Jori : The two albums of the Finnish Olympos Mons, Conquistador and Medivil, are among the CDs I still play on a regular basis after some years. These albums never got the recognition they deserved, but the beautiful and rich sounding power metal of these gents, combined with a wide range of additional instruments (that did not come from a keyboard for a change) made these two CDs unforgettable as far as I am concerned. My curiosity was aroused immediately when I got the promo of the self-titled debut of Astralion. Astralion features two members of Olympos Mons (which split up some years ago), vocalist Ian Highhill and Bassist Dr. K. Lundell. My expectations of this CD are high, can the group live up to it?
On opener ‘Mysterious & Victorious’ it is evident that once again, we are talking about symphonic power metal of a high level. During the 70 minutes this album lasts you are treated to everything that makes this genre so great: both fast and melodramatic passages, beautiful keyboards, powerful guitars and of course a vocalist with one heck of a voice, in this case Ian Highhill, whose voice has not lost any of its enchanting charm. Comparisions with Olympos Mons are plentiful, though we can also hear the French group Heavenly and in the keyboard lines the influence of Stratovarius is evident. Highlights on the album are The Oracle’, ‘Computerized Love’ (with an obvious wink to the seventies), epic closer ‘Last Man On Deck’ and the videoclip ‘At The Edge Of The World’ that you can watch below.
The two former member of Olympos Mons did not make much effort of cloaking their history and so this has become an album full of beautiful and rich sounding power metal. Still, this is not a new edition of an old history book and a number of differences can be noticed. The broad selection of instruments that made the Olympos Mons albums so special is not present on ‘Astralion’. This album also features more diverse lyrics and this is what sets the group apart from most other bands in the genre. The band itself describes it most fitting with their motto: "Forget the dragon, forget the sword, here's true power from the chord!" The term true power is truly justified here and so this album is obligatory material for all fans of (symphonic) power metal.