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Emerald - 'Reckoning Day' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/88/9f/2f/Emerald-Reckoning-Day-29-1497037197.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 09, 2017    
 
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A well recorded, interesting release from a band that can play hard and heavy, with a decent dose of melody thrown in for good measure.

'Reckoning Day' is the seventh studio album from six-piece Swiss Rockers 'Emerald'. This is the first release with current singer Mace Mitchell, who replaced American singer George Call due to the inherent difficulties in working over long distances. Two songs recorded by Call have still been included here, with the remainder all being sung by Mitchell.

The first half of the album is made up of a selection of songs – including 'Only The Reaper Wins', 'Black Pyramid' and 'Evolution In Reverse' – that all feature driving rhythms like Accept or Sabaton alongside dual-guitar work in the vein of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy. The track 'Beyond Forever' throws in a bit of a curve ball, with a nicely constructed, strong power ballad reminiscent of Guns 'N' Roses, Poison or even Bon Jovi. The first half then concludes with the Maiden-esque 'Ridden By Fear'.

The second half of the album is a mini concept piece, with songs following a thread based on the factual novel 'Der Löwe von Burgund' (The Lion of Burgundy), written by none other than the bands keyboard player Thomas Vaucher. I would have to admit to knowing very little about European history in the fifteenth century, but a bit of Googling and translation software tells me that this is the story of the rise and fall of the Burgundian Empire at the French/Swiss border, under the rule of Charles the Bold in the fifteenth century.

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"Doch es ist auch die Geschichte von Rudolf Stalder und Georg Wyler, zwei Berner Soldaten, die in die Wirren der Burgunderkriege geraten und letztendlich das Schicksal ganz Europas verändern."

The concept arc starts with 'Mist Of The Past', which is a short keyboard instrumental with an overlaid dialogue setting up the background for the following songs. Keyboards are much more prevalent in these tracks, with some fine work going on in the intros and in the background, holding everything together. The "Limited Edition" version contains a bonus track, 'End Of The World', which starts with a TL type dual guitar intro before shooting off at a tangent with Accept-like Speed Metal riffing, before morphing into a Maiden gallop; it's like three different songs all moulded into one.

Overall, a well recorded, interesting release from a band that can play hard and heavy, with a decent dose of melody thrown in for good measure. Stand out tracks for me are 'Horns Up' as it captures everything the band does well, and 'Beyond Forever', which is a fine power ballad that almost seems out of place on this album.

Chris Mee

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