To crawl or to fly...
Genre: power metal
Brazil-based Soulspell is one of those prog power metal acts who specialize in epic power metal operas, and this type of music - the power metal opera - is often a volatile affair: things can turn out really well, or the album can explode in a fatal cloud of cheese. On this album, Soulspell really balance on the razor's edge, but, at the end of the day, "Hollow's Gathering" is definitely a positive experience to listen to - even to me, who admittedly can't stand cheesy power metal.
The music on the album ranges from super epic and pompous symphonic power metal (as in the album's title track) to more straight-forward metal-rock (as in 'Adrian's Call'), but with the center point being Euro Power metal in all its glory. Balancing solid heavy metal riffs, rocky guitar solos, and twin guitar leads on the one hand with epic keyboards, neoclassicisms, and grandiose choruslines, Soulspell might be too over the top for some fans of more traditional metal, but at the same time this fan group is still guaranteed a lot of good old fashioned metal stuff. The catalyst of this blend is progressive keyboards, by the way, although the core style cannot be said to be progressive metal.
Take a look at the line-up on this album, and you will see that it is pretty much an all-star project. As is typical of modern day power metal operas, a plethora of vocalists appear on "Hollow's Gathering", and - to be honest - the initial impression I had upon having to take in all those different singing styles was that of bewilderment. But using so many vocalists also ensures variation, and, although I still find the title track to be over the top in this department, I do think that each and every vocalist does a good job - and I especially like Ripper Owens' and Blaze Bayley's performances.
If you dig prog power metal operas, then you must not miss out on the experience of pure epicness that is "Hollow's Gathering".