FOGALORD — Masters of War (review)

FOGALORD — Masters of War album cover Album · 2017 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
It's been five years since the Italian act Fogalord served up their debut album A Legend to Believe In (2012) and asserted themselves as worthy heirs to Italy's symphonic power metal crown. It's a surprisingly long gap for a new band, but finally they're ready to follow their impressive debut album up. Masters of War (2017) marks the introduction of a new rhythm section to the band but despite that there wasn't much cause to expect any drastic changes with the band's direction.

And I suppose that's true of the end result, but that doesn't mean that Masters of War doesn't have a different feel to it compared to A Legend to Believe In. It's much less symphonic for a start, even though the keyboards of Daniele Bisi are still there in the music consistently. To compensate it uses a lot more folksy melodies than its predecessor. This is nice, but overall the band's music does feel like it's a bit less epic and cinematic. It's still characteristically Fogalord thanks in no small part to the distinctive sounding voice of Daniele Bisi, but compared to the high energy of the debut Masters of War actually seems comparatively subdued, a feeling that even the speedy power metal rhythms can't seem to do much about.

This does mean that even though the album is roughly the same length as A Legend to Believe In it really starts to flounder in its second half as the music starts to wear thin, a problem that the former didn't have. Fogalord's keeping of the epic length track The Sword's Will for last is something of a saving grace since it brings the symphonic elements back prominently but it still suffers from the key problem I'm finding the album as a whole to have: it's rather forgettable. An enjoyable enough album while you're actually listening to it, but try recalling any specific song a little while after the event. Power metal like this should have infectious, catchy choruses that really stick with you. The band's first album did because it doesn't take much for me to recall tracks like At the Gates of the Silent Storm or The Scream of the Thunder but with Masters of War I struggle to even remember the early tracks such as Rising Through the Mist of Time and Daughter of the Morning Light before I've even finished The Sword's Will!

Unfortunately not one of those albums that only opens up after repeated spins, Masters of War has to go down in my mind as a disappointing follow-up from Fogalord. It's something of a double blow considering how long we had to wait to hear more from them. I thought their debut was excellent. This one not so much. It's one of those albums where there's little reason to listen to it again so long as the first one exists.
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