Fans of Rhapsody take heed! Italian symphonic power metal band Drakkar have returned with their fourth album, “When Lightning Strikes.” Italy is well known for operas, so their quality symphonic metal exports come as no surprise. I’ve heard a few other Italian symphonic metal bands lately, so it may be Rhapsody paved the way and now there is an Italian symphonic metal scene in place. Having enough similar sounding bands to consider it a scene seems like a good thing to me.
“When Lightning Strikes” does not have the same grandiose scale as some of the Rhapsody albums, and the singer is no Fabio Lione in the voice department, but nonetheless this is still a pretty enjoyable listen. The music is fast, melodic and gives the impression of large open spaces. The vocals are melodic but not operatic; rather they have a slightly rough edge to them. I enjoy this style of singing because it comes across as powerful, but this is also metal, so a little snarl is nice too.
The production quality is pretty clear. I’m sure Drakkar has a budget that is tighter than other more well known bands, so the beautiful job they do with “When Lightning Strikes” is quite impressive. Everything sounds nice and clear, and as I mentioned already, the feeling of open space adds to the epic scale of the sound.
I’m not familiar with Drakkar’s earlier material, or their previous singer, but based on listening to this album on its own, I think this is a pretty enjoyable album. While I was doing some research on the band, I saw someone who reviewed the album poorly based on their preference for the old singer. That leads me to believe that either the original singer was so incredible that no one could replace him, or perhaps the review was written by a disgruntled fan, because I see no reason to give this a bad write-up. I’m digging it and will certainly be keeping an ear out for more Drakkar in the future.