Drakkar - _Quest For Glory_
(Dragonheart, 1999)
by: Alvin Wee (8 out of 10)
It's always pitiful to see a highly talented group of musicians failing to overcome an obstacle which greatly mars their creativity; similarly, it's sad to observe this excellent Italian four-piece joining the multitude of new, vocally sub-standard power metal bands. Good throats aren't exactly disposable assets anyway; I can name offhand musically stellar combos: Heimdall, Gorgon, Days of Yore, etc., all of which have failed to find a singer of similar standards. As with most other developing Italian power/prog bands, Drakkar's music is virtually a collage of their more firmly rooted predecessors' work; more than a hint of Running Wild comes into play alongside the ubiquitous metal crunchiness and suspiciously Blind Guardian-esque group choruses. While little on the album may sound even vaguely original, the group's impeccable ear for pure, honest heavy metal pays ample dividends; "Wings of Fire" almost rivals the finest power-ballads, and few, if any, complaints could be fairly made on the remaining songwriting. Still, the incurably anal vocals never rise above being barely tolerable, and if there isn't an improvement on future releases, this otherwise brilliantly talented quartet will never attain the elevated status they deserve. Lovers of traditional metal and epic Manowar cliches ("blood was spilled, many were killed") shouldn't pass up an opportunity to lay their sword-arms on one of the better releases in the genre this season.

(article published 12/10/1999)

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