Again catching up with releases which came out during festival season, I didn’t want to let this one pass by. Led by guitarist Bill Hudson (Udo Dirkschneider / Trans-Siberian Orchestra), vocalist Christian Eriksson (Twilight Force) and drummer Patrick Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen), they added Mikael Planefeldt (Streamline) on bass and keyboardist Jimmy Pitts (The Fractured Dimension / Equipoise / Eternity’s End) to create this powerhouse of power metal.
Given the histories of the band members, there will be no surprise at the ridiculously fast guitars, grand keys and high-pitched vocals throughout. The frenetic drums and pounding bass line drive everything forward at breakneck pace. The opener, title track “Welcome to Paradise” is let loose from the gates like a greyhound on speed and the album never really lets up from this point onwards.
A quick look at the track titles throws up “If Angels Are Real”. That’s got to be a ballad, right? Nope. It shreds from start to end. The slower number are “Way of the Light” (powerful, harmonic stuff) and closer “Even When” which is a lovely acoustic number which grows into something huge and orchestral. Slightly more bouncy than hurtling along are “The Rhythm of Life” and “Everyone’s a Star”, but they’re still singalong headbangers.
The band aimed to create something that “would bring back the amazing golden years of power metal”. Verdict? Success.
Welcome to Paradise is out now