We at The Right To Rock are not shy about our love for the classic metal sounds of NWoBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Apparently, German metallers Gloryful feel similarly, as evidenced on their excellent sophomore release Ocean Blade.
Continuing the tale of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna (as depicted on the cover thanks to Belgian artist Kris Verwimp) that was started with their 2010 debut EP Sedna's Revenge, the lads have made a fine concept album in the mold of their influences with all of the bells and whistles you'd expect from the form; moody ocean soundscapes, majestic harmonized guitars, soulful wailing, and even a sea shanty for good measure. It's all here and it's as good as anything in the genre. Singer Johnny la Bomba knows his way around a chorus, and his powerful voice works well even in the lighter moments, as on the aforementioned Black Legacy, where his slight rasp lends authenticity to the tale of a weary sailor bemoaning his fate. But such an album is all about the guitars, and Gloryful has this covered. Shredmaster J.B. (Jens Basten) has a career going back over 20 years and it shows in his tasteful solos which have well-balanced aspects of shred and soul.
My only one complaint would be the production, which got a little muddy at times. I say this in comparison to Savatage's take on the concept, 1997's The Wake of Magellan. Things seemed a little closed in on this album, giving the feeling that there wasn't enough space for the music. Again, it's just a minor concern, and possibly just my issue involving my stereo's settings.
The Bottom Line: If you're hankering for some old school, European heavy metal with all the trimmings, check out Gloryful's Ocean Blade. Its tale of a doomed crew on a suicide mission to stop a murderous wraith hell-bent on revenge is told in classic NWoBHM style. What this music may lack in innovation is more than made up for with heart and confidence - something newer bands should keep in mind.
- Genghis wants to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl now...