Jori : Well that has been a while, do we still know them? The Swizz band Emerald has been quiet for years now, and this surely had something to do with the departure of singer Thomas Winkler, who now has his focus on power metal jester act Gloryhammer. Concerns about change of vocalist #634 meaning the end of the band seemed to be needless, because the band strikes back with album number seven, appropriately called ‘Reckoning Day’.
Why appropriately? Well, the last few Emerald albums were not exactly top notch material due to their sudden modern sound. With ‘Reckoning Day’ the European power metal sound from the glory days does not return, no matter how much Gamma Ray they put in the artwork. The band has however, perfected their new style a lot further and that makes a way better album than the last few. Staff for the vacant spot of singer is sound in Mace Mitchell, of whom even the Metal Archives have never heard. ‘Reckoning Day’ is heavy, dark and yet it is power metal beyond any doubt, bringing up Iced Earth associations. Mace Mitchell has a pretty light and high voice, and in combination with the heavy music this gives a delightful wayward sound walking the middle track between the last two Emerald albums and a record like ‘Hymns To Steel’. Next to the typical headbangers like ‘Black Pyramid’ we can also find a beautiful ballad in ‘Beyond Forever’. Also George Call (Aska) sings along a few notes and makes among others ‘Evolution In Reverse’ a true jewel.
‘Mist Of The Past’ marks a transition in the album, the second part is conceptual and deals with “the Burgundian wars”, after a novel that the bands keyboard player wrote himself. The music obviously becomes more narrative, already evident with ‘Trees Full Of Fears’. The true crown jewel is found at ‘Signum Dei’, a seven minute epic that is just that bit more symphonic than the rest and also comes with a tasty piano bit.
All in all, Emerald delivered an excellent album in which they did a great job in perfecting their new style. One can only hope that the band has finally found a stable line-up and is able to guarantee some more continuity, not unimportant of you want to bind your fans. The music will definitely not be the hindrance to that, for the music is simply very good!