LAST KINGDOM
Power Metal • Sweden

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Last Kingdom are a Swedish power metal band. Formed in 2005 the band released a couple of demo's before releasing their debut full-length, Chronicles of the North, in 2012.

- Biography by adg211288, June 2012.
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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.. Album Cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Chronicles of the North
Power Metal 2012

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.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 2007
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 2009
Power Metal 2009

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LAST KINGDOM Chronicles of the North

Album · 2012 · Power Metal
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J-Man
In spite of a history dating back to 2005, it wasn't until 2012 that the world got to hear the debut full-length from Swedish power metal act Last Kingdom. Entitled Chronicles of the North, Last Kingdom's entrance statement is one that fits nicely in the Swedish metal landscape and shows plenty of promise for this up-and-coming quintet. An observation characterized by speedy riffs, neoclassical instrumental runs, and grandiose atmospheres, Chronicles of the North ticks all of the boxes that should appeal to fans of bombastic and melodic power metal.

For those familiar with Reinxeed (another contemporary Swedish power metal act), Last Kingdom actually bears quite a bit of resemblance with them; their brand of melodic power metal with symphonic flavorings sounds quite a bit like something that would've been popular in the early 2000's. Unfortunately, like many bands playing this style of music these days, Last Kingdom doesn't bring anything new to the table, and their take on the genre is virtually indistinguishable from dozens of other acts. The performances are solid and the compositions have plenty of memorable hooks, but there isn't much that will keep me coming back to Chronicles of the North in the future. I also found Stefan Jacobsen's vocal performances to be pretty hit-and-miss, and although his singing style suits the music well, his ability to hit some notes in the upper register is questionable.

Still, fans of European power metal looking for an album that totally embraces what the genre is all about won't be disappointed with Chronicles of the North; while it may lack in innovation, the quality of the music is competent enough to make for an enjoyable listen. In short, Last Kingdom's debut shows plenty of promise in terms of musicianship and composition, but the band will need to expand their sound if they wish to make a lasting mark on the power metal scene.

LAST KINGDOM Chronicles of the North

Album · 2012 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Chronicles of the North is the debut full-length album by Swedish power metal act Last Kingdom. The album was released in 2012 and follows on from a couple of prior demo releases from 2007 and 2009 respectively. All of the songs from their demo era are featured on Chronicles of the North, as well as a few new songs.

Last Kingdom are a power metal band through and through. That basically means hell of a lot of melody and speed, speed and yep you guessed it, even more speed. It’s occasionally wrapped up in a symphonic context but overall Chronicles of the North is much more the melodic power metal album opposed to a symphonic power metal album. It’s somewhat generic what Last Kingdom have done here, but that’s okay, because this kind of power metal is the sort of power metal that is made by the book so faithfully, that there is little chance of the release not packing a serious punch and being right up the alley of the power metal veteran.

But there’s a problem. His name is Stefan Jacobsen and he’s the vocalist of the band. Jacobsen doesn’t have an unpleasant voice as such, nor is he anywhere near as bad as I’ve seen some make him out to be, but in the context of Chronicles of the North his voice just doesn’t work to do the music justice. Musically Last Kingdom delivered something absolutely intense and killer here but it is spoilt by the decidedly not powerful enough vocal performance. Now, I’m pretty sure Jacobsen gave it his all recording this album, but unfortunately he is just not gifted enough to handle this sort of music, which is a shame, because his actual singing style has power metal written all over it. Like the music, his performance is completely by the book, only unlike the music his performance is at best passable and ultimately I’m just left with feelings of how Chronicles of the North would number among 2012’s best power metal albums if it only had a stronger vocalist to handle the material which otherwise has everything else going for it.

Chronicles of the North is as such a very frustrating album for me. I want to love it, because musically it is power metal as it should be played. But I can’t love it, because vocals are the usual deal breaker in any kind of music for me, and while this deal may not be as badly broken as some albums I’ve encountered in the past, it’s still a major kick in the teeth. Overall a good album tier rating is deserved, but this one could have been worth oh so much more.

73/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))

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