7/10

In the wake of Helloween’s grand return with their eponymous album, there’s the risk that other groups in the power metal genre fall beyond radar. That’s a pity, considering the talents of bands such as Sweden’s Vandor. This is a fivesome with raw energy and stellar musicianship (featuring virtuoso guitar and synth solos) as well as great song-writing skills. In fact, labelling Vandor pure power metal is doing them a disservice. On this album, for example, there’s the gorgeous campfire ballad “On a moonlit night”, far distant from any notion of metal. Also, there’s the seventeen minutes of “The sword to end all wars” with enough twists and turns to place it firmly in the world of prog. Come to think of it, the voice of Vandor’s singer Vide Bjerde sometimes resembles Magic Pie’s Eirikur Hauksson.

And first and foremost there’s the brilliant pop metal of “Endless sea”, which points to the pomp rock of fellow Swedes ACT (or all the way to Von Hertzen Brothers?). That tune is an emotional bomb including what might be this year’s strongest chorus. Elsewhere, there are songs written to a more traditional power metal pattern, and although nothing on this album comes close to being below par, those three songs mentioned possess the power to capture my heart heavily.

For fans of Helloween, Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, DragonForce, Twilight Force, Queen, Rainbow says the press release. I ain’t complaining.

 

Band: Vandor
Title: On a Moonlit Night
Label: Scarlet
Date of release: 2021/07/16
Rate: 7/10
Stand Out Track: Endless Sea
Country of origin: Sweden