Twilight Force - Dawn of the Dragonstar

Twilight Force Dawn of the Dragonstar cover
Twilight Force
Dawn of the Dragonstar
Nuclear Blast Records
It seems a bit bizarre how most people within certain bands on certain labels seem to end up on other bands or in projects. It might have to do with the nature of their contracts, or indeed the way in which certain labels are able to promote their releases.
At any rate, one of the many bands that appeared out of nowhere a few years ago and seem to be experiencing quite a disproportionate success to their output, Twilight Force impressed on record with the really extremely high vocals of their former singer Chrileon aka Christian (Hedgren) Ericsson, who departed after a couple of releases to resurface on Northtale (also on NB) this year.
Twilight Force recruited a fairly known singer in Alessandro Conti (Trick Or Treat, LT Rhapsody etc.), but in continuation with their “mysterious” nameology they dubbed him Allyon… and just continued down their path of Disney proportion Europower that owes more than a few pages of libretto and score to the Italian school, but let’s just not get into that right now…
The entire album past the first couple of songs really gets quite messy…. but let’s take things as they come.
“Dawn of the Dragonstar” is an impressive, if not a little over flamboyant hybrid between Dragonforce and Rhapsody, not overtly original, but then again quite impressive due to the nature of the genre and the way in which Conti rises to the occasion.
“Thundersword” owns more than a bit to Bloodbound’s “Moria”, but tries to avoid the comparisons by incorporating a few meters from the Star Wars soundtrack and even fiddles and a banjo at some point?! Definitely unexpected, but it doesn’t mean that the song doesn’t feel like a pastiche of parts. Derivative.
“Long Live the King” floats on top a sea of keyboards and is as Disney as one would wish it weren’t. I could swear, I might have heard those melodies of the chorus elsewhere, but at this point I can’t say I’m shocked, or even willing to waste my time looking for their “influences”.
“With the Light of a Thousand Suns” begins with some serious choirs and Conti oversinging a bit in an effort to create a very dramatic effect. He quickly goes into a more reasonable way of delivery for a song so lost up its own symphonic ass, to really feel as if it has structure or flow. It might have some impressive portions, but overall if feels messy.
“Winds of Wisdom” is a more reasonable (euro) power metal tune that’s easier to follow which feels a little too reliant on the various genre clichés, as well as a melody that might have originated from one of A.L.Webbers musicals. Too many bells and whistles…
“Queen of Eternity” tries also to reproduce that same ultra-fast old Rhapsody vibe and has rich vocal backing, but feels a little too much over the top (of both the hill and the mountain). It’s also funny how just after some point where the song seems to “end” there’s a section to contain all the soloing and wank-mastery – people have been bottling up to that point. It’s markedly better than “WTLOATS” though.
“Valley of the Vale” feels as if someone tried to write a song taking an old Rhapsody tune (“Rage of the Winter” as their template), while attempting to incorporate a couple of dragons that might have escaped from GOT in there... it tries to impress with speed alone, but it lacks the finesse to really make its mark.
“Hydra” is not slow by any means, but it was the first song in a while that I could bother with and felt like it had a bit more substance and interesting parts to it.
“Night of Winterlight” is the ninth song with a title that feels to have been created by an automagical fantasy title “creator”, but at least feels again like it has parts that the band thought on for a little over a minute, which makes it bearable.
Nothing could have prepared me for the twelve minute “Blade of Immortal Steel”… that starts up interestingly enough, yet seems to lose itself in the land of endless soloing past the sixth minute, only to return a few minutes later, palindroming between placid soft parts and over the top bombastic ones to the point that the band doesn’t seem to want to let it finish with an outro that’s at least half a minute too long.
The limited edition comes with some bonuses, like a shoegazing-pop version of the band’s first single “The Power of the Ancient Force” from their debut courtesy of a Swedish singer by the name of Hanna Turi. Her delivery is nice, but the overall song, makes little sense this way, sounding more like a potential song from the soundtrack to Skyrim than anything else.
Similarly, an “orchestral version” of “With the Light of a Thousand Suns” (no rock band or vocals) feels like something from a game or film soundtrack…
While instrumental 2007 rough demos of “Enchanted Dragon of Wisdom” (2007 Demo) and “Forest of Destiny” (2007 Demo) goes to show how pedestrian, repetitive and simplistic their form is, without the vocal melodies.
For me this album, because of Conti’s contributions, sounds like a lost “Rhapsody” album, which might have been lost on purpose… although at some point the band was releasing such over the top and over flamboyant monstrosities. The Swedes seem hell-bent on resurrecting that sound countless years later, but I’d rather follow the originators of the genre, who seem to have outgrown it and avoid the hopeless faffing of any copy-cats. While it’s still miles ahead of hacks like Alestorm, Gloryhammer or indeed Dragonforce that doesn’t account too much.
In the words of an “immortal” and much loved fella, “It’s time to be killing the dragon again”! I just hope it lands on the drums and kills all the trolls and the dwarfs and cos-players and vegans and sexists, because feminazis and patriarchy and stuff! Kill em all! With love…