TWILIGHT FORCE – At The Heart Of Wintervale

April 11, 2023, a year ago

(Nuclear Blast)

Nick Balazs

Rating: 7.5

review heavy metal twilight force

TWILIGHT FORCE – At The Heart Of Wintervale

Come one, come all to the power metal triumph of Twilight Force’s At The Heart Of Wintervale. The metal warriors delve into their lore of the Twilight Kingdoms with a soundtrack of major chorded anthems, whipping solos, bright keys, and lush orchestral arrangements. This falls right in line with the greats like Rhapsody Of Fire or newer entities like Gloryhammer – although the Force is more earnest in their delivery.

Twilight Force knows exactly what they’re doing and who they are catering too – so for those looking for something heavier and lighter/void on the orchestral elements – you’re definitely not going to enjoy this. Our Twilight heroes do the right thing to not bloat this one out, keeping it a steady paced eight tracks at 45 minutes. Having a tight runtime gives more meaning to the two tracks eclipsing 10 minutes.

Allyson (aka Alessandro Conti of Trick Or Treat) fits like a glove vocally with a prominent presence and effortlessly hits the high notes. He doesn’t strain himself and brings to life these sword-raising anthems. Guitarists Lynd and Aerendir have fun interplay bouncing happy melodies and quick notes between them. Just wish there was some more bite in the rhythm guitars, but our guys want the symphonic instrumentation to stick out.

Which is why this album is Hollywood-esque – it’s big sounding and goes for that grand atmosphere. Just check out the all the instrumental breaks in 10.5 minute “Highlands Of The Elder Dragon” – it’s a lot to take in and could have been shortened, but it features neat, engaging solo sections. Closer and the other 10 minute track “The Last Crystal Bearer” checks all the “epic” boxes – spoken word passages, drama, conflict, and a climatic ending.

Can’t help but love the folksy, joyous bounce of “Dragonborn” and the title track is fast, flowing, and has a flourishing chorus. “Sunlight Knight” captures that classic power metal vibe and really does sound like a lost Rhapsody track.

Their dedication to their craft is commendable and their imagination to create this world is engaging, but sometimes it feels like the music is sacrificed for the story. This is good stuff though – victorious and glorious power metal.

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