded by the short introductory piece ‘Regeneration’, is good, but a little too formula-like to be genuinely original, while the band’s attempt at humour in ‘Planet Metal’ just comes across as cheesy.
‘Speak Of The Devil’ is one of the more solid sounding efforts around the latter half of the album with its catchy chorus structures and heavier guitar presence, but the obligatory ballad ‘Chasing The Wind’ and the rather bland and directionless twelve minute epic ‘Fantasmagoria’ just don’t have sufficient impact to really stand out as anything out of the ordinary.
And as for the band’s cover of Bonnie Tyler’s 1984 hit ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, well the female vocals do add a bit of contrast to the song. But aside from that, it’s pretty much by the numbers.
Emerald Sun aren’t a terrible band, and ‘Regeneration’ is far from a failure, provided that you’re a fan of melodic power metal, and are happy to hear the same thing time and time again. Personally, I’ve heard this all before.

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© Justin Donnelly