Aldaria – “Land of Light”


Back in 1247, an ancient scroll believed to be written by God himself describing a world unknown to mankind was found deep in a tomb below what was the city of Babylon.  Hear the story as a metal rock opera performed by 18 musicians and 16 vocalists in a project by Memorized Dreams guitarist Frode Hovd.

Once upon a time, Frode Hovd had a vision for a metal rock opera.  The Norwegian guitarist went out and recruited  a host of musicians and vocalists well-known for European power metal.   Just to make sure the project stayed true to his vision, Hovd wrote and produced the album had it mixed by Roland Grapow (Masterplan) and mastered by Jacob Hansen (Primal Fear, Volbeat, Doro) at Hansen Studios.  The story itself involves a “lost gospel” of Aldaria, long hidden in a cave, where Aldaria represents a place and dimension between Heaven and Hell where the fallen are reborn as angels and where sinners come to be redeemed or forever banished to hell.  In some apocalyptic turn, beings known as Lightbringers who keep the peace in Aldaria will be called upon for the first time to stem the fall of man.  Granted, some will shudder at that concept given how far it strays from Christianity as described in the Bible, but one can see how this would make for a good fantasy story.

As one might expect, Land of Light opens up with a moody, atmospheric instrumental that sets the general tone for the album.  Toward the end of  “Excitare Ad Lucem”, there is a choral vocal section and the song abruptly ends with the opening guitar riff of “Another Life” breaking the ever so brief silence.  Musically,  Land of Light is a collection of well-written and performed European power metal songs.  Guitars play a lead role in many of the songs with some great riffs and blistering solos, while the rhythm section makes a strong contribution to the overall sound, bass thumping along and drums pounding.  Vocals are strong, soaring with varying tones and the different ranges of the various singers all working well with the music.  Production is clean and the sound mix is literally perfect.  All of this is quite a feat considering the various combinations of 18 musicians and 16 vocalists involved in this project.  Yes, many of the songs do seem like they might be from different bands but that is because they likely are but the songs are composed in such a way that even with the changing cast, every song sounds like it belongs.  I read that one of the aims was to create music in the vein of Helloween and that would be an apt comparison.

The album is not all fast power metal and does slow down a bit for the power ballads “Sands of Time” and “Trail of Tears”, both of which open up with some near sorrowful piano.  The relative quietness in parts of both songs does serve to highlight the great vocals and while normally, I would not be a fan of these songs, they make sense within the context of the unfolding story being told in the album.  What makes me happy is that the next song in both cases is filled with some rapid double bass drumming that serves as a great contrast.

Toward the end of the album is the epic 12 minute long “Land of Light”, which essentially captures the full spectrum of sounds on the album.  Slower melodic sections give way to double-bass driven runs and an overall majestic feel that is further enhanced by several great guitar solos and an ending group chorus that provides that vision of  the end of a great concert when the band is winding down the last song and the entire crowd is singing along.

After listening to Land of Light, setting a fantasy story to power metal seems like such an obviously perfect mix and when you add in an all-star cast of musicians and vocalists and spend time and effort to do the production and mixing, it gets that much better.

Rating: 9/10

Written by John Jackson

01. Excitare Ad Lucem
02. Another Life
03. Guardians of the Light
04. Sands of Time
05. Lost in the Darkness Below
06. Test of Time
07. Trail of Tears
08. Where Reality Ends
09. From the Ashes
10. Land of Light
11. Answers in a Dream

Band Members:
Frode Hovd ( Memorized Dreams) – Guitars & Synths
Christer Harøy (Divided Multitude) – Guitars
Jimmy Hedlund (Falconer) – Lead Guitars
Roland Grapow (Masterplan) – Guitars
Eskild Kløften (Divided Multitude) – Guitars
Filip Koluš (Signum Regis) – Guitars
Rayner Harøy (Divided Multitude) – Bass
Mike LePond (Symphony X) – Bass
Ronnie König (Signum Regis) – Bass
Filip Andel (Within Silence) – Bass
Kenneth Skarsvaag (Memorized Dreams) – Bass
Andreas Nergård (Nergard) – Drums/Synths
Uli Kusch (ex Helloween) – Drums
Robert Myrhaug (Memorized Dreams) – Drums
Mistheria (Mistheria) – Synths
Peter Danielsen (Darkest Sins) – Synths
Gabriels (Gabriels) – Synths
Peter Crowley’s Fantasy Dream – Synths

Fabio Lione – Rhapsody of Fire
Todd Michael Hall – Riot V
RIck Altzi – Masterplan
Mathias Blad – Falconer
Jonas Heidgert – Dragonland
Tommy ReinXeed- ReinXeed
Yannis Papadopoulos – Wardrum
Rob Lundgren – Rob Lundgren
David Åkesson – Qantice
Marit Minniva Børresen – Marit Børresen
PelleK – PelleK
Bernt Fjellestad – Guardians Of Time
Vasilis Georgiou – Sunburst
Sigfried Samer – Dragony
Kristoffer Göbel – ex Destiny / ex Falconer
Mina Giannopoulou

Record Label: Pride & Joy Music, March 2017

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Instagram / iTunes

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Lyric video for ‘Symphony of the Night’


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