|Musical Style: Power Metal||Produced By: Dragon's Cry|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Brazil|
|Year Released: 2011||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 45:00|
Power metal. It’s a loosely defined genre, at the crossroads where the intricate (in terms of double bass to your hearts content and a converging of faster tempos with melodic harmonies) meets the uplifting (from the standpoint of anthem-based songwriting and symphonic overtones). There’s no need for a DNA test: Simply trust your gut (or your ears) because you will know it when you hear it!
If ever there was a band that stays true to the power metal norm it would be Dragon’s Cry, a Tubarão, Brazil based four piece act that released its full length debut Prophecies in 2011. Yes, Brazil has been one of the more productive mainstays in the power metal scene, having churned out countless bands of varying quality but with Angra, Eterna and Scelerata rating with the finest and better known. Dragon’s Cry, with its melodic songwriting touch and creditability in the areas of vocals and musicianship, deserves to join their ranks.
On Prophecies the group delivers the power metal goods, albeit not without its share of diversity while staying true to the “uplifting” and “intricate” in the process. Dragon’s Cry centers itself upon a foundation of melodic power metal similar to Rob Rock, as “A Voice In The Thunder” and “Tribes Of Issar’El” attest, but can also deliver some epic flavorings hinting of Theocracy and ReinXeed on “Judgment And Justice” and “The One”. You will find the Narnia-like progressiveness of “King Of Zion” in addition to some symphonic elements that hint of Germán Pascual on “Desert” as well.
Now, whenever I learn of a new power metal band from Brazil, my initial concern revolves around vocals. And rightly so, at least when factoring the at times inconsistent and others spotty performance of those fronting many bands from the region in question. Not so here in that Dragon’s Cry features a very solid front man in Jadson Schlengmann, who takes a mostly smooth sounding and mid-ranged approach to the genre. His strength lies in how he can add some low end emotion and grit to his delivery while also hinting of Rob Rock singing in a lower register when going for a high note. Check out “Desert” and “Tribes Of Issar’El” for his best work.
At this point it must be noted the quality vocals to come out of Brazil in recent years. Outside of Schlengmann, there is also Germán Pascual (native to Brazil but currently residing in Sweden) and Celso Alves, whose band Allos received a recent favorable Angelic Warlord review of its debut Spiritual Battle.
One aspect of Dragon’s Cry I appreciate is the manner in which it takes every opportunity to showcase its instrumental sound. Most songs here, for instance, are carried into the five and six minute range with lengthy instrumental passages that allow guitarist Felipe Zaneripe and keyboardist Jesse Alves to shine. Occasionally the two trade off, as they do on “The One”, but most often it is Zaneripe taking center stage, such as on “Desert” with some ripping guitar leads. “Majestic New Age”, a varied instrumental featuring every form of metal and hard rock imaginable, finds Dragon’s Cry in its natural element and all its members shining as a result.
Despite the previously referenced accolades, I am sure you are wondering why Prophecies receives just a 75% score. As is often the case with young bands, there are certain areas of improvement worth noting.
The first is how Prophecies is filled out with three shorter “interlude” tracks, with the first an introductory instrumental and other two upheld by narration supporting the albums concept revolving around Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. Dragon’s cry violates the Angelic Warlord prime directive of “thou shalt not use cheesy narration on concept albums” in this capacity. The point being that if it is necessary to use narration to get your point across then perhaps you are not doing a good enough job of getting said point across with the music and lyrics to begin with. And besides, the quality to songwriting is of such a caliber I would much rather prefer the group invest its time and energies in more material as opposed to superfluous narration.
Second, production is far from bad for an independent release but could use a bit of polish due to an element of thinness throughout. No, nothing overriding, but compare the drum sound here with that on recent releases from more established artists within the genre and you will understand my point.
Third and final area revolves around the horrid backing vocals on “Judgment And Justice”, what is otherwise a very good song. The problem is that the group - as far as I can tell – was going for an “extreme” feel with the backing vocals but the result was a sound more akin to muffled barking dogs instead. The point here is if you cannot get something done correctly in the studio then perhaps it is better to not include it on the album in the first place.
Dragon’s Cry, similar to countrymen Allos, prove another pleasant surprise within the Brazilian Christian metal scene. The songwriting on Prophecies is solid throughout (I actually like the groups material a bit better than that of Allos) and vocals and musicianship capably done. Despite the presence of filler narration and minor production misgivings, by all means give Dragon’s Cry a shot- you are going to be hearing a lot more from them in the future!
