CLAIRVOYANT, Curse of the Golden Skull (2011, self-released)
Seriously? What’s the title of the album? Curse of the White Skull? Is that it? No? Then print the fucking thing in yellow or something! I’m not asking for gold leaf on a self-released CD, but for fuck’s sake, is a little title/image congruity too much to ask for? Unless… maybe the curse of the golden skull is color blindness? Woah.
I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t expect much from this. I mean, look at it! This has “shitty demo” written all over it. But, it’s a reasonably good slab of Running Wild style power metal. It might even be about pirates, but I don’t really care to examine the lyrics so closely as to find out. It’s a bit rough around the edges, as you might expect, and as cheesy as any Running Wild inspired band has to be, but the music is about 10000000x more professional than the cover art. The singer reminds me a little of Stefan Schmidt, of Jester’s Funeral and Heavatar (and one other band I won’t mention), doing his euro Hetfield thing. He’s got enough range to deliver catchy melodies, and not much more, but he works well with what he has, and fits well with the rigging. The rest of the band have their shit together, too, and the guitarists in particular play well together. After releasing this album, the band changed names to the even worse Wölfrider, but they’ve yet to follow this with another full length. Still, good new power metal is thin on the ground these days, so while you wait for the next Solar Fragment disc, maybe these Poles are worth checking out.
— Friar Johnsen