MARC HUDSON - Starbound Stories
September 17, 2023, 2 weeks ago
The Dragon’s tongue takes aim at the Land Of The Rising Sun on Marc Hudson’s debut full-length album Starbound Stories. The DragonForce singer shows his love and appreciation for Japanese culture, gaming, and anime on Starbound Stories and for the most part, it works. Taking some cues from his main band, Starbound doesn’t showcase insane technicality, but it’s a prompt power metal record with soaring vocals along with prog, j-rock, and j-pop influences.
Great to hear Galneryus’ Syu wow with his guitar abilities on proper opener “Freedom Heart” (following the instrumental buildup “As The Twilight Meets The Sea”) with Gyze’s Ryoji shaking things up with growling vocals to play off of Hudson’s bright stylings. Hudson shines on the whimsical ballad “Stars” (featuring shimmering violin from Mia Asano) and the title track is a true, uplifting masterclass of motivation – a song that would play as the credits roll to end an anime movie. The lyric “For all the souls who fell before me of broken men with dying dreams I will bring forth the day we speak thy name” is especially powerful and earnest.
It’s easy to hear how this was a passion project for Hudson with the album art that could fit a JRPG, sprinkling melodic, poppy keys and guitars with just enough force and speed to remind that this is a metal album. And the metal comes in force with the DragonForce-lite “Astralive” and the proggy methods of the swindling “Dracula X!”.
A misstep occurs with the ethereal, atmospheric break in the soft “Swansong”, but 8-minute “Call Of The Martyrs” bounces back with precise and memorable riff work. Hudson also gets much credit for singing “One More Sight Of The Sun With You” in Japanese; not easy to do that in a different language and it’s pronounced in its up-beat j-rock vibe.
Starbound Stories is a success and will be a hit with the audience it is going for, but there’s also other areas in this realm for him explore if he continues to pursue solo material. The opportunities are there to expand on the songwriting and ideas enforced on this effort. In baseball terms, Starbound Stories is a line drive double off the top of the wall – let’s see if he has enough to smash a homerun the second time out.