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Excalion: Dream Alive
Excalion - Dream Alive CD Album Review

Excalion: Dream Alive

Melodic/Heavy/Power Metal

With some certainty, I thought I had recently heard from Excalion, maybe in the last two years, and reviewed their latest album. Nope. The last album I had from them was 2007's Water Lines. Wow, that's ten years ago. While the band has been active since then, they haven't been all that consistent in output. Another album, High Times, surfaced in 2010, and then a huge seven year gap occurred. In 2017, Excalion arrives with their fourth studio album Dream Alive, with a new vocalist, Marcus Lang. It's a concept album of sorts, as the band suggests, "telling about a modern escapist who lives both the past and present, crafting his own realities."

Excalion  Band Photo


While my recollection of 2007's Water Lines is sketchy at best, Excalion's style of heavy metal is quite familiar. In the grand European tradition, they play melodic heavy power metal with all the signature elements: strong guitar harmony in riffs and leads, a sturdy and often galloping rhythm section, soaring, melodic, and clean vocals and arrangements, and a large keyboard presence.

That last element is significant since the principal song composer is founding member and keyboard player Jarmo Myllyvirta. His keyboards add everything from orchestration for a symphonic atmosphere (Deadwater Bay, Centenarian) to powerful solos (Amelia, One Man Kingdom) to simple delicate piano lines (Deadwater Bay, The Firmament). While the guitar lines don't take a back seat to the synths, at times both have a similar tone making them sometimes indistinguishable from each other. But, generally, the guitar solos are self-evident and soaring as within Centenarian, Living Daylights, or Portrait On The Wall.

As for Lang's vocals, he has a melodic, clean, and strong presence, yet can get somewhat screamo at times. Some of his best performances come within Divergent Falling, Marching Masquerade, and the soaring anthem Deadwater Bay. Finally, thanks to a crisp production in the mix (Tuomas Kokko at Electric Fox studio) and mastering (Brett-Caldas Lima at Tower Studio (Ayreon, Adagio)), Tero Vaaja's bass lines come through eloquently, with Marching Masquerade a fine example.

Fundamentally then, Excalion's Dream Alive is a fine return to form for the band, an exceptional and entertaining album of melodic power metal from this talented band. Hopefully we won't have to wait another seven years for the next one. Easily recommended. - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

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The Bottom Line

Excalion's Dream Alive is a fine return to form for the band, an exceptional and entertaining album of melodic power metal from this talented band. Easily recommended.

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