Ever since hearing “Shadowhunt” and “Painting the Wind” over and over on my Pandora power metal station, I've dreamed of owning this album, but it's a hard one to find. After finally buying an MP3 copy of it, I like the album just as much as I'd hoped I would. Despite only having heard a couple of the songs before, “Requiem Forever” already conjures that sort of old familiarity that I associate with other classics.
“Requiem Forever” is a rather unique album. The songs don't flow perfectly from one to another, and consequently, most of them stand better on their own. What this means however, is a considerable amount of variety in their songs, and no reliance upon “filler” tracks whatsoever.
The general musical feel on “Requiem Forever” is perhaps a bit thinner than many other metal albums. This is in part due to the mixing. The guitar lines are a little bit simpler, the solos shorter, and the keyboards not quite so flashy as many a power metal band's. Yet, the songs are driving, and the hooks are plentiful. A few harsh vocals pop in from time to time, and one of the singers has a gruff baritone in opposition to the high tenor that's featured as well.
The sheer spread of style on this album is impressive: you've got standard fare power metal (“Shadowhunt”, “Painting the Wind”), a more aggressive hard-rock tinge (“Possessed By Power”, “Hold On”), and even some borderline thrash material (“Violate”). These tracks have a measure of memorability that isn't shared by most creative output, and for that very reason, I think that this album deserves to be better known. One thing that you'll NEVER hear criticized about this album is redundancy.
It's a pity that Requiem is no longer around to grace us with a new offering, but several of their members are now present in other projects (Isäntä Meidän, Silent Voices, Winterborn). “Requiem Forever” has faded away amidst innumerable releases in a dense and confusing landscape of metal, to be occasionally discovered by an earnest seeker. In my house, however, this album will forever remain a classic, and I'll spread awareness of it wherever I can.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 8.75 out of 10