Album Review: Krilloan – “Emperor Rising” (Power Metal)

Written by Valkyrjiaa

Krilloan  – Emperor Rising
> Power metal
> Sweden
> Release December 9
> Scarlet Records

Sometimes power metal takes you on some high-flying adventure across barren plains to fight dragons and wizards; other times, you’re sitting in some tavern, chugging down your tankard of ale listening to the tales being told around you. And with Krilloan you get BOTH!

Debuting in the metal world in 2021, Krilloan hit us hard with the EP Stories of Times Forgotten—an EP filled with fire-breathing vocal prowess, blasting drums, and sensational guitar riffs that took the community by storm. With Alex VanTrue (vocals), Klas Holmgren (guitars), Steve Brockmann (guitars), Marco Toba (bass), and Cristoph Brandes (drums), Krilloan have only started their gallop on the battlefield of metal. Taking the power metal genre deep into their hearts, Krilloan hammer out each tune with the genre-honouring foundations of speed, melody, and epicness worthy of a story being retold over and over again!

Their newest album Emperor Rising solidifies those foundations, taking up the fantasy themes common to the genre but twisting them into the beyond. Krilloan—based around Swedish guitarist Klas Holmgren, have set their sights on one destiny—to bring the POWER back into power metal with heavy-hitting, fist-punching-the-air, catchy anthems!

Unveiling the album’s themes is the speedy intro “Prince of Caledor”. This track comes in on blistering riffs, soaring through the sky on dragon-back to pelt us with fiery melody and unstoppable speed. It’s the recount of the legendary prince, a dragon tamer, and savior to the world that is recited in lyrics “On silver wings he ride, with thousands by his side / The dragonborn / The prince of Caledor”. It’s a song that really drives you forward, with fist in the air, ready to climb on your own dragon to join forces with the prince, taking to the skies to fight against the dark gods!

The second track “Sons of the Lion” debuted with a spectacular lyric video a month prior to the album release. Speckled with images of robotic warfare against an apocalyptic backdrop, the speed of the first track continues into this one, knocking us back with deeper drum beats to become a battle-heavy anthem. “No one knows, the secrets we keep / Unforgiven, rejecting deliverance” drops us into a verse that captivates, leading us to wonder who or what could’ve made these war-forged warriors fight in this endless nightmare. Filled with head-banging riffs and legendary solos, this track packs in the spotlights on vocals, guitars, and beyond!

“Fireborn” comes in with a thunderous roar, piquing my attention with its infectious riff and heated melody from the moment it kicks up. An older track that’s been redone and remastered for this album, the roots are tended but the sound is expanded. Keeping haste, vocals go deeper, stronger in their lyrical execution. “We, who shatter the shields of brave men on the fields / We strike from the night, your leaders they will fall / We’re coming for your lives / Blacken the world and the sky” not only holds intensity but depth in the simply painted imagery it creates of these fearsome warriors who have no fear, and never stand down. I can’t get enough of the rapid drumming that enhances this song’s passion, keeping the heat of battle strong from start to finish as velvet solos slash through, and Alex’s vocal range really comes through in the clutch—showing us not only the ascension we expect but, the ferocious lows needed to bring impact to such a fiery tale.

The title track flies in with a tremendous battle cry, and goes into a full blown speed run with music and lyrics kicking things up to ten! Alex’s vocals are cranked for this track, taking speed and highs beyond cloud cover and toward the sun as this track shatters shields and melts like dragon flame. With one of the meatiest solos on the album, the instrumentals of this track are exquisite, each one coming through in a way that does not outdo the others but, allows for feature to really showcase this band’s passion and skill.

“Break of Dawn (Brothers in Arms)” slows the pace, bringing a ballad into the fray and showcasing the band’s ability to touch on all the beats true to the power metal heart. Still, the strength is there, with a heavy melody that gets fists into the air, and lighters light to sway along with each verse. To recount the fallen, and the battles that have come and gone, the lyrics state “Stories bold! History told! Knowledge of old!”, instilling the tales that are told from one generation to the next with the same passion as those whom the story is sung about.

Striking like lightning is “Into the Storm” that hammers us with the relentless drums once again. Speed absolutely conquers in this track, with mind-blowing guitar work and drum beats cracking down upon us like rolling thunder and repeated flashes of lightning. Wild battle cries, and heated string work come in like torrential downpours on this track, making for one hell of a battle hymn that really gets the heart pumping.

Following the rhythm is “Stormlight” that’s unique blend of rapid drumming and guitar breaks lured me in for a deeper listen. Whether by the hundreds or the few, this track stands with a strength untouched. “Stormlight runs through my veins, freedom follows honour,” is only a sample of the chorus’ adrenaline-boosting might. Featuring one of the deepest and most repeated-listen solos (at least for me) on the album, this song goes heavy in every aspect. From lyrical simplicity turned epic, to savage guitars and shattering drums, the wind down you’d expect for this album is absolutely blown away with this eccentric, and highly catchy track.

Final track “Angel’s Sacrifice” may sound cheesy at first but, it goes just as hard as the others on this album, if not more so. To come down softly and sweetly would not be the power metal way, and Krilloan keeps pace with this powerful end. “Upon wings of fire, they arrive” builds us up to a ballad-like chorus that not only creates imagery of biblical proportions but, is done so with fire, blood, and crushed stone to really amplify the power of this track.

The Bottom Line

If someone listens to this and doesn’t go “Hell yeah—now THAT’S Power Metal,” then they don’t actually have ears and are likely some sort of weird cyborg. It’s got the fantasy theme DOWN, recounting epic stories about dragon-riding, bloody battles, and corrupt gods that fill this album with power, speed, and brutality! The combination of deep bass, blistering drums, drool-worthy guitars, and ear-splitting vocals allows for each lyrical piece to not only come across with the intensity and passion like that of a heated D&D session, but is beautifully painted in the mind by even the simplest verses.

Truly an album that has to be heard for itself so you can join in each epic adventure as I did, and really nod your head with arms firmly folded to say “%@#$ yeah – that’s POWER Metal!