Excalion - _Primal Exhale_
(Sound Riot, 2005)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (6 out of 10)
Hailing from central Finland, Excalion are part of the immensely healthy local scene that seems bent on spawning more and more melodic acts with each passing year. _Primal Exhale_ consists of nine tracks, all of them well executed and fairly complex, a bright display of good musicianship and knowledge of the genre's classics. Still, it goes without saying that these guys play it by the rules and follow the "unwritten book of power metal" as closely as possible -- a little too closely, in fact. Though the label has added "symphonic" to the description, I beg to differ: though synths are indeed present in each track, they aren't quite as pompous and strongly involved as is the case with, for instance, Rhapsody. Another weak point is the tempo, which remains way too constant, leading to the songs sounding quite similar to each other. There is an obvious lack of "power" as well, which is evident in "A Moment in the Spotlight" -- a track that sounds almost like pop metal, and thus, ultimately powerless. With all that said, chances are you might find this an entertaining listen if you fancy Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius, though it's highly unlikely that you'll fall in love with Excalion. Being too critical of this effort is probably out of the question too: although stereotypical and predictable, _Primal Exhale_ is only the band's debut, after all.

Contact: http://www.excalion.com

(article published 9/2/2006)

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