Kerion discouraged me an awful lot with its first release, the inferior Holy Creatures Quest. But, being the forgiving fellow that I am, I've decided to give the band another chance with their most recent release. I learned after I heard the first album that Phillipe Giordana was indeed involved with the choral arrangements, and that he had done the same with The Origins. So, figuring that at the very worst, this would be another opportunity to hear Giordana's great work, I dove right in.
Musically, The Origins is a significant improvement over the band's previous effort. Everything sounds tighter and melodies are much better developed and more memorable. The guitar lines stand out prominently at times above the backdrop, which has mostly resolved itself into a cohesive and purposeful force rather than a muddled mess. The choirs are just as good as I wanted them to be, and are, next to some of the guitar leads, the most enjoyable part of the experience here. Though admittedly, they still sound much better on a Fairyland album, where the lead vocalist strengthens the effect.
That's right, I'm on again about a vocalist. Flora Spinelli is, plain and simple, not cut out for power metal. I mentioned this in my previous review, but now that she is single-handedly holding her band back, this topic deserves some special attention. Her vocals are mostly in key, her pronunciation is a bit tenuous but acceptable, and she certainly doesn't overpower the music, so what's the issue here? Well, put bluntly, the problem is energy. Her voice is most often very dead and flat. I'm not talking a quarter-tone low here, I mean just devoid of emotion and any real feeling. She sings like many an unenthusiastic choir-girl that I knew back in high school, like it's an obligation. This is represented on just about every single track here. The band's music has grown and matured since their debut, so it's very disappointing to see that the lead vocals are now the single large problem rather than one of many.
Kerion has a pretty decent offering here, and unlike Holy Creatures Quest, this one doesn't belong in the bargain bin next to Power Symphony's Lightbringer. With a passionate and energetic singer, Kerion could be a solid B-grade power metal band (read: not a genre leader, but consistently enjoyable) at this point in their career. I've learned that I am hardly alone in this sentiment, and I sincerely hope that Kerion makes a change or two or they'll find themselves lumped in forever with the “good band with a bad singer” pile that everyone mentions wistfully from time to time.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 6.25 out of 10