by Joe Mis
Staff Writer —
Like an avalanche roaring down from the Alps, Desert Sin’s upcoming album Destination Paradise will have the ground shaking. The Austrian five piece metal band hails from Tyrol in the Alps, and looks poised to make a big impact on the melodic power metal scene with their latest release on Pure Steel Records.
Desert Sin’s roots reach back to 2000, when the lineup stabilized. The first incarnation consisted of Sandro Holzer (lead vocals, guitars), Rainer Fischer (bass) , Roman Fischer (keyboards), and Harald Vogl (drums). They released their first studio CD MMIV in 2004, and followed up with 2005’s Zero Hour after adding guitarist Stefan Entner to the mix. They recorded a promo CD for the “Keep it True X” festival in 2008 entitled All in One, and then released The Edge Of Horizon in early 2009. Destination Paradise is their latest effort, and second on Pure Steel Records.
Desert Sin is fronted by vocalist and guitarist Sandro Holzer. Vocally Holzer sounds like a melding of Mark Boals and Ripper Owens, with a slight touch of Geoff Tate thrown in for good measure. He is a decent guitarist, and makes a fine teammate for fellow axe-man Stefan Entner. The two lay down some complex and intricate lines while never failing at the basics of melody and chord. Roman Fischer’s keyboards complement the guitars well, and are a key contributor to the music without dominating the sound. The fine bass of Rainer Fischer and big double bass drums of Harald Vogl form a solid and impressive backbone.
Soft acoustic guitars on the instrumental “Awakening” open the album before the power metal riffs of the title track slam into the listener. “Destination Paradise” sets the tone for the balance of the release, filled with traditional power metal tempo changes, keyboard sequences and somewhat metaphysical lyrics. More Intense riffs drive (the non-Rainbow) “Kill The King,” and the track us built fully around the rhythm line. Booming bass drums and an Iron Maiden influenced opening make “Would You Release Me” an interesting track which features great bass and pounding drums. Big bass and drums open “Follow Me” before an almost progressive metal rhythm takes over. This track allows Holzer to stretch his vocals to the limit. Great guitars and a nice keyboard riff make this song the showpiece of the album.
Eerie keyboards and a galloping bass opening on “In Silence” kick off the second half of the album in fine style. A bit of a Queensryche influence is apparent in the chorus of the moody “The Seed Of Destruction.” Both lead and rhythm guitars on this track are simply superb – the finest on the album. The lyrics of “Creation” present an interesting look at religion in general, and the drum line within is a double bass showcase. Good bass and slick guitars make this the second best on the release. A neat bass opening, clockwork tight drums and dissonant keyboards give “Hero” a distinctly military feel, while a tidy guitar riff and multi-layered vocals allow “Circle Of Twilight” to end the album on a high.
The production and technical aspects of Destination Paradise are excellent – just as one would expect from power metal. The songs are well written and performed with spirit and enthusiasm, and it is obvious from the level of musicianship that Desert Sin is a veteran act. The only negative of the album is the consistent brooding intensity. It would be nice to hear a band of this caliber mix things up just a bit more and throw in a slower track, or something that really lets them crank it to eleven.
While there is nothing revolutionary about Destination Paradise, Desert Sin provides a fine example of the art of power metal. A solid album from beginning to end, Destination Paradise should be on the short list of anyone looking to fill out their European power metal collection. This release will not disappoint fans of the genre.
Genre: Power Metal
Rainer Fischer (bass, backing vocals)
Roman Fischer (keyboards)
Sandro Holzer (vocals, guitars)
Stefan Entner (guitars)
Harald Vogl (drums)
2. Destination Paradise
3. Kill The King
4. Would You Release Me
5. Follow Me
6. In Silence
7. The Seed Of Destruction
10. Circle Of Twilight
Label: Pure Steel Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10