Written by Mass
- Artist: Warkings
- Album: Revenge
- Genre: Power Metal
- Release Date: July 31st, 2020
- Country: International
- Highlights: Warriors – Sparta – Warking – Odin’s Sons – Freedom
- Rating: 8.4
Knights Within the Heart, Servants of the Blood
A legion of 4+1 warriors of various lands (and times!) have invaded the metal scene for the second time. This time to have their Revenge upon the adversary. A Viking, a Tribune, a Spartan and a Crusader have teamed up with the Queen of the Dammed to deliver a stout, boisterous and enticing album for those who hunger for grandeur and are thirsty for glory!
Let me set the record straight right at the beginning of this review. Revenge is NOT a groundbreaking, revolutionary or innovative album. It is not intended to be. It is supposed to be a decent power metal album with a lot of quality music to provide for the listener some entertaining moments and some recess from the mundane life of this putrid year. In this light, Warkings’ sophomore release is pretty much what it had hoped to be. And we are happy with that.
If there is one thing that power metal is good at and known for, it is having catchy, epic riffs that move the listener and incite emotions of pride, honor, glory and other (rather) forgotten or curbed sentiments. Such riffs can be found plentifully all through this record. From the opening track, Freedom, up until the end of the bonus track, Sparta, these elegant riffs hog the limelight and the result is that the audience is hooked on the songs. Almost all of them showcase this allure, only to be fortified by other instruments later. Among the superlative tracks, riff-wise, I can name Battle of Marathon or Freedom and even Sparta, which is a borrowed and retouched track from Reborn (2018) featuring the Queen of the Damned.
Besides captivating riffs, the guitars also deliver melody on some occasions to an extent one might consider this a melodic power metal record. Fight in the Shade and Azrael have oriental touches, much like those implemented more often and more strongly by Myrath or Orphaned Land. On the other hand, Odin’s Sons and Warriors resemble the sound of Swedish melodic death bands, such as Amon Amarth or King of Asgard. Add to all this tremendous guitarwork all the skillful solos which are present on all tracks. From fierce shreds (Warriors or Mirror, Mirror) to more subtle expressions (Maximus), the solos are a highlight of the album. So, two huge thumbs up to our Crusader for this outstanding job.
Third most prominent feature of the album is the vocals. Despite the fact that all members are hidden behind a veil of secrecy, it is rather impossible to conceal the identity of your vocalist, especially when he is in such a well-known band as Serenity. Georg Neuhauser executes signing tasks with diligence; it is standard and satisfactory for a power metal album. He may not excel several of his counterparts (like Hansi Kursch of Blind Guardian or Roy Khan of Conception and ex-Kamelot), but together with Melissa Bonny (of Rage of Light, Ad Infinitum and Malefistum), they have built an atrocious duo. They are a reverse “beauty and the beast” pair and that augments their appeal. Surely, Melissa brings so much to the table and can change the game for Warkings. I do wish to see her more often and even perhaps as the fifth warrior!
The Spartan drummer is the final face-card for this game. He surely knows the tricks of the game, creating a diverse and dynamic atmosphere throughout the album and making his presence felt without being domineering and intimidating for the rest of the crew, avoiding a pitfall many gifted but inexperienced drummers fall into. What leaves some room for improvement, or rather some room for expression, however, is the bass. Our Viking bassist is lost somewhere in the mix. Despite having high-caliber production, this record does not let the full potential of the bass blossom and he remains in the dark crevasses of the album.
Another point that left me wishing for more was in fact the lyrics. They were about trite subjects in the genre (the same old war, glory, battle, kings, yada yada yada) and they were unripe in some cases (Mirror, Mirror). Even though we did have subject matters from different areas, such as Scotland (I particularly like William Wallace’s quote from the movie Braveheart at the end of Freedom), Scandinavia, Germany, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome, the art of poetry was insufficient. The song structure, just the same, lacked novelty and diversity; we have “intro – verse 1 – chorus – verse 2 – chorus – solo – chorus – outro” for all the songs! Not even once do they break from this format to present something more profound. I assume they could have spent more time on song-writing.
Overall, Revenge is a solid power metal release: it excites and entertains the listener with upbeat, catchy and stage-friendly riffs, strong vocal combination of melodic power metal screams and fierce death metal growls and prevailing drumming. But let us not forget that much of the band’s magnetism is rooted in their anonymity and fascinating image, rather than music per se. And I for one, enjoy that!
- Lyrics: 7.5
- Artwork: 9.0
- Musicianship: 8.5
- Vocals: 8.5
- Overall: 8.4