Friday, October 16, 2009

Infinity Overture - Kingdom of Utopia (2009)

Infinity Overture is the latest vehicle to feature the distinct vocals of veteran Ian Parry (Elegy, Ayreon, Vengeance, etc), a power metal album which indulges in a fantasy theme, and drips old school class, despite its modern trappings. Parry is often joined on the record by the female vocals of Lene Petersen, though they are used to offset his vocals rather than create too fairylike an atmosphere. Still, this is an album that will appeal to those who use their metal to long for elfin glades, mirrored lakes and a mountainous skyline. Most of the symphonic elements arrive in the form of the synthesizer, which does a pretty good job to provide atmosphere without intruding into the main rhythm section, and excels when singled out for intros and outros.

The lyrics are a tad cheesy and not all the songs are winners, but it's easy to see how one could get lost in Parry's rich, mid ranged vocals. "Kingdom of Utopia" is graceful and sad, with its laid back, warm tones and the showtune feel of its chorus section with female backing vocals. "Millenia" is a good, trotting anthem with an ascending atmosphere, and "Sacred Fire" has a fine, mystical edge to its power balladry. If you're looking for overproduced, over the top hogwash like Nightwish, Rhapsody and Dragonforce, I'm not sure this is the album for you. It's cast in a similar light, but more restrained, subdued, and classier. There are little flourishes of progressive rock on this album that truly complement the more traditional rhythms and the idyllic scenery. It's quite good, and grows on repeated listens. Whether you are a fan of Parry or restrained, emotional power metal, it is worth hearing, but you might have to look past the fairytale romance of its inherent themes.

Highlights: Millenia, The Great Believers, Wonderland, Kingdom of Utopia

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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