A HERO FOR THE WORLD — A Hero for the World (review)

A HERO FOR THE WORLD — A Hero for the World album cover Album · 2013 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
A Hero for the World (2013) is the self-titled debut album from power metal act A Hero for the World. Although based out of the Philippines, none of the members actually originate from the country. Jacob Kaasgaard (vocals, keyboards) and David Sivelind (guitars, bass) originate from Sweden while Andy Gentile (drums) is from the USA. The trio are joined on the album by a guest female vocalist, Louiebeth Aratan, who provides additional lead on a couple of the album’s tracks.

I have to wonder if A Hero for the World named themselves that way as some sort of warning. With a name like that, and playing power metal, somehow you just instinctively know that their debut album is going to be a prime example of the keyboard driven, happy sounding kind that the detractors of the genre will have a field day with as they insult the band’s work with their permanently frowning faces. If that description covers you then you’re reading the wrong review, since I’m writing for the same audience the band obviously was when they wrote this album.

With that defensive start out of the way, I do have to say that A Hero for the World hasn’t completely convinced me with their debut album. For the most part this is competent power metal, but competent doesn’t exactly equally particularly thrilling in this case. For a start, I think A Hero for the World may be just a bit too cheesy for its own good. I count the European style of power metal among my favourite genres, but there are limits to what I can take before it gets too much, and A Hero for the World unfortunately crosses that line, none more so than in their ballad Free Forever. I’m not much of a fan of ballads in power metal albums as a rule even though they’re pretty much accepted as part and parcel of the genre template, although there are exceptions of course. I don’t think I’ve encountered a ballad before which actually had me cringing during it though.

This brings me onto the second major issue with A Hero for the World’s debut: Jacob Kaasgaard’s vocals. Most of the time he carries the album well enough with his pleasant and sometimes unusual voice, and there’s even a couple of instances here that he reminds me of Edguy/Avantasia main man Tobias Sammet, but he also has some instances where he really does not sound good at all. Free Forever is also one of these cases and I think the worst one as the issue is highlighted here a great deal through the presence of Louiebeth Aratan, whose voice quickly proves more suited to the balladry track. She doesn’t save the track, because by the time she comes in it’s too late for that. Actually as harsh as it sounds I’m not sure anything could have saved this track short of rewriting it from scratch. It embodies all the negative aspects of the album, leaving no room for the positive.

And there are actually a fair amount of positive qualities within A Hero for the World, but the biggest problem facing the album is it simply failing to realise its full potential. The band’s symphonic tinged power metal is just a bit too much by the book without being a top quality example of the genre to justify such a generic approach. When it works, it works well enough but it would be nice to hear the band gain more of their own identity because at the moment all they really did besides a couple of switches to female vocals was to give a slight modern slant to it by adding some growls.

A Hero for the World has its pretty glaring faults, but overall this is not a bad debut album. It’s not exactly a remarkable debut album either but it is more good than bad. The only two tracks that go beyond being merely good though are We Are Forever and Heaven's Eyes which I found to have a higher standard of writing than the album generally displays. Still there’s a fair bit of potential here to be realised on future efforts. A good album tier rating is just about deserved.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/a-hero-for-the-world-a-hero-for-the-world-t2944.html)
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