Albion - Campanula
This is the debut album from Japan’s Albion, a relatively new all-girl Metal band that plays a keyboard-heavy form of Power Metal that sounds somewhat like a Gothic Metal version of Cyntia. Like Cyntia, the keyboards provide the bulk of the heavy lifting, delivering both the atmospheric elements as well as more orchestral/symphonic parts. Keyboardist Saki Hasegawa is obviously a skilled player and while the other members of the group do step in and occasionally add some technical flair, she’s the one you notice the most. The music is fairly well executed, but there are some parts of Campanula that need to be worked on. A few of the songs, such as “Paranoia,” don’t flow as well as they should, and the songwriting and style are on the uneven side. The songs themselves don’t suck, but there are things that could have been done better. “Paranoia” stands out the most as an example of the band’s inexperience. The music sounds like something out of a carnival for a fair portion of the song, and the general atmosphere seemed off. When you compare it to the other tracks, it lacks the same Gothic/Classical air. It disrupts the flow of the album and that’s what does the most damage. Though Albion has a lot of skills, they need some time to develop as a band. That and considerable rehearsal can iron out many of the group’s problems. My guess is that Albion may have rushed a bit to get this LP out. For a band as young as Albion is, having a debut album come out not long after their first single is released seemed a bit too soon for me. This may have been a stronger release had it been an EP, showcasing their best material, reserving the others for a time when everything has been tightened up and the wrinkles smoothed. When Albion can get things right, the band shines. They’ve got a long way to go before they’re serious contenders, but potential is here. If they can get a competent studio engineer (one that knows how to record Metal, because the bass drum tone on this sounds horrible) and put together enough solid songs, people are going to take notice. It might not happen overnight, but in a couple of years, we might be mentioning Albion in the same breath as bands like Aldious, Mary’s Blood and Destrose.
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