Jori : Orion’s Reign is power metal in the vein of Rhapsody and its fifty thousand mostly inferior rip-offs. This means grand cinematic bombastics, opera-like vocals with a lot of yelling, more grand cinematic bombastics and next to that also some grand cinematic bombastics. You are not reading my OCD here, but a rather brief description of what you can hear on this album. Do not expect the subtle balance between orchestra and metal that makes Rhapsody so amazing, because also Orion’s Reign chooses to drown the metal part in the sea of strings and blowers.
In comparison to many other bands in the genre that mostly use keyboards, Orion’s Reign does in fact use a real orchestra to create all those bombastics. From opener ‘Elder Blood’ on it is clear that this was a smart move, because there is literally nothing to commend on when it comes to the quality of the sound. Alas, the guitars are a bit low in the mix, but a lot is compensated for by the choice for an actual guitar solo and not ADHD keyboard whining. On ‘Together We March’, Tim Ripper Owens sings a guest role and that is another smart move, because his clear metal sound makes a welcome alternation on the opera voice of Daniel Vasconcelos. His voice is beginning to annoy when we get to ‘The Gravewalker’,and the irritation does not vanish with ‘The Undefeated Gaul’. To make things worse, there is the completely ridiculous videoclip to that song, for goodness sake grow up! With ‘Adventure Song’ the CD recollects itself, some folky elements and lighter music bring some diversity to the music. Warrior’s Pride’ and ‘Last Stand’ are two more songs that are very listenable, but the rest is a lot of the same and also a bit too much in itself.
‘Scores Of War’ is definitely not a bad record, but the enormous overdose of symphony and the exaggerated opera vocals tend to work on the nerves over time. Each of the single songs on this album is definitely more than okay, but I did not yet succeed in listening to the whole album without hitting the pause button while grumbling “holy crap, make him shut his hole!” That kind of diminishes the whole listening experience.