Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Label: Pure Steel Records

Date: February 24th, 2023

If you need a portion of traditional heavy metal sound, Purse Steel Records will serve it. European label, based in Germany, since 2006 in cooperation with sub-labels knows how to pick great traditional metal, power metal and heavy metal bands. One of those is Fairytale, the band that delivered their 3rd album after six years of break on February 24th. As the name might suggest, Fairytale is a band focused on fantasy and historical lyrical themes. The band loves to tell stories. And they are great storytellers.

“Army of Ghosts” is a conceptual album; each song is inspired by well known horror story. As a fan of horror stories and movies, no one should push me to listen to this album. And it was love at first listening. Compared with the previous two albums “Rise of the Twilight Lord” and “Battlestar Rising”, I have to admit that the first I noticed is that vocal performance is more mature and production is better. Musically, each song is an anthem. Lyrically, the album is written so well and it flows easily from one to another horror story. The album is opened by a very suitable intro that leads to the title song and the horror realm is opened. The title song has something so familiar in vocal performance, and I had to listen to it for a while to figure out what is it about. The mystery was finally solved and now I can say that Carsten Hille uncannily reminiscent of the vocals Paul Di Anno delivered with Battlezone “In the Darkness” as well as the rhythm. Listening song by song, I just can’t get rid of the thought that on this album there is obvious similarity or influence, whatever you want to name it, of Iron Maiden. The vocals in some songs is, as already written, unbelievably reminiscent of Di Anno, but on most of the songs it goes in Blaze Bayley direction while the music side of the album goes in the direction of Dickinson’s solo albums specifically “The Chemical Wedding” and “Accident of Birth”. You will recognize an influence of Saxon (in “Elizabeth Dane” you simply feel Byford’s influence) and Merciful Fate too (“Voices from Inside”). Just saying, does not mean I am right. Overall, this album is very demanding if we talk about the lyrical background. Musically, it is very well balanced; already mentioned vocals stand out but also twin guitars. 

Horror lovers no matter if we are talking about the horror games, movies or stories should really pay attention. 

I will do something that I usually do not do; I will not analyze each song layer by layer. Instead I will try to find the highlights no matter how hard it is because at the end of the day: this is the best album in the band’s career by now. It would be the album highlights not necessarily by this order:

“1428”, full of dramatic takeovers, with fast passages and tempo changes, not to mention the main inspiration (do you remember 1428 Elm Street?); lyrically “Morningside” and “Horace P” while epic “Elisabeth Dane” is the most inspiring and gives the most space for imagination even though the story is well known to us all.

I never pay much attention to cover art, unless I really like it. This one fits in the album theme, it is spooky enough with a ghost ship, lost souls, and thunder in the background and with addition of horror letters completes the overall atmosphere. 

Highly recommended to all traditional metal fans, horror lovers, imaginative souls and dreamers. 

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