Vengeance Rising Zandelle - Vengeance Rising (LMP) 2006

1.   Blood Red Shores (4:34)
2.   Dragon's Hoard (6:08)
3.   Invitation (1:22)
4.   Queen Anne's Revenge (5:11)
5.   The Final Hour (5:05)
6.   Beowulf Trilogy: I. Awakening (1:44)
7.   Beowulf Trilogy: II. Vengeance Rising (3:55)
8.   Beowulf Trilogy: III. Ancient Tale Of Valor (6:55)
9.   Cry For Vengeance (6:06)
10. Prophecy (5:00)
11. Necromancer (9:20)

Zandelle is a power metal band from New York formed in 1996. "Vengeance Rising" is their third full-length release. Zandelle's sound stands on a bridge somewhere between US Power Metal and European Melodic/Power Metal, or sounding like a mixture of Blind Guardian and Metal Church with a touch of Iron Maiden thrown in for good measure. Their press release compares them to Hammerfall, Jag Panzer and Warlord, which are all accurate descriptions as well, though they are not a clone of any of those bands. They could also be compared to 90's bands who kept the US power metal sound alive such as Twisted Tower Dire.

Vocalist George Tsalikis is an ample vocalist with a unique, clean vocal style and a passionate delivery. His melodic vocal melodies offset the fast, speed metal riffing and Maiden-infuences guitar solos. The rhythm section is nothing to ignore either. In fact, the quick little lick that bassist Joe "Bones"Hartoularos rips out during the break at about 4:30 and 4:40 of "Dragon's Hoard" proves that he is as much of a fretboard shredder as their band's guitarists. Unlike many European power metal bands, Zandelle manage to keep the power in power metal. This isn't flowery whatsoever. The songs aren't bogged down with flowery keyboards and though most of the songs are up-tempo, the songs aren't just excuses to prove how fast the band can play. The lyrics are mostly of the fantasy variety, which is where Zandelle has the most in common with the European power metal bands. The lyrical themes can be summed up in a line from  "Invitation", "Come now and listen to legends and history; heroes and demons and devils and gods. Come here our stories of valor and infamy. Tales of the past that was both near and far." One other thing about "Vengeance Rising" that sets it apart is that there are no ballads to be found at all here. Having not heard the band's previous albums I cannot say whether this is always true of them, but in the case of this album it's just a constant audio assault on the ears from the opening of "Blood Red Shores" to the ending notes of the epic "Necromancer". 

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