I love finding new bands that nobody’s heard of and getting to check out their stuff – I’m the Curmudgeonly Hipster, I guess. I usually hate them, and then I invariably listen to them a few more times and they become some of my favorite releases. I decided to go ahead and skip that whole process when I had the opportunity to listen to Gallery of Life, the debut from Slovakian power metallers WITHIN SILENCE. These are some talented guys – when I heard their first publically released track a few months ago, I knew that I was going to like them right off the bat. At first listen, they sound like your typical upbeat power metal band, but there are a lot of great things to enjoy with this debut release.
The songwriting and playing are top-notch, and never feels stale or rote. While the songs gallop along in a quick upbeat manner on most of the tracks, it gets drawn out and brooding on the very excellent “Elegy Of Doom”, and there’s plenty of variety in their playing – the band’s influences are tattooed all over this release. They are a Christian band, but they definitely don’t confine those influences to that genre – I can hear hints of many classic power metal bands, and not a few classic rock bands mixed in as well.
Vocalist Martin Klein has a very distinct voice – almost a Steve Perry meets Danny Vaughn sound, with an amazing ability to throw in some insanely clear and precise classic power metal screams. He also mixes in some deathy growls on a couple of the songs, but sparingly, and it doesn’t feel forced or ugly. I love his mid-range singing – it’s so powerful and clear, it’s almost unbelievable.
Richard Germanus and Martin Cico are very able on guitar and deliver a really slick and polished sound with some really nice solos, while avoiding excess wankery. Filip Andel is nice and consistent on the bass lines, and Peter Gacik is an able timekeeper on the drums. They all come together to bring forth a unique sound, and I am really blown away by the sound on this album – debuts rarely approach this quality, and I can’t really think of any way that they could have done this better. There’s a tiny hint of power metal cheese on some of the songs, but nothing that’s going to make anyone confuse them with the sillier side of power metal.
Are there minor issues? Sure, but nothing that really makes me cranky. Martin’s accented English is a bit awkward in his pronunciation, but any big fan of European power metal is already used to that (a physical copy would be recommended, as a lyrics sheet will be essential, especially for those of us who are slowly going deaf.) The lyrics are similarly a bit odd sounding when you read them, but to be completely honest, with Martin’s voice, he could just sing from a thesaurus and it would sound amazing. The lyrics are based on Christian themes, so you won’t find any dragons here, just a good message based on their personal faith.
I daresay that this should be an essential release for power metal fans to acquire, and if you’re a fan of Christian metal bands like THEOCRACY, you definitely need this. The production is top-notch, and this is a great sounding release. You need this. Gallery of Life releases in the U.S. on May 12 via Ulterium Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM