CUSTARD - A Realm Of Tales
June 24, 2017, a year ago
Always enjoyed these goofy named, under-the-radar Germans, plying their country's leading export; quality heavy metal. On their sixth full-length (and only release since 2012), it's ten shining examples of Teutonic precision (not including the opening “Icy Stare” intro, which is just a gusting wintry wind instrumental, the aural embodiment of the album artwork, and girl voice-over “Snow Away”).
Speaking of the artwork, no less than three titles include the word “snow”. Lyrically, much of the material is well known fairy tales, Brothers Grimm or otherwise. The promo material calls their sound “power metal” but apart from parts of “The Pied Piper” or “Snow White” (yes, a re-telling of the children's story), Custard really have little in common with today's crop of keyboard enhanced, ultra-speed merchants, preferring to keep an old school, (often mid-tempo) meat & potatoes approach. By way of contrast, there's the opening, high register sung “Queen Of Snow” and staccato riffing begun “Witch Hunter”. With squeaky vocals, it comes closer to proto-thrash,than anything else. “The Little Match Girl” wouldn't be out of place on Crimson Glory's Transcendence or any post-Rage For Order Queensryche album. “Arabian Nights” has an appropriate Middle Eastern flavor. Not sure if they'll live happily ever after, but Custard weave a pleasant tale.