– When Lightning StrikesGenre:
Power MetalRelease Date:
January 16th 2012 Label:
My Kingdom Music
When Lightning Strikes is the fourth album by Italian power metal act Drakkar. The 2012 album is the group’s first full-length for ten years, although there was an EP in 2007 called Classified. Despite the time gap the group’s line-up has remained mostly unchanged since the release of Razorblade God (2002), although the drums are handled by a session musician on When Lightning Strikes and some bass is credited to former member Daniele Persoglio. Also of note is a guest vocal from the group’s former vocalist Luca Cappellari.
Drakkar’s music falls into the symphonic power metal vein, but as common as this particular style has become, I think they have a bit more of a unique sound going for them. Their symphonic element is not overpowering and there and some parts of the music that strike me as being progressive. The album kicks off with the very classical symphonic intro track Hyperspace - The Arrival before not, as would be typical of any metal genre, bursting into a fast metal riff, but an acoustic ballad, Day of the Gods. In a way this track is like the second part of the intro however, because the two tracks together don’t even take up four minutes of the album’s total running time and once The Armageddon Machine kicks in its full steam ahead with a furious and epic power metal attack, but with a solo section that sounds like it belongs in a classic progressive rock band’s music.
It’s at this point that I realise that with When Lightning Strikes we’re dealing with something pretty special. I’m quite surprised I never encountered Drakkar before but I guess that’s because ten years ago when the group last had a major release I was only just discovering metal music and hadn’t yet encountered even the big guns of power metal such as Helloween and Blind Guardian. Big guns that based on When Lightning Strikes, Drakkar could easily have been a part of if they’d been a bit more productive. They certainly have a lot going for them on this release, such as the progressive parts, some subtle folk influences, such as in parts of Revenge Is Done, and perhaps most importantly for power metal, the music stands out as different and lacks the whole cheesy feel associated with much melodic power metal thanks to the excellent voice of Davide Dell'Orto, which is melodic but with a bit of a edge to it that gives the music extra bite.
When Lightning Strikes numbers among the more unique sounding power metal albums I’ve ever come across and I highly recommend it to all power metal fans searching for something new to stand out from the masses. When Lightning Strikes is exceptional to these ears and easily numbers among 2012’s best power metal releases.