Orion Riders - A New Dawn

9 songs
41:39 minutes
***** **


This must be my Italian metal day today! I did already a review for the latest Shining Fury CD, and now my schedule shows me that it's time for the Orion Riders, coming this time from the Southern part of Italy: Sicily. Before you get time now to get lost in Godfather nostalgia, I will take you back to reality with the band's first full length album A New Dawn. Of course, why beat around the bush, this is another Italian neoclassical melodic power metal band, but unlike Shining Fury or Domine, you find much more ambition with the Riders.

The opener In Memory has all the aspects of a haunting introduction, before Whispers shows you definitive late Eighties American speed metal influences. The progressive yet fast guitar work sets these guys apart from most of their fellow countrymen. Leave The Shades Behind comes with a classical guitar part, and the title song plays with strange atmospheres. The short pieces Lacrimae Angeli and Nocturne add a symphonic touch to this album.

I advise you though not to read the lyrics. Not that they are bad, they just don't make much sense to me, and although Joe Lombardo is one of the better power metal sirens, he has a terrible accent. If you contemplate the album as a whole without concentrating too much on the words (and this shouldn't be too hard when English isn't your mother tongue), then you get an upper echelon prog speed power band that deserves a fair listening by the typical target groups.

If you strip the album of the short pieces, there will remain only six regular songs, and the total playing time of not even three quarters of an hour is a bit disappointing within this genre. Still, A New Dawn is one of the better releases, and also shows that Lion Records finally concentrate on regular song based bands and not only guitar solo music.

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