Fireworks

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Messenger - 'Starwolf Pt.2: Novastorm' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     March 01, 2016    
 
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Well executed, precisely delivered, bone crunching Power Metal.

A classic Power Metal troupe from Neunkirchen in Southern Germany, Messenger have been active for about a decade or so if their record company bio (and Facebook page) is to be taken at face value, although I'm led to believe that an earlier incarnation released a couple of albums as long ago as the early nineties... but hey ho.

This act is heavily influenced by stoic German Metal institutions such as Running Wild, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Rage as well as the odd nod towards the likes of HammerFall and Stratovarius. From a lyrical perspective, they seem to operate in a sort of Sci-Fi fantasy netherworld where the eternal "good vs. evil" struggle adopts a persona of intergalactic proportions, but musically speaking that blend of kerosene fuelled riffs, firestorm vocals and shredding solos is much more grounded!

Follow-up to 2013's 'Starwolf Pt.1: The Messengers' set, this latest release continues the "epic" saga of intergalactic intrigue – I won't waste time trying to explain the, at times, somewhat over convoluted plot – they've even changed their names to adopt the personas of the five space pirates involved! All a tad silly really if you ask me (cheesy to the extreme even), but if you can get past that, the musical sojourn it envelops is actually fairly substantial.

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Aside from track four 'Frozen', which unashamedly rips off Dio's 'Don't Talk To Strangers' riff, the rest of the fare on offer is generally pitched somewhere between GR and RW. Colossal walls of riffs, rapid fire lead breaks and gritty vocal screams are de rigueur; I have to say that as a guy who would put RW on his "Guilty Pleasures" list any day of the week, they're pretty good at it!

Bombastically overblown, opener 'Sword Of The Stars' is a strutting statement of intent of near Manowar proportions; all macho bravado and "have it!" swagger yet somehow strangely compelling. Following track 'Privateer's Hymn' sees Messenger edge in to BG territory, whilst the altogether darker, more menacing (chorus aide) 'Wings Of Destiny' heads more towards Rage and their ilk. And, having established a solid framework (the odd moody intro piece aside), the remainder of the album continues in similar fashion... punishing riffs galore characterising 'Wild Dolly', 'Pleasure Synth', the sprawling 'Fortress Of Freedom' et al.

Well executed, precisely delivered, bone crunching Power Metal.

Dave Cockett

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