Metal Storm logo
Twilight Force - At The Heart Of Wintervale review



Reviewer:
7.6

66 users:
7.88
Band: Twilight Force
Album: At The Heart Of Wintervale
Release date: January 2023


01. Twilight Force
02. At The Heart Of Wintervale
03. Dragonborn
04. Highlands Of The Elder Dragon
05. Skyknights Of Aldaria
06. A Familiar Memory
07. Sunlight Knight
08. The Last Crystal Bearer
09. The Sapphire Dragon Of Arcane Might is Back Again [Digibook bonus]
10. Skyknights Of Aldaria [orchestral version] [Digibook bonus]
11. The Last Crystal Bearer [orchestral version] [Digibook bonus]


In case you've ever wondered if there was a genuine clone to Rhapsody Of Fire, well here's one right here: Twilight Force. However, is this band a suitable representation for the embarrassingly satisfying symphonic power metal genre, or simply yet another proven gimmick you should understandbly turn your back on?

This is At The Heart Of Wintervale, the fourth release by Twilight Force (not DragonForce), and not to be confused with a parody for Immortal's At The Heart Of Winter, this is anything but. It's strictly a symphonic power metal album set around their own fantasy soundscapes, with lyrical themes mainly centred around dragon slaying. Pretty cliche I know, but who doesn't like tales of dragon slaying, wizards and all things fantasy, right?

Understandably, symphonic power metal isn't to everyone's taste, especially for most extreme metal heads who will more than likely cringe from the mention of the genre. If you're familiar with this band's previous releases, you will know by now what to expect; yes this album comes with the usual cheesy over-the-top lyrics, epic symphonies, and catchy instrumentals, all of which is massively overproduced just to top it off. At The Heart Of Wintervale should be everything against what true metal stands for, but there is always another side to things. If death metal and black metal is your thing that is totally fine; if you're more of a light-hearted person that's fine too. Perhaps you're an open-minded kind of guy like me, who doesn't mind a bit of cheesy power metal once in a while alongside the more extreme stuff, and that's completely fine too. I guess At The Heart Of Wintervale is an album you will simply like or you won't, but hey that's metal for you.

The songwriting is overwhelming, to say the least. The melodies are super rich and never dull for a second, and the use of instrumentation and synths is incredibly varied throughout and impressively constructed, from the epic symphonic orchestra, to the catchy keyboard synths, and from the shredding solos and epic riffing, to the powerfully effective vocal performance and narrative sections. This album simply has it all; it really does sound like a perfect soundtrack to a classic Disney film in parts, so not to everyone's taste, but the skill and performance is undeniably brilliant.

It's common that albums such as this can't go without an epic ten-minute-plus track, and here there are not only one, but two pushing past that ten minute mark, being "Highlands Of The Elder Dragon" and the closer "The Last Crystal Bearer". Both tracks contain the usual epic symphonies, outrageously delicious melodies, and impressive array of instrumentation, many with added medieval effect. Excluding a short interlude, the rest of the album contains short, fast, catchy tracks being four to five minutes in length, tracks so melodic and flowery that they're over in a flash before you know it. Each track could easily be single material, but with no particular track standing out above the rest as such; each track equally contains memorable moments.

As symphonic power metal goes, At The Heart Of Wintervale is certainly a good one; it might even be Twilight Force's best work, however unoriginal it seems to be. Come end of the year, I believe this could be a contender for best in the symphonic or even power metal category, and yet still won't be to everyone's taste; that's the beauty of metal.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Production: 9





Written on 22.01.2023 by And well there you have it.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 93 users
22.01.2023 - 18:41
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Seems I am rare one who likes bm and pm hehe , nice review
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
22.01.2023 - 20:44
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
"Skyknights Of Aldaria"? Did they team up with Frode Hovd or just accidentaly made up the same name?
----
My rest seems now calm and deep
Finally I got my dead man sleep


Loading...
22.01.2023 - 22:09
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by Ellrohir on 22.01.2023 at 20:44

"Skyknights Of Aldaria"? Did they team up with Frode Hovd or just accidentaly made up the same name?

It's strange how the song title shares the same name as his band does but as far as I know they didn't collaborate, so I'm gathering it's more of a coincidence.
Loading...
22.01.2023 - 22:47
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by Bad English on 22.01.2023 at 18:41

Seems I am rare one who likes bm and pm hehe , nice review

I have no shame in admitting to liking a bit of flowery power metal too, especially when dungeons and dragons are concerned
Loading...
22.01.2023 - 23:14
Rating: 8
24emd

Since I like a bit of everything, new Twilight Force is always a good thing. You nailed it with this review. I'd even argue they are better than Rhapsody.
----
"Perception and fact, all the same: the truth's what you feel..."

Unpopular opinions is my middle name.
Loading...
23.01.2023 - 06:06
Rating: 8
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by 24emd on 22.01.2023 at 23:14

Since I like a bit of everything, new Twilight Force is always a good thing. You nailed it with this review. I'd even argue they are better than Rhapsody.

I agree, from what I've heard by Twilight Force they're about on par with Rhapsody in terms of quality if not better.
Loading...
23.01.2023 - 19:35
The Evergreen

This is such a cheesy album... but i LOVE cheese, it's delicious!
Loading...
24.01.2023 - 19:58
Taravilyaion

Written by 24emd on 22.01.2023 at 23:14

Since I like a bit of everything, new Twilight Force is always a good thing. You nailed it with this review. I'd even argue they are better than Rhapsody.


Written by AndyMetalFreak on 23.01.2023 at 06:06

I agree, from what I've heard by Twilight Force they're about on par with Rhapsody in terms of quality if not better.


I don't agree.
But that's mainly because I grew up with Rhapsody, and I never heard of Twilight Force until their latest video 'At the Heart of Wintervale'.

Also I thought Twilight Force was Twilight Guardians when I edited their video section.
----
"The best violence against one is the violence no one ever forgets.."
Loading...
28.01.2023 - 14:11
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
I finally listened to the whole album. I liked them since I discovered them shortly after "Heroes Of Mighty Magic" came out, but I don't think this one is that good. Their first two albums were fantastic, but since Conti joined them I think they're struggling not to be "just another Rhapsody rip-off". I am lacking memorable moments, except maybe "Sunlight Knight". But hopefully I'll be seing them live in like two weeks, so maybe their stage presence will convince me again.

P.S. It is a blasphemy to compare them to glorious old Rhapsody. Maybe the sound engineering is a bit better thanks to modern technologies, but in terms of songwriting and atmosphere, this is just a mere shadow of Emerald Sword saga
----
My rest seems now calm and deep
Finally I got my dead man sleep


Loading...

Hits total: 1369 | This month: 96