Track By Track
Opener “Sound Of A Prophecy” is carried its short (1:52) distance by cinematic overtures, church organ and keyboards.
Quintessential epic power metal, “The One” stands out with its double bass outbursts, mesmerizing guitar harmonies and unyielding melody. Nearly two of its five minutes is taken up by an instrumental interlude that runs the gamut from keyboard soloing to shredding lead guitar. Theocracy could have not have done it any better. Lyric snippet:
Some trust in their chariots
And some trust in their horses
But we trust in Yahweh our Lord and God
Lord our God
They are brought down and fallen
But we are risen
And stand upright for Yahweh
Gives us strength
“Judgment And Justice” also takes an epic metal heading. The song starts to harmony baritone vocals that give way to melodic riffing, a decisive mid-paced clip established the remaining distance as keyboards play the more highlighting role. Chorus proves sublimely done with its over the top feel, albeit the “barking dog” backing vocals serve to distract. ReinXeed comes to mind here. Lyric snippet:
And His name shall be called
Prince of Peace, the mighty God
The everlasting Father, wonderful and counselor
A Son hath been given to us
And the power is on His shoulder
To the increase of the princely power
And all the people shall know
That peace there shall be no end
Upon the throne of the King David
“King Of Zion”, the albums longest at seven minutes, finds the band putting its musicianship on full display. Roughly half the songs length is instrumental, including the guitar driven first minute and several other extended passages carried either by open air guitar or majestically done keyboards and rhythm guitar. In between we are treated to tempo changes ranging from the slow and trudging (for its verses) to the more energetic and forthright (pristinely done chorus). This one is uniquely Dragon’s Cry. Lyric snippet:
Ask of me and I give thee
The ends of the earth
For thy possession
Thou shall break them with a rod of iron
Thou shall dash
Them in little pieces
Like a potters vessel
I installed my King on my holy hill
I will declare the decree
The Lord that said unto me
Thou are my son I have become thy father
Instrumental “Majestic New Age” brings its variances. Things start to symphonic keyboards that transition to edge and bite filled guitars. Eventually piano makes its way to the backdrop prior to initiative slowing to a near crawl to a stretch of magnificent guitar harmonies and ethereal guitar feedback. The song reaches its stunning close to a crescendo of up-tempo riffs and pounding drums. These guys know how to play!
“A Voice In The Thunder” slowly moves forward from the start to piano and gently done vocals. Momentum picks up at once, however, to a more decisive direction with galloping riffs and powering drums carrying the song its remaining distance. Nothing less than a soaring chorus allows Schlengmann to exhibit the full range to his voice. A slight hint of Rob Rock can be found here. Lyric snippet:
That one loveth his own life shall lose it
Now my soul is troubled
What shall I say? Father, save me
But for this cause I came
Father, glorify thy name
Now shall the prince of this world be cast out
Now, for this world is the judgment
I have both glorified my name
And I will glorify it again
“Desert” highlights some symphonic touches. This can be found in the resounding keyboards highlighting its length, which complement the darker and swarthy nature to the music at hand. Chorus, correspondingly, comes across sublime and stately in capacity. Another extended instrumental stretch features some Middle Eastern flavorings that give way to bristling lead guitar. Lyric snippet:
If though be the song of Yahweh
Command that these stones be made bread
It is written not upon bread alone man live
But the word form Yahweh
If thou be the song of Yahweh
Cast thyself down from here
For it is written that His messengers
Shall charge concerning thee
And on their hands they shall bear thee up
It is written also: Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God
A lighter touch is delivered on “Tribes Of Issar’El” with its classy melodic power metal flavorings. That does not imply the song fails to hit hard, which it does with its pounding double bass emphasis and driving guitar edges, but shines equally well from the victorious feel to the refrain. The upshot is a pleasing combination of the old (melodic) and the new (power). Lyric snippet:
My Father hath appointed
Unto me a Kingdom
As my Father
I appoint unto you a Kingdom
And you shall eat and shall drink
At my table in my Kingdom
And you shall sit on thrones
Fro to judge the twelve tribes of Issar’El
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Sound Of A Prophecy” (1:52), “The One” (4:48), “Judgment And Justice” (5:08), “King Of Zion” (6:49), “Majestic New Age” (4:16), “Just Like Us” (2:05), “A Voice In The Thunder” (4:55), “Desert” (6:24), “Tribes Of Issar’El” (5:44), “Fate Traced” (2:47)
Jadson Schlengmann - Lead Vocals
Felipe Zaneripe - Guitars & Bass
Jesse Alves - Keyboards
Eder Medeiros - Drums