Sunday, November 8, 2009

Minotaurus - The Lonely Dwarf (2009)

The Lonely Dwarf is the third full-length from Germany's Minotaurus which is essentially a heavy metal album with some power and folk elements. My first listen and impression were not favorable, but I found the band's sound growing on me after the second and third listens.

Listening to the opening track "Illusions" the first time I found singer Oliver Klump's vocals to be weird and off putting, and the guitar riffs simply seemed to be amateurish. The opening riff sounds like something Metallica would throw into the middle of the song to give them a break before the solo. "Illusions" continues on into an anthemic power metal chorus and has a slight folk section later in the song. Neither of these components are strong on their own and so my first instinct was to call this unfocused and messy.

A few listens later and it seems that these guys are actually playing somewhat minimalistic, powerful heavy metal that dabbles in a few other styles without going overboard or masturbatory on any of them.

1:20 into "Fighting for Nothing" finds Minotaurus breaking into a proper heavy riff punctuated by a little slap bass that builds to a nice solo where they let you know "yeah we can rock."

The title track is the longest number on the album at five minutes (most clock in around three to four) and includes a very nice female vocalist whose name I could not track down. By this time Klump has come into his own as well providing a nice gruff voice. He relies on the backing vocals for his melodies, but helps to keep the band grounded on the heavy side.

The last half of the album includes a variety of solid riffing, shouty choruses reminiscent of Powerwolf, and a good use of the folk and female vocal elements. The lyrics are fantasy and somewhat questionable including "Rainbow to the Future" (wtf?).

Ultimately the whole things works as a cohesive whole and I'd recommend it to heavy and power metal fans looking for a consistent rocker with some amusing quirks.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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