Dragonhammer have been around since their formation in 1999 originally as a trio and they have released along with a demo, two albums and their new album released this year is a concept album called, The X Experiment. The setting of the story takes place during after the post-apocalyptic nuclear world where all hell has broken loose. And the music itself is a touch of the Prog-Rock sound, but the sound of Power Metal comes kicking the door down. And the sounds of Metallica, Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, and Iron Maiden are evidential in their music that shows that they have done their homework very well.
At times, I get the feeling that it is almost a Sci-Fi Metal Opera of a dystopian futuristic world gone wrong and the music is epic, mind-blowing, appealing, and energetic. The band considers; Max Aguzzi on Lead Vocals and Guitar, Gar Amodio on Bass Guitar, Giulio Cattivera on Keyboards, and Giuseppe De Paolo on Guitars. And featuring special guests: Roberto Tiranti and Titta Tani doing vocals on two of the tracks on the album, Francesco Fareri on Guitar, David Folchitto on the Drums, and the Female Vocals done by Marinella Pichierri and Lara Bertoli.
And the result of the concept is theatrical, vivid, and gripping as the band go for a ride you’ll never forget on five centerpieces. For example, The End of the World has a sing-along kick to it with a lot of heavy guitar rhythms and riffs, and moog-like solo done by Cattivera as he challenges the sounds of Keith Emerson and Jens Johansson as the drums have a militant rapid patterns to keep the tempo going and it shows how the group can take these ideas into unbelievable results.
Escape is a dramatic keyboard-organ-piano driven beat that starts off for the first few minutes that at times is a tribute to Jon Lord and then goes back into the classical mode from the keyboard as the guitar and drums go rapidly to get that vibe before it mellows down as the vocals come in to set the vibes going as the increase level goes up thanks to the solo and drums come kicking in full gear near the last two minutes of the song that is raw and eruptive.
Elsewhere, Seek in the Ice and the title track, in which its almost straight out of a short story from Philip K. Dick, has a lot of ominous overtones because of the structures of the storyline in which the atmosphere is a nightmarish view on what has happened after the nuclear disaster and the sound is almost like an epic film score on those two tracks, have a riveting and mesmeric value on the instruments. And then, there’s Follow Your Star.
It begins with a lullaby gone wrong on the keyboards before the percussion and bass comes in while the rhythm set on the acoustic guitar opens up with a folky crisp. However it has a classical and symphonic beauty to it and not to mention the vocals done by Pichierri and Bertoli that really sends shivers down my spine when I listen to this piece and at times along with the second track, it is soon going to be a sing-along song that will soon get the headbangers using their lighters and singing to the words.
I have listened to The X Experiment about eight times already and I have to say it is a captivating and fascinating album from start to finish. And while this is my introduction to Dragonhammer’s music, I might explore some of their work in the future and if you love the idea of storytelling, concept albums, and Power Metal, this is right in your alley to get your seat buckled to a journey you’ll never ever forget. The most important thing, after a nine-year hiatus, they are back and its an impressive album they have released this year.