Finland has always been consistent in providing the metal community with top-notch power metal projects, but with such a wide array of bands springing up like mushrooms, it comes as no surprise that some of them might be slightly lacking in originality. Sure, there have been recent projects that defined themselves with a unique style, such as EVERFORST, composing a whole album inspired by its own manga, “Winterider”. Bands like these make an effort to expand the power metal spectrum, creating exciting new possibilities. NIBIRU ORDEAL might just be one of those innovators. Their debut EP “Spacebeast” (2013) was in any case received as adventurous, breaking down style barriers. Let’s find out if their first full-length album, “Solar Eclipse”, continues the winning streak.
The band has been around since 2006, but only recently came out with their first releases. The Norwegian YouTube sensation Per “PelleK” Åsly sang on the EP while introducing his own legion of fans to NIBIRU ORDEAL. Unfortunately for PelleK fans, he and the band have parted ways. Therefore, this time, they have recruited Andi Kravljača (THAUROROD) for the vocals. All the band members are seasoned musicians, which makes for streamlined instrumentals. This is clear from “Gone With The Wind” on, which shows how well-coordinated everyone is. A quick glance at the record tells me I’m in for 80(!) minutes of power metal adventures, which is basically two albums worth of songs. Talk about getting value for your money…
Now it could go two ways: it would either be a versatile sensation or get dragged out too long and become boring. Well, “Solar Eclipse” is neither one of those extremes, but lingers somewhere in between. NIBIRU ORDEAL dares to be bold with long tracks like “Vortex of the Dead Galaxies” (the last two tracks account for 27 minutes of the record), which have some very strong segments, yet I feel my attention slipping away sometimes. Variation is absolutely one of the band’s strengths, but a bit more editing wouldn’t have been an unnecessary luxury.
Still, it would be a shame to dismiss “Solar Eclipse” after the first listen because you would be missing out. Sure, the classic power metal elements are there: fast wailing guitars and technically demanding solos, heavy synth-use, insane vocal ranges,… You can definitely tell where the band gets their main influences from (HELLOWEEN, STRATOVARIUS), and I would wholeheartedly recommend this record to fans of those bands. Moreover, NIBIRU ORDEAL doesn’t stop there and isn’t afraid to stray from the path into more progressive territory. Those surprising prog moments always managed to awaken my senses when the sheer length of the tracks had dulled them a little.
To sum up, “Solar Eclipse” may be labelled as Power Metal, but displays so much more than the typical style elements of the genre. The songwriting is rather progressive, with impressively courageous style experiments that create those trademark twists and turns the band has been praised for. The only downside to this is that the songs lack a certain memorability. They are intricate, intelligent compositions to listen to, but I don’t find myself wanting to come back to certain tracks. NIBIRU ORDEAL is a raw diamond, that – with a bit of polishing – will soon be shining very bright on the power metal scene.
2. Gone With The Wind
4. Icon 21
5. Demons And Angels
6. Namida’s Tear
7. Manual To Life
10. Before The Eclipse
11. Vortex Of The Dead Galaxies
12. Solar Eclipse
Andi Kravljača – Vocals
Mirko Byman – Guitars
Jussi Pulliainen – Bass
Pekka Laitinen – Keyboards
Vili Härkönen – Drums