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|Holy Dragons - Dragon Inferno (2014) Album Review|| |
Holy Dragons - Dragon Inferno (2014)
Pitch Black Records/Audacious PR
Running Time 47:46
Welcome to the new Heavy Metal capital of the planet 'Kazakhstan'...hold on, did I just say Kazakhstan? Yes I did and Holy Dragons are indeed from that country. They've also been around for 23 years and if I've translated my Kazakh and Russian languages correctly (don't quote me on that) then 'Dragon Inferno' is their 16th full length album and it was released last October! They've also out out a plethora of demos, EP's and singles and yes, I've never heard of them until this album. If 'Dragon Inferno' is anything of a pointer to previous material then I am seriously going to be checking out their back catalogue because this is utterly brilliant!
Holy Dragons play unbridled Heavy, Power & Speed Metal of such ferocity that my insides turned upside-down when I first played this. If there was a headlong car crash between Gamma Ray, Helstar, Iron Angel, Sanctuary, Dream Evil, Nevermore and Painkiller era Judas Priest, with Jason Becker and Chris Impellitteri playing guitars but without the repetitive nature and cheesiness of early Dragonforce and all ramped up to ultra speed then the result might be something like Holy Dragons! I'm amazed I've never heard of them before because this is so far up my street I cannot reverse!
New Lead Vocalist Alexander "Demoraivola" Kuligin is an acquired taste and, after the beautiful Middle Eastern guitar that opens the album, it is especially noticeable on opener 'Gunship From Hell' (great title), but his voice soon clicks and some of the high notes he hits throughout the album are absolutely inhuman. If he can actually hit those live then please don't take any glass with you to the venue because it will be obliterated! Holy Dragons may seemingly be powered by a Nuclear Reactor, but they know when to intervene with beautiful acoustic guitar work and varying tempo which makes the heavier songs seem even more powerful. As well as the quieter guitar work Jurgen Thunderson & Chris "Thorheim" Caine share Rhythm, Lead & Synthesizer duties, and as alluded to above, shred the hell out of their instruments and also play some fantastic duel solos, Ivan Manchenko appears to be playing his bass with a mallet, so thumping is the sound and Antonio "Deimos" Repablo is a total battering ram on the drums!
Granted, we're not talking about anything particularly original musically, but Holy Dragons do it all so well that doesn't matter. Every song is an absolute blast from start to finish and as final track 'Dragon Inferno' fades, the original intro acoustic guitar refrain returns, bringing the album full circle. Clever use of voice and explosion etc samples permeate the album to good effect and production is beautifully clear but thick and very heavy, it certainly gives you a good thump in the nether regions. Apart from the 'Power Rangers, man in a rubber suit' style dragon illustration on the front cover which looks about as menacing as a duck, 'Dragon Inferno' is an outstanding release, it wipes the floor with anything Judas Priest have released in recent years and it's about time Holy Dragons got some serious recognition!
- Rick wrote:
- Update 20th February 2015
I would like to thank guitarist Jurgen Thunderson and his wife for getting in contact with me to supply some interesting information regarding the cover art, which I made a joke about!
'Dragon's Inferno' is actually the nickname of one of the American B52 Stratofortress aircraft and the cover art is almost an exact copy of the nose-art on that particular plane. That aircraft tested the X51-A Waverider Hypersonic Missile out of Edwards Air Force Bass and the dragon on the album cover is holding a representation of that missile. You will also see the B52's serial number on the Album cover.
All of this makes an awful lot of sense because it perfectly suits Holy Dragon and their music!
Thankfully both of them took my joke exactly as was intended but as they, and I, are Aviation enthusiasts I thought it was only fair to add this information, if only to prove that a lot more goes into the album art than some people would give a band credit for!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley: