I’m gonna start this review with a question that usually ends my reviews – and I think I have ended a couple of Dynazty reviews with it. Why isn’t Dynazty a headlining act yet? Why aren’t they headlining festivals and arenas around the world? I can’t get it through my skull. After six albums, none of them worse than good, most of them brilliant, it feels like the band just doesn’t get much bigger compared to the last album no matter how awesome the records are. Sure, they went on an up when they changed their sound from more traditional Hard Rock to Metal with a modern twist, but still, with reviews from both media and audience getting better and better, the big break is still lurking around the corner. Lord knows they deserve to be a big, headlining act by now.
That being said, they guys’ patience and their iron-will to never give up is impressing and now it’s time for the band’s new record, album # 7. The last album, the killer Firesign (2018) got the best reception from both fans and media and rightfully so but to follow an album like that up – especially when you have a few just as awesome records under the belt (I have been throwing nines over this band for ages now) – is not an easy task. The band’s fanbase is growing bigger – but too damn slow, if you ask me – which means that every new album is their most important to date. You can’t afford to slip if you want to keep growing and as I wrote in my Night Flight Orchestra review recently, every band will have their downfall at some point. It’s with expectations sky-rocketing like Superman with extra-strong mustard up his arse I take on this new record, keeping my fingers crossed that this Swedish five-piece will once again deliver the goods.
Opener and the album’s leading single ”Presence Of Mind” tells me that I have nothing to worry about. This fat and tough grooved mid-paced rocker is exactly as brilliant as I had hoped it would be. It’s an energetic piece of work, fueled by a kicking Metal groove, heavy and ballsy riffing but also somewhat commercially laden within the melody structure – and there’s nothing wrong with that what so ever. It’s a heavy song with a serious message but it also holds a chorus so direct and catchy, there’s really no escape. These guys knows how to work in poppy influences into their melodies without getting sugary or cheesy. This tune deserve to be a massive hit – because its so massively brilliant!
It is followed by the faster tracked gut-puncher ”Paradise Of The Architect” that’s here to kick ass and take names. It’s a slammin’ metal-belter with rowdy chugga-chugga riffing, a thunderous rhythm and melodies to die for. It do sends a wink towards Power Metal but not enough to annoy and it’s a bit on the symphonic side but the solo part holds a classic Metal vibe and the chorus is immediate and hits like a ton of bricks. Great stuff indeed. ”The Black” is upbeat, punchy, adrenaline-fueled that carried on a foundation of Metal but isn’t afraid to send an enormous pop-laden chorus our way, a damn strong chorus so catchy it bloody hurts. It might be a straight-forward rocker and the rhythm might want to beat you up but with all those hooks, it’ll draw you in before you know what happened. Phenomenal.
”From Sound To Silence” is rhythmically slamming – stompy and bouncy and the song’s soundscape is on the darker side. Heavy, robust and aggressive, this Metal number also brings in singer Nils Molin’s Amaranthe (Molin’s other band) band-mate Henrik ”DG6” Englund for some growly gruffs – still in a pretty melodic way – which changes the song’s dynamics some and it is a new twist for the band but it works splendidly without sounding forced at all. The electronic twists and the killer instrumental middle-section only brings the dynamics up furthermore and on top another spot-on refrain. Great stuff.
On the other side of the coin we have the ballad ”Hologram” which starts out acoustically but gets bigger and heavies up along the way. Blended in are both a heavy Metal twist and a nod towards late 80’s power-balladry and of course those striking and infectious melodies that seems to increase endlessly in the guys’ heads. A ballad it sure as hell is but mind you it’s a Metal ballad, it’s powerful and it never, ever gets the least syrupy or cute – only inhumanly catchy with an out-of-this-world chorus. It must be a single at some point. Pure brilliance. Second single ”Heartless Madness” is also astounding but takes a turn towards Melodic Rock with Metal as a base. It’s a straight-forward and heavy pop-rocker with intense melodies and hooks all over the place. The chorus is somewhat reminiscent of the Anette Olzon fronted Nightwish’s poppier moments – which I love – and it’s a monstrous melody-fest. The fact that this tune wasn’t all over rock-radio proves that we live in a mad world.
Latest single ”Waterfall” comes with a clap-your-hands-friendly beat, very poppy melodies that takes on an ABBA vibe on an upbeat and straight ahead groove. The verses are a bit calmer and laid-back but takes a more uptempo road when the chorus comes in. It’s a big, slick chorus that brings Eurovision Song Contest to mind with hooks and melodies that makes it unescapable with all its catchiness. It’s actually more of a pop-rock tune than a Hard Rock one and a bit on the saccharine side but also way too good to dismiss. The 6-minute ”Threading The Needle” stays with the Pop elements but it’s way heavier than its predecessor and also a bit on the symphonic side. The sound is darker but also uplifting with more hook-laden melodies and a chunky chorus. It’s a good song but not as strong as the previous ones.
The uptempo and rhythmic ”The Man And The Elements” brings things back on track again with some crunchy guitar work and a folky influenced guitar line in the verses which sounds great mixed up with the tune’s Metal foundation. The solo part is definitively Celtic influenced and brings on a more Metal Thin Lizzy vibe, something that enriches the tune. It’s a guitar-driven yet keyboard-friendly rocker that brings on a crispy groove and a beefy rhythm-section and another refrain that totally hits bulls-eye. Fantastic! The band takes on a more ferocious turn with the aggressive and blackening ”Apex”. It’s a fast-tempoed rocker that’s slightly operatic and dramatic on a headbang-friendly note but also oh so brilliantly catchy. The mix between the sinister outlook and aggression and million-bucks hooks and striking melodies marries amazingly well. Fan-bloody-tastic.
Dynazty takes yet another turn with the acoustic blues-country injected ballad ”The Road To Redemption”. As a ballad, the tune is upbeat and holds a steady rhythm with a groove. While the verses are more quiet and abstemious, the grandiose chorus is heavier, faster and a bit more roughed up with a Metal punch but still phenomenally catchy. To call the song a curveball might be to exaggerate things but it’s pretty far outside the Dynazty box. A killer song that brings up the album’s dynamics. They close the album with the title-track, an upbeat in a mid pace, pop-flavored Metal rocker with a well orchestrated symphonic twist. It’s a quite intense number and I guess I really don’t have to point out just how great the chorus is. As a closing track, it’s perfect.
To sum the album, it’s easy to state that the downfall isn’t even remotely close on this album. Quality wise, the song-writing is just stupendously good and most of the tracks sounds like a hit – to pick singles from this record must be a horrendous task. Or easy, just close your eyes and point at one song. Sound wise, the use of keyboards is way more substantial than on any of their earlier efforts, so much that to hire a permanent keyboard player could be something to think about. Also, the production is more modern which makes the record more radio-friendly. I still hold Titanic Mass (2016) and Sultans Of Sin (2012) my favorite Dynazty albums, but not by much and to compare it to their last album, well this record begins where Firesign ended and it’s almost as fantastic. It’s not a big nine but had I used commas, 8,75 would have been a more accurate score. This is a brilliant album so if you have missed out on this lot, it’s time to change that – yesterday. And if they play live around your neighborhood after the damn pandemic is over, go see them. They’re a killer live-act as well.
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