Messiah's Kiss Dragonheart

Surprisingly muscular, given that singer Mike Tirelli has a bit more of a Bruce Dickinson fetish than most should admit to, Dragonheart is akin to Fates Warning actually having enough testosterone and might to back up their claims of being aggressive metal. Double-bass drums hammer