CD Reviews

Holy Knights - 'Between Daylight And Pain' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 12, 2012    
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Epic Power Metal at its finest.

It’s remarkable to think that this band effectively took a ten year hiatus when you consider the magnificence on offer here. Hailing from Palermo in Sicily an obvious reference point would be fellow Sicilian Power Metallers Thy Majestie, particularly as guitarist Simone Campione has been playing guitar for them since 2007, but their particular brand of epic Power Metal is less bombastic and overblown than Holy Knights and therefore a more obvious reference point would be Italians Rhapsody (Of Fire).

However, having said that, the comparisons with the superlative Kamelot are striking! Vocalist Dario Di Matteo at times mimics Roy Khan’s vocal melodies and phrasing that I had to keep checking he hadn’t come out of retirement to join these guys! An absolute nailed-on certainty to replace Khan if they hadn’t have chosen Seventh Wonder’s Tommy Karevik, and the structure, compositions and time changes are so technically adept that I wouldn’t blame anyone if they thought they’d stumbled upon a new Kamelot release by accident. It’s interesting to note by the way that Rhapsody (Of Fire) vocalist Fabio Lione replaced the departed Khan on Kamelot’s 2011 ‘Pandemonium’ tour as if to prove my point on the band comparisons.

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Completed by ex Crimson Wind powerhouse drummer Claudio Florio, with Di Matteo doubling-up on keyboards and Campione handling the bass parts, this extravagant three-piece create technical Metal of the highest order. And to think most people consider Rush to have exclusivity on three-piece avant-garde musicality? Now there’s a thing! Recorded in March and April of this year at their own DabliuRec studios in Palermo, Di Matteo and Simone have done a fabulous job with the production and mixing that it’s possible to hear all the nuances and subleties contained within this disc. For example there is simply a beautifully exquisite mid section harmonised guitar solo on ‘Beyond The Mist’ that deserves to be put on repeat play as it is simply so gorgeous to listen to and completely unexpected as it appears to come from nowhere such is the dramatic structural change contained within the piece. A crying shame it wasn’t longer!

The Kamelot comparisons are plastered all over opening track ‘Mistery’ with the high-end vocalising, double bass drumming and marching rhythms allied to Campione’s Speed Metal attacks. The rhythmic riffing and keyboard and guitar duelling raise the pace of ‘Frozen Paradise’ after a classical overture and melancholic vocal phrasing intro, whilst ’11 September’, almost certainly based on the twin tower attacks, powers along on a strong riff with some terrific drumming. ‘Glass Room’ is full of complex rhythms and technical musicianship and the Helloween inspired ‘Awake’ is full of galloping riffs and frenetic drumming with keyboards intermittently dripping all over with the vocals kept breathless and soaring that it left me exhausted trying to keep up!

Quite simply, this is epic Power Metal at its finest!

Carl Buxton

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