London based symphonic power metal band Grimgotts released their debut album Lions of The Sea just under a month ago, much to the pleasure of the fans they made via their previously released EP. It’s an album full of huge guitar parts and swirling dynamics, with catchy medieval sounding melodies sitting nicely over the top.
The title track opens the album and immediately sets and epic and grandiose scale for the rest of the record. As far as power metal goes, this track is a more mid-tempo number that rocks along and will have you bopping your head with pleasure at the slow drum bass groove.
From early on in this song however it becomes apparent that the mix is not the clearest it could be. This results in Andy Barton’s lower vocals being lost to the intensifying music that swells around the voice. This is an issue that remains through most of the album, but it’s not a bad mix by any stretch, just could use some more space. Still very listenable, hearing Andy’s unique voice more clearly would just be a bonus.
The second and third tracks ‘Golden Shores’ and ‘Shanghai’ both tap into the perfect sing-along melodies that you would expect from this genre, both with uplifting moods and harmony. The former featuring some synthesised accordion sounds courtesy of keys player Fabio Garau. This evokes further the image of music which talks of older times. The latter however is when David Hills unleashes his fluid guitar playing upon us. With tasteful lead lines throughout and shredding solos that are a pleasure to the ear.
At the midway point through the album, a song called ‘Find Your Way’. In this up-tempo ripper of a tune we hear James Taylor utilising his speedy fingers to lock into the pocket of the groove with gut busting drum track. Not to mention the incredible unison fills performed by the entire band to fill the bars between sections.
Immediately after this blistering number we are taken off guard by the slow and sombre acoustic track ‘The Gallows’. This piece boasts the most haunting melodies on the album and promises to please if melancholic songs are what you’re after when a power metal decides to put a nice acoustic piece on their album.
We’re then catapulted into a track called ‘Jonah’ which is a constant gear shifting song that launches between varying tempi. This creates a real sense of movement and journeying, pushing us towards the last couple songs of the album.
‘Calm Before The Storm’ is where things get really symphonic. Boasting an epic string section intro that builds with marching drums and piano twinkling before finally the harmonised guitars and then a super high vocal note comes blasting through. I would go as far as to say that this is the absolute highlight of the album. The songwriting here is flawless. If the band continue to release songs of this quality they will have made a lifelong fan of me.
The album takes a sombre turn again for ‘The Sad King’ with masterful classical guitar playing during the intro. But alas the album comes to a close with ‘The Bright Lights’, an epic closer that features string sounds, horn sounds. Swirling synth pads and all around fantastic playing by every band member.
Overall the album is a fantastic debut for Grimgotts and have surely put them on the radar as a band to keep a close eye on and ear open for.