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19th May 2011

steve goldby

Holy Hell! This is a great album containing a lot more than most of the European style power/symphonic Metal albums that have been released since the turn of the century.

It stands on its own and transcends most other offerings from this genre. Must be that thumping bass beat on album opener 'Wings Of Light'. The song flies and grabs you effortlessly and doesn't let you go until the end. The production is better than anything I have heard for a long while.

The producer has managed to eliminate the usual flaws that you get on albums of this genre. He's got the vocals perfectly pitched and slotted in the 'trimmings' brilliantly. There are none of the usual flaws you often get on power Metal albums here.

I can name some really good power Metal albums that have been ruined by God-awful production. Here, the production enhances what is already a fabulous collection of emotive and powerful songs performed brilliantly by a band that deserve to go right to the top.

'Holyhell' is a thirteen song concept album that explores, both lyrically and musically, the eternal struggle between darkness and light, life and death, evil and divine and it works on many different levels.

'Revelation' and 'Eclipse' join together perfectly yet retain their individual identities and you won't lose the chorus to 'Eclipse' for a while...

Or maybe after you have heard 'The Fall' which is the album's 'ballad', for want of a better expression. This one will kill you. Or at least have a tear rolling down your face as the full force of the emotion within this epic track will hit you right between the eyes and floor you.

And then the mood changes completely as 'Angel Of Darkness' takes you on a spiritual journey through the dark place where Satan resides. Play this track at night with a candle lit and you will feel like you have ascended into the bowels of Hades but you will have no fear. 'Holy Water' will give you strength to look the fallen one square in the face and tell him to "fuck right off!"

The guitar solo on 'Holy Water' will make the fingers on your left hand play that imaginary guitar you dig out for special songs and you'll be needing it again for 'Gates Of Hell' which follows the instrumental, orchestral and very uplifting 'Mephisto'.

'Gates Of Hell' takes you right back to where you previously saw the fallen one and this time you are going to give him one almighty kick in the balls.

You are carried along by the riff and captivated by the vocal melody and once the chorus kicks in, you are lost in this cacophony of triumph. Listen or die!


Shadows of the God
Fly above the paradise
We once found
At the gates of light
Standing there, a dark knight
We will crown

And just when you think it cannot get any better, along comes the highlight of the album for me, the haunting yet triumphant 'Resurrection'. Music is the spice of life and if you have a friend who has had a hard time, play them this track and watch them rise from the darkness.

'Last Vison' carries on the triumphant theme, yet the atmosphere retains a melancholy and serious edge which brings a different dimension to this magnificent opus.

'Apocalypse' is the beginning of the end of the story and the album and takes us to Armageddon and Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Not the band, the actual four horsemen whose appearance signifies the end, as portrayed in the Book Of Revelations. The story continues into album closer 'Armageddon', whose searing vocal line and sweeping guitar make you feel like it is actually a new beginning.

The world is turning tonight
Stars are falling
Heaven's calling
Hell is alive
The moon is dark
And the sun won't give other light
The end has come

Maria is aided by inimitable players Joe Stump on guitar and former Manowar drummer Rhino. Bassist Jay Rigney and keyboardist Francisco Palomo (who has several degrees in music and theatre) complete this virtuosic line-up.

Mixing and mastering took place at Galaxy Studios in Belgium, one of Europe's most renowned studios, with award-winning mixing engineer Ronald Prent and two time Grammy Award winning mastering engineer Darcy Proper.

So who was the producer who got such a crystal clear sound and made a collection of great songs even greater? It was Joey DeMaio. Who else could it possibly have been...

I will say it again. Listen or die!

HolyHell: Resurrection
© 1999 Olsson, Andersson)

I ran too far
Fought too hard and lived too fast
Broke me down, tore me up
So I buried myself
Deep down in the blackest hole
There I slept, there I wept
All these tears I shed
Slowly healed my bleeding soul
It takes a fall to rise again
Inside of me
I'm ready to grow young again
Start the fire in this heart of ice

The time is right for me again so lift your eyes up to the sky
You'll see me dancing on the winds again

There's no more tears for me
Bring life to empty eyes
I will be once again
The tears from heaven dance

Tears from heaven fall
The fallen angels dance before my eyes
As I reach out from this womb
God save this world
I will walk upon it again
I will breathe, I will live

The time is right for me again so lift your eyes up to the sky
You'll see me dancing on the winds again

There's no more tears for me
Bring life to empty eyes
I will be once again
The tears from heaven dance

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