Wilco : The Finnish act Excalion came to me in 2007 as a cliché but very fresh sounding power metal band. ‘Waterlines’ was a sturdy but also airy album. The successor ‘High Time’ (2010) disappointed me, this album was more standard and sometimes even boring. With ‘Dream Alive’, the Finns are finally back with a new album after seven years. Singer Marcus is new and this is his first proof of life.
So what does the new album sound like?
The divine passion of 'Waterlines' has not yet returned, but ‘Dream Alive’ sounds more energetic and livelier than the previous album. The sound on this new disc is more aggressive and darker. Singer Marcus is not yet perfectly integrated. Sometimes he sounds pretty boring and also sometimes very convincing. Nevertheless, there are no false notes on this album. During the sparsely present solo passages it is clear he does have a good, voice. However, he could use some more power. Now, let us check out the music. Opener 'Divergent Falling' is a bloodless song which makes no sense. Successor 'Centenarian' is a lot better. This song radiates a lot more energy, sounds fresh and splendid. ‘Marching Masquerade’ however is another disappointment. These Fins seem to have adapted to the Dutch weather last month. Up and down. 'Amelia' is actually a real revival, and that is a quite accurate image of the entire album. Strong songs are interchanged with standard, little energetic tunes. The songs are becoming increasingly interesting at the end however, like for example 'Portrait On The Wall', a long, layered, song that is the highlight of the album.
When I read this review myself, I can imagine that you would think that we are dealing with a poor to moderate album. However, that is not the case. This power metal album is a lot better than the average we get here. It's just not as strong as 'Waterlines' was. In addition, we have recently been spoiled by albums of bands like Civil War, Nightmare, Orden Ogan, Iced Earth and Bloodbound. The level of these bands is just not reached. However, this album sounds more pure and upright than that of the bands mentioned. Everyone who loves a descent, entertaining power metal album will not be disappointed by this one. Just as those who are fond of fierce instrumentalism. There are many solo’s and thy do sound very nice indeed.