Active since 1999 and with a slew of demos and a full length CDr production behind them, "Dolce Vita Sath-an as" is the official debut effort by Polish band Grimlord. And despite band and album name along with cover art indicating that this is a production that should reside somewhere in the extreme metal department, looks and associations can indeed be deceiving. The stylistic foundation for this effort is good, old fashioned power metal, with late 80's heavy metal as something of a secondary firmament.
Grimlord does attempt to create something more fanciful than just that, and have added quite a few bells and whistles to this disc. First and foremost of these are frequent use of symphonic inspired backdrops and organ, tasteful addition of wandering piano motifs and rather frequent use of the acoustic guitar to add in lighter details. Add in frequent changes in pace or overall style, recurring theme exploration and 6 instrumental tracks, and I gather most will draw the obvious association following such effects. And indeed, we are dealing with a band making an attempt at crafting progressive metal.
Superficially speaking one might even claim that this is a progressive metal effort. The central characteristics are in place on most tracks, at least in terms of compositional structure. Personally I'm of the opinion that Grimlord are on the way though, for a possible future arrival. The tempo and style changes are interesting enough, but there's just too many passages with archetypical galloping power metal riffs and drawn out leaden guitar textures supporting solo guitars for me to regard this as a wholehearted progressive metal effort. To me this aspect of the CD seems more like an embellishment, and I find Grimlord to actually succeed better in terms of crafting rich atmospheres and delivering tracks with strong momentum and energetic instrumental performance.
It is an interesting and at times intriguing venture even so, and does venture well outside the more cliched parts of the power metal territories. I do suspect power metal fans to be a core audience for this band even so, and most likely the ones belonging to that crowd that wants to check out a band that does try to stretch the limits of that genre somewhat. Promising band with a decent first official effort, with good ideas and a slightly flawed but often remarkably enjoyable execution.