Merging Flare makes a hefty claim in making “the best Finnish Metal album of the millenium”, and before I laugh that off and list all the superior albums from great bands like Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Thunderstone, Twilightning, and Celesty, I need to establish how exactly the band is making that claim.
Regional concerns aside, Merging Flare really has nothing to do with the melodic power metal of Finland, and if the guest appearance of Kai Hansen on 4 tracks didn’t make it obvious, this album is heavily influenced by German bands like Savage Circus and Gamma Ray. In fact, Merging Flare seems to have graduated from the Stormwarrior school of “Having a vocalist that sounds almost exactly like Kai Hansen, and still finding it necessary to bring Kai Hansen in to do guest vocals” Short, aggressive songs with dual lead harmonies, excellent rhythm sections, and moderate vocal harmonies. So for the purists in the audience, there is a very real chance that Reverence is absolutely the best album to come out of Finland this millenium.
Every song on Reverence falls between 3:00 and 4:30, completely forsaking the longer compositions and ballads that define the more “Artistic” side of metal that has been known to ruin many a brilliant album, Merging Flare sticks to their guns, and provides 11 solid tracks of fast paced, energetic power metal for the everyman. Generally having a more diverse taste than most purists, I tend to enjoy longer songs to break up the album, but Reverence is an extremely listenable and easily digested album. Anyone who knows me knows I’m more liable to get bored with shorter songs than 17 minute epics, but in this instance, Merging Flare knows their craft well, and so keeping it short and to the point is exactly what is needed.
This is an all around great album, with memorable riffs and great production, and for every band that seems to be falling the wayside of “Other musical pursuits” or “Retirement”, another newcomer like Merging Flare is ready to step into the battlefield.
Dagg's Rating: 4.25/5