Gathering of Kings – Enigmatic

9/10

What struck me while listening to the third release from Swedish supergroup extraordinaire, Gathering of Kings, was that I not only experienced joy because of the high quality of the music presented but also the bittersweet tinge of melancholy. Ok, let me explain myself here a bit before I get on with it. The aforementioned melancholy derives from a sense of inequity, if you will. Because I am a 100% certain that if “Enigmatic” and its predecessors had been published and pushed by a solid record company and management back in the late 80s or early 90s they would have been superstars. We’re talking Bon Jovi-big here. Because you could pick pretty much any of the 13 songs on here and release them as singles. The quality of the material is that strong, once again.

Alas, that is not the case but in a fair world they would have been up there, rubbing shoulders with the greats and rightly so since this album marks the bands remarkable hattrick of melodic hardrock excellence. As the impresario as well as handling the guitar duties and writing the songs, main man Victor Olsson from the equally brilliant band, Saffire, once again delivers an album that is simply filled to the brim with, well… hits I guess you have to call them, there’s no other word for it.

The line-up presented on Enigmatic represents some of the finest line ups of singers this side of Ayreon and that is saying something indeed. How about (deep breath…): Jonny Lindkvist (Nocturnal Rites), Rick Altzi (Masterplan, Herman Frank, solo), Apollo Papathanasio (Spiritual Beggars, Evil Masquerade, ex-Majestic, Time Requiem, Meduza), Tobias Jansson (Saffire) and lyricist and singer Alexander Frisborg (Karess, Helldog). Pew! But wait a minute here, there’s more! To top off things, famed Swedish vocalists Nanne Grönwall, Maria Rådsten and keyboardist Peter Grönwall from One More Time makes a great guest apperance on “Feed You My Love”.

As I hinted above, finding superb songs on here is easier than learning the fine art of breathing but I’ll fire off a collection of tunes that I believe will be perfect for that summery mix tape. Start off by grabbing the punchy and catchy “The Prophecy” featuring the amazing voice of Saffire’s Tobias Jansson, continue on with the magnificently melodic “A Rainbow and a Star” featuring the timeless vocal chords of Jonny Lindkvist and then go for the powerful and potent opener, the quite Treat-esque “Vagabond Rise” (Jonny Lindkvist again) and you have a trio of Phenomena(l!) songs.

Of course the instrumentalists deserve a mention as this is just as well played as we have come to expect when Gathering of Kings are concerened:

Victor Olsson (Guitars), Magnus Mild (Guitars), Mikael Planefeldt (Bass), Jonas Källsbäck (Drums),  Efraim Larsson (Drums) and Joel Selsfors (Keyboards). Backing vocals: Victor Olsson, Apollo Papathanasio, Rick Altzi.

So here we are then. Another fantastic record from Gathering of Kings and one that I hope sells better than ice cream in the Sahara desert and turns them into a household name. It’s one of those lovely records that you can recommend to almost anyone as the appeal is about as universal as hardrock can be, if you ask me.

Thank you to Gathering of Kings for all the awesome tunes and special thank YOU, dear reader for making it through my labyrinthine review!

Cheers/ Marty

Band: Gathering of Kings
Title: Enigmatic
Rating: 9/10
Label: RN Records
Playing time: 53.09
Date of release: 29th July 2022
Standout tracks: Feed You My Love, The Prophecy, A Rainbow and a Star

Tracklist:

01. Galacticus
02. Vagabond Rise
03. Here Be Dragons
04. Firefly
05. How The Mighty Have Fallen
06. A Rainbow And A Star
07. The Prophecy
08. Feed You My Love (feat. One More Time)
09. Clone Trooper
10. Long Kiss Goodnight
11. New Life
12. Lionheart
13. Fool’s Cabaret (CD Bonus Track)

Gathering of Kings – Enigmatic

August 4, 2022

"...you could pick pretty much any of the 13 songs on here and release them as singles. The quality of the material is that strong, once again."

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