Renatus (2014) is the fourth full length album from Swedish hard rock and melodic metal band Dynazty. It marks the beginning of a new era for the band in a few different ways: It's their first album released by Spinefarm Records, the first album they've self-produced, and it's also their first album with new bassist Jonathan Olsson.
The biggest change, however, is with the music itself. Those paying close to attention to the first paragraph and the heading should notice some seemingly contradictory information, specifically in regards to their genre. See, Dynazty are generally described as being a hard rock/heavy metal band, with even some occasional glam metal elements, and based on hearing samples of Sultans Of Sin (2012), I think that description is fairly accurate. At least until now. Those samples contained some very melodic vocal sections and occasional speedy tempos, and it seems the band enjoyed those aspects of their music enough to make a full album based around them, and so what we have with Renatus is a modern power metal album, and what an impressive one it is! The melodies are fantastic, the choruses are extremely infectious, and almost every song charges full speed ahead with great double bass drumming.
I could stop there and this would already be an amazing album worthy of a strong recommendation, but there's actually plenty more to discuss. Listeners are instantly greeted by some rather rough and heavy riffs, as well as some very modern sounding keyboards, which are both important factors on the intense prog infused opener Cross The Line. Yes, indeed, as well as changing to a power metal sound Dynazty have also added in some occasional prog elements, with a heavy and very powerful guitar sound that often reminds me of Symphony X, especially on the follow up track Starlight, which features some awesome guitar work during the verses before completely taking flight and speeding up for the first of many epic, unforgettable choruses on the album. The previously mentioned keyboards also add a bit of flavor to the music at points, but this is still mostly a guitar driven album, so one shouldn't expect the keyboards to dominate any of the songs.
Another important part of the band's sound is vocalist Nils Molin, who has an absolutely perfect voice for this style of music (granted, he sounded great in the little I heard of their old style as well). He has a rough and very powerful voice that greatly enhances the more aggressive sections, but on the speedier and more melodic sections he has a very clear tone and his voice sounds absolutely stunning during these sections, especially on the choruses. Along with Brainstorm's Andy B. Franck, I'd say so far Nils has given one of my two favorite vocal performances of 2014.
This is an album that relies strongly on its melodies, which deliver time and time again, but it does have some impressive instrumental sections as well, and in general the guitars, keyboards and drums all sound amazing throughout. Songs like The Northern End and Unholy Deterrent change up the tempo a bit and do an excellent job of displaying the more progressive side of the music, while instant scorchers like Starlight, Dawn Of Your Creation and Incarnation go full speed ahead and are the type of epic, feel good experiences that show why power metal is my favorite genre. In case all those songs weren't good enough, right near the end the bands pulls up one last ace in the 7 minute epic Salvation. From the calm and beautiful intro through to the glorious final reprise of the chorus, it's the exact type of song that will always make me smile and get excited no matter what kind of mood I was in before listening to it, and Nils takes it to such a high level that I'd even call it my favorite song of 2014 up to this point.
I'm known to give very positive album ratings more often than most, and while part of that is because everything I love about music is actually at its strongest this generation compared to in any previous generation (modern production values are almost a must for me to fully enjoy an album), once in a while an album like Renatus will come along and impress me more than just about anything else I listen to, in such a way that I simply can't stop listening to it. I can't find any fault here whatsoever, and so I don't even have to think twice about giving it a perfect score.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/dynazty-renatus-t3429.html)