Twist Of Faith
I don't know about you lot, but when I hear the name Highland Glory, I think of the band ripping things up with their rather enjoyable 2005 effort “Forever Endeavor”, which was a pretty enjoyable piece of power metal from a country which spawns very little of the stuff (Norway). Hearing about this new release had me jumping up and down to get it, and at last I've gotten around to giving it several full spins and my full attention. The move to female vocalist Trine Elise Johansen was a bit of a shock, but I'm open-minded and have enjoyed some great female-fronted power metal in the last year (Ancient Bards and Seven Kingdoms, among others).
Well, if you're reading this review, chances are that you've already seen a few of “Twist of Faith”, and that means that you already know about the issues this album has. For the rest of you, allow me to get this out of the way: Trine is not a good singer, and she sends this album singlehandedly from the land of excellent riffing to complete mediocrity, and even further! Why the band allowed this woman to step behind the mic is completely beyond me. She doesn't have good tone, she has little emotion, and she slurs together word after word without proper enunciation. In fact, if I may be so bold, I haven't encountered this bad of a female singer since Kerion!
To be fair, it isn't all her fault (I don't think), as this album boasts some particularly bad lyrics as well. “Limitation Of Life” is perhaps the best example, but I have no desire to waste your time or mine with the words here. Much of the album falls into slow rock format songs, or even further, into deplorable balladry. This is just not a strength for this band, and while the songs themselves aren't bad by any means, they're pushed over the edge by the aforementioned weak points. In all honesty, most of the guitar and keyboard work on this album is rather tasteful and well-played. Heck, instrumentally, this album is quite solid and moderately interesting much of the time.
But...nothing is enough to make up for those vocals. I'm so sorry to say this to you Highland Glory, but you guys need to drop Trine like a hot coal and get another singer. The old stuff with Jan Grefstad was much better, and now he's off kicking serious ass with Saint Deamon. I'm not saying you even need a male vocalist, but if you're going to take the female route you'd better make darn sure you do it right. Do us all a favor: give the leading lady the boot, and sack the lyricist at the same time (I don't know who this is). Though I'm a completist, I can't excuse keeping this record around, despite its few bright spots. This is being deleted, and I don't recommend this to anyone. It's not all-around awful, but there are so many better places to look.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 2.25 out of 5