genre: heavy metal / power metal
This album is refreshingly old-fasioned. This is not meant in a derogatory way, but rather as an appraisal. This release, the cebut album by Storm from Madagascar contains several features that were associated with 1980s heavy metal and power metal, but which have more or less fallen out of use nowadays, such as dominant "Jump" (Van Halen) and "Final Countdown" (Europe) keyboards and certain guitar picking techniques and so on. I am not that familiar with the Madagascan metal scene, but I assume that it may be because 1980s metal have been a major influence on that scene.
The music is characterized by epicness galore, as the band makes use of very grandiose and heoric sounding guitar and vocal melodies (the vocalist has a very clear but non-operatic voice though). They also make use of several Helloween style speed/power metal riffs, but combine these with elements that are more typical of pop metal, also drawing on classic metal and hard rock of the 1980s. This interesting hybrid of power metal and 1980s glam/pop metal with elements of hardrock actually works quite well, once you cast away the constrictions of the two genres. Mostly, it works well, but given that both pop metal and power metal can be terribly cheesy, I do think that some of the tracks on this album are a bit too cheesy for my tastes such as "Mamohafaty", "Alokin'ny" (there is some good stuff in this one though), "Embona" and "Anatra"), others work really well such as "Firaisinka", "Lasa", "Tantara" and "Zokiolona".
I do not know anything about Madagascan traditional music, but I cannot detect anything that sounds non-Western on this album (apart from the lyrics). It is possible that there are Madagascan influences on the album which just escape my untrained ear. This is not really a point of criticism, but I just think it would have been interesting with such elements.
This certainly is a fine album, but there are a number of mistakes and imprecisions on the album and some places where a second or third take could have been useful. That being said, I don't know which conditions they recorded this album under or whether thee recording facilities even allowed for retakes. This takes us to the production. The production is, by the standards we are used to, not very good, and sounds a bit like a demo-tape from the 80s-90s. Then again, I do not know which recording facilities they have had at their disposal, so I will not criticize the production, but do not expect a super modern and top notch production on this album.
I would recommend this album to fans of power metal and traditional heavy metal. But you are required to keep an open mind and take into consideration that the band may not have had the recording conditions and facilities that you may be used to.