I received Emerald Sun's Escape From Twilight shortly after its release in 2007, and was reasonably pleased with it, as it exhibited a finer pedigree of songwriting than I typically associate with Greek power metal. With the announcement of Regeneration, I was looking forward to a further development of their sound while hoping that the band would move up to par with some of their northern European cousins. The band's move from Limb Music to Pitch Black Productions was also something I didn't fail to miss, though I don't know the reason for it.
My initial reaction to Regeneration was an overwhelming burst of familiarity, as well as gratefulness that Emerald Sun hasn't resorted to any sort of drastic commercialization or selling-out with its music. But as I've continued to listen, I'm struck with a profound disappointment with the lack of growth that I had hoped for. I know that I'm constantly talking about how each band is unique and has its own special brand of sound, but I guess Emerald Sun don't strike me with this new album as being as distinct as many others. Their influences and sound are very middle-of-the-road and unremarkable, even though the band is obviously fairly talented and proficient. What I mean is this: while playing predictable fun and speedy Euro-power, the band doesn't achieve the whimsy (Edguy), grandeur (Blind Guardian) or even sheer defiant metal passion (Seven Thorns) that other artists are able to muster. Hence, what we have is a glistening and highly attractive metal equivalent of meatloaf. Filling and unoffensive, but with many more appetizing alternatives.
Really, that's where the true criticism ends. There is some pretty spiffy work all over the place on Regeneration, but Emerald Sun don't often manage to keep the great ideas going long enough to craft something really special. I do profess a certain fondness for the silly "Planet Metal", which sees the band abandoning all seriousness for a shot at sheer fun. More than any other, this song really works, and it's definitely my favorite on the album. Most of the rest of the time, the strange wording and unusual lyrical themes seem to clash with the image that I have for this band, as well as the initially attractive album artwork.
So ultimately we have an album that's just a little better than ho-hum, but could have been a lot more. I won't write Emerald Sun off completely, but I'm rather disappointed with Regeneration, all things considered. I must also say that, from this point forward I don't have much confidence in their ability to be more than a gilded 3rd-tier power metal band. I recommend Regeneration only to completists or people that don't generally mind the mass of middling-quality power metal that comes out of this part of the world. There are much better fluffy power metal albums to occupy your time.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 6.5 out of 10