CD Reviews

Victorius - 'The Awakening' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 25, 2013    
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Debut album from Leipzig based newcomers Victorius.

Having found myself suitably impressed of late with a clutch of symphonic/power metal releases from bands such as Hibria, ReinXeed, Sandstone and Embersland (amongst others), I was understandably hopeful when 'The Awakening', the debut album from Leipzig based newcomers Victorius landed on my desk for review. After all, precision engineering is a German speciality right? So, when I finally sat down to listen to what they had to offer, the difference between what I was expecting and what I actually got was quite perplexing ... and sadly not all for the right reasons.

First some background on the band. As far as I can ascertain they've been active for the last 6-7 years, and in that time seem to have amassed quite a sizeable following on the underground circuit in and around Saxony. To their credit, they independently released their nine track debut 'Unleash The Titans' a few years ago; and whilst locally sales were strong, it wasn't until they came to the attention of Freedom Call's Lars Rettkovitz that things started to happen on a wider scale. Now signed to Sonic Attack (a new label put together by former Noise Records MD Karl Walterbach), their sophomore album 'the Awakening' has been picked up for wider distribution through SPV.

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The accompanying biog claims that 'The Awakening' is an album that will be "lapped up by fans of the likes of Gamma Ray, HammerFall, Mystic Prophecy and Stormwarrior", and whilst its certainly in that ball park, in terms of developmental memorability it's closer to the latter two than the former pairing. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with tracks such as 'Age Of Tyranny', 'Under Burning Skies' or 'Starfire', it's just that the over reliance on breakneck rifferama means they come across as rather generic and one-dimensional most of the time.

Technically speaking they're extremely proficient players and in terms of melody, when they do slow it down they show a pretty solid grasp of construction ... it's just that for my tastes they don't inject enough variety in pace to make them memorable on a grander scale. That said, when they do slow it down – check out 'Demon Legions' for example – the results are that much more impressive from a lay perspective. Another plus point in their favour is the production (courtesy of Rettkovitz); suitably crisp and powerful in many respects it highlights and accentuates the obvious technical dexterity within the band.

On balance I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with 'The Awakening', but if they can mix things up a little more and become less dependent on those galloping riffs, I see no reason why they can't have some sort of future ... at least on the European circuit.

Dave Cockett

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