Despite being around for over twenty years and with a back catalogue of six previous albums, I had never actually heard of Emerald until their new album “Reckoning Day” dropped into the Ever Metal inbox. This means I have nothing previous to compare this album to but this could have been a good thing as this release comes with a whole new line up.
Emerald were originally formed in Düdingen in Switzerland, founded in 1995 from the ashes of two local bands, Dark Crystal and Oppress and since releasing their last album “Unleashed” in 2012, they have changed their singer twice, now settling with Mace Mitchell (Silence Lost, Eddies Beast, The New Source), added a new second guitarist in the shape of Julien Menth (Six Pack) and brought in new bass player Vania Truttman.
“Reckoning Day” is their seventh studio album, released on 17/03/2017 in the UK (24/03/2017 worldwide) by Pure Steel Records and is over sixty minutes of heavy metal in its purest form. Pounding drums, heavy riffs and melodic leads, re-inforced with vigorous power metal vocals and strong production by V O Pulver (Gurd, Poltergeist, Destruction) give the band the “pure fucking heavy metal sound from Switzerland” sound that is proudly the tag line of their own website.
In essence, this could be considered two albums in one, or at least a double album, as it can be broken up into two distinct parts. The first half is just pure and classic heavy power metal, with the band sounding like bands such as Edguy, Avantasia or Helloween one minute then turning things up a notch or two to match the sound of Metallica or Iron Maiden the next. There is even a Bon Jovi-esque power ballad thrown in for good measure, although personally I don’t think belongs on the album. I love a good power ballad, but this changes their sound too much and I just don’t think it fits well with the rest of the tracks.
The second half of the album is a concept titled “The Burgundian Wars” that is based on the historical novel “Der Löwe von Burgund.” What many people won’t know is that this book was actually written, and published in 2012, by the band’s keyboard player Thomas Vaucher, proving there is more to this band than first meets the eye. Bookended by musical narration this part of the album could almost have been released entirely on its own and quite possibly should have been.
The core elements of the Emerald sound are twin guitar harmonies and leads, a solid and galloping rhythm section and clean, strong, assertive metal vocals. These fundamentals are then mixed with plenty of melody, harmony and groove, with a touch of synthesisers for orchestration to produce a power metal sound that has some fucking balls.
This is a classic heavy metal band with a very “keep it real” tradition, not afraid to mix it up a bit, while keeping their sound firmly in their roots.
There is much to like about this album, and lots to love. I personally would have released it as two separate albums but that’s just my humble opinion and incorporating it all onto one does nothing to take away from just how good it is. I could go on all night about this album but why listen to me singing its praises when you can go and purchase a copy and listen for yourself?
If you like power metal you’ll love this album, if you like thrash metal you’ll love this album…..hell, if you like classic heavy metal, you’ll love this album.
So, what are you still reading this for?? Get online and order yourself a copy…..now!!
1. Only The Reaper Wins
2. Black Pyramid
3. Evolution In Reverse*
4. Horns Up
5. Beyond Forever
6. Through The Storm*
7. Ridden By Fear
8. Mist Of The Past
9. Trees Full Of Tears
10. Lament Of The Fallen
11. Reckoning Day
12. Reign Of Steel
13. Signum Dei
14. Fading History
15. End Of The World*
Al Spicher – Drums
Michael Vaucher – Guitars
Thomas Vaucher – Keyboards
Julien Menth – Guitars
Vania Truttmann – Bass
Mace Mitchell – Vocals
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn Smith, The Metal Asylum and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Originally posted on Ever Metal