Holy Knights: Between Daylight and Pain

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Holy Knights: Between Daylight and Pain
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Holy Knights: Between Daylight and Pain
Power Metal
Scarlet Records
October 2nd, 2012
Release length:
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After releasing their debut full-length album Gate Through the Past in 2002, Power Metal act Holy Knights called it a day. The group remained split up for quite some time, but reunited in 2010, leading to the release of their follow-up album, Between Daylight and Pain in 2012 through Scarlet Records. But, does this new recording some ten years later show the Italian metal trio as strong as ever, or is this offering a stagnant one full of rust-covered promise?

Much like any Scarlet Records release, the audio quality to Between Daylight and Pain sounds fantastic. The rich and heavy audio is met by a powerful drum performance that sounds great and tears through everything, but sometimes can be a bit too overbearing. The cymbals can sometimes sound washed out, but for the most part are crisp and fill the music nicely against tight, almost mechanical-sounding snares and clicks to the bass kicks. The only gripe is that, when they really become the main focus, they can detract from the bass quite a bit, such as with “Glass Room.” But, when this isn’t the problem, the guitars have a typical Power Metal distortion, coming through a little deeper with a nice heavy edge to them against the pulsing lower bass guitar presence that acts as a strong backbone to the release. The vocals have a great deal of range behind them, obvious in a clean manner, though not afraid to add some heat to the mix where needed, as well as some higher falsettos. Of course there are some keyboards that appear and add a good atmospheric touch. They are loud enough to grab your attention, but never to the point where they dominate the mix. However, they show a good deal of dexterity, playing to the early Power Metal fantastical sounds, as well as being a bit Symphonic, treading into Progressive territory, and even incorporating a bit of an Electronica vibe that works surprisingly well with the song “11 September.”

Aside a nice heavy sound, Between Daylight and Pain has a good deal of variety while keeping to the Power Metal foundation. This leads to plenty of catchy songs, as well as others that are just generally impressive. “Mistery” has an atmosphere that reflects the title well. The symphonic keyboards add to the wonderous, fantastical tone of the music that shifts between hammering at the listener with faster riffs and pounding drums, and mid-tempo material that focuses on a strong melody. The chorus seems a bit over-the-top, but works in a very grand manner, pushing the falsetto vocals and quicker drumming with a very energetic push that welcomes the listener into the album without restraint. Of course this is a dynamically different offering compared to others here. The only other song that comes close is the “The Turning to the Madness,” which is handled in more of an operatic sense. The music isn’t too dynamic for the most part, but gradually builds, moving into somewhat powerful vocal performances that allow the world to grow in passion similar to something one might expect in a Rhapsody of Fire album, though never really reaching that pivotol moment of impact. Instead, the song ends on a somber note with softer, dismal chords against rain and thunder from a mild storm. It’s a big let down, though a decent enough ending to the album.

“Beyond the Mist” a far more restrained offering that really feeds into the typical aspects of the style, but handled in a way to immediately grab the listener by the throat. The song is simply infectious thanks to the guitars and the vocals pushing it forward a little more. The chorus doesn’t quite progress how you might expect it to, but when it hits will make you stop everything and take notice. There’s also a good deal of shifting in the pace to create that fantastical aura, as well as even incorporate an astral sense through some Progressive keyboards that rival the faster solo. While not the most unique offering, it definitely is intriguing and memorable. Much of this also can be said for “Awake,” though it does have a stronger keyboard presence, as well as comes off a bit more relaxed. Surprisingly, the latter of those two can make for some of the better material on the recording. “Wasted Time” is another soothing offering, letting you sit back and be embraced by the music and atmospheres it weaves. The keyboards often vary in sound throughout, but all around give a nice black and white, even somewhat wholesome vibe to the music. The heavy guitar and bass riffs give a superb edge to the slower bridges, and the vocals work for whatever pace or tone the performances are going for.

This isn’t exactly the most exciting album in the Power Metal field, but it really has some catchy and memorable songs to it. The only downfall really comes from the drums. While they sound great, they can be a bit overbearing. Thankfully this isn’t the case for each song, and if you keep the volume low enough, they don’t pose much of a problem. Of course, that violates the purpose of listening to such hard hitting music in the first place. It’s great to know that Holy Knights haven’t really been hurt from the hiatus that occured, and in fact may have put out a superb album that dwarfs their debut. If you like Power Metal that is more than just the common template built up with some symphonics or over-the-top aspects, you’ll enjoy the variety that Holy Knights brings with them for Between Daylight and Pain, coming back time and again for a fantastical voyage that won’t soon grow old.

01. Mistery – 5:13
02. Frozen Paradise – 5:41
03. Beyond the Mist – 5:42
04. 11 September – 5:04
05. Glass Room – 5:21
06. Wasted Time – 4:52
07. Awake – 4:18
08. The Turning to the Madness – 6:02
Overall Score: 8/10
Holy Knights (band)
Holy Knights
Digital review copy of this release provided by Scarlet Records.