Monday, December 29, 2003

Review: Nemesis - Goddess of Revenge (2003)

Goddess of Revenge

The power metal genre has suffered a glut of bands playing a neo-classical, symphonic style in recent years. Countless second- and third-tier bands have emerged, all attempting to emulate the leaders of the genre with varying degrees of success. While most members of these bands are technically proficient and many of the vocalists skillful enough to match the demands placed on their abilities, the lack of innovation and originality often mars an otherwise well-performed album. Hailing from the Czech Republic, Nemesis is one of these bands that emulate their Stratovarious and Sonata Arctica influences well, but their debut album Goddess Of Revenge does little to distinguish them from the multitude of similar bands vying for a slice of the metal market.

Packaged between the typical power metal symphonic intro and outro, the 8 songs which comprise Goddess Of Revenge incorporate all of the elements one would expect from the genre. Most songs are speedy, with frequent time changes and an abundant use of keyboards. Although well-played the majority of this album is not memorable except for perhaps the keyboard riffs of "Servant Of Will" and "Desert Of Your Sins", primarily because the same riff is essentially recycled in the second song with only slight variation. Frontman Vilém Majtner is an archetypal power metal vocalist, maintaining his presence in the upper ranges with only the occasional dip to a lower tone. His skills are more than a match for this type of music, and where many bands falter Vilém carries Nemesis forward. Guitarist, co-founder, and primary composer Libor Krivák lays down some very technical riffs throughout the album, but he also doubles on the keyboards - which really are the focus of Goddess Of Revenge. Not all is pummeling double-bass and frenzied harpsichord solos, however, as the ballad "Rain" slows the pace considerably. Right on the heels of the ballad is the instrumental "Crystal Eyes", what I consider to be my favorite track of the album. Mid-paced, the song is dominated by keys but they're less progressive and more atmospheric than anywhere else on the album. Some heavy riffs from Libor compliment his keyboard work for a very tight composition which is, unfortunately, all too short. The heaviest riffage on the album comes in the latter half of the epic "Mercenary". Following a flute interlude Libor lets loose with a crushing riff, the likes of which would have been quite welcome if more prevalent throughout the album.

Fans of symphonic power metal who don't insist on every new band being an innovator of the genre will find much to enjoy about Goddess Of Revenge. The production is first-rate, the cover art by Jonathan Earl Bowser is outstanding, and the musicianship is unquestionably of the highest caliber. Should Nemesis tighten up as a band and hone their songwriting skills, they have the potential to move up the ranks and deliver that originality which is missing from their debut.

Track Listing
1 The Mission
2 Servant of Will
3 Desert Of Your Sins
4 Queen Of Fate
5 Host From Kingdom of Lion
6 Rain
7 Crystal Eyes
8 Mercenary
9 Heaven's Fall
10 Last Heretic

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