CD Reviews

Ancestral Dawn - 'Souldance'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 23, 2018    
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A mightily impressive introduction to a band that's sure to have a big future.

Forming Ancestral Dawn back in 2013, bassist Jorge Higginson quickly brought his ex-Nautiluz band-mate and singer Jorge Segersbol into the fold before adding guitarist Josue Castro, drummer Devadip Chunga and keyboard player Bryan Bello. 'Souldance' is the Peruvian outfit's Inca-inspired debut and a star-studded affair it is too. Even taking into account the wealth of Power Metal projects out there, you still have to sit up and take notice of an album that can boast vocal contributions from Ralf Scheepers, Amanda Somerville, Fabio Lione, Rick Altzi, Nathalie Markoch, Mark Boals and Jonas Heidgert; factor in a guest guitar slot from Roland Grapow and AD know how to grab your attention.

Thankfully, as is so often not the case in these circumstances, the most impressive aspect on 'Souldance' is the songs themselves; an early Helloween gallop combined with the strident bombast of Kamelot and a fiery guitar attack that goes straight for the throat. The main band certainly aren't outshone by the A-list guest; Castro, Chunga and Higginson hammering out a confident base from which everything else bursts forth, while Segersbol proves a mighty vocal foil for his illustrious partners.

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The only downside to bringing quite so many big names on-board is that while AD do have a strong and distinct character, there's a small element of Power Metal box-ticking going on. To be fair, it's more a case of Higginson hoping to ensure he plays to his guest's strengths. Therefore, the album (expectedly) opens with a good, if stereotypical atmospheric intro ('Endless Nightmare'), while 'Spiritual Flow' brings traditional South American instruments into play and somehow sounds very Folk Metal. Add in the growling-clean-male-female vocal interplay of 'Leading To Nowhere' and the ballad 'Whispers In The Grey', where Segersbol and Somerville play it reasonably safe, and you can be left yearning for Ancestral Dawn to dare to be a little different. That said, the strength of this band is their ability and willingness to really put the pedal down and pelt along at full velocity. 'StormHaze', 'The Traveller', 'Rise Of The Ancestor' and the hugely memorable 'Enter The Shaman' are all prime slabs of Power Metal majesty.

'Souldance' may not be perfect, but with a stellar cast, sparkling sound and enough Metallic bite to take your head clean off, it's a mightily impressive introduction to a band that's sure to have a big future.

Steven Reid

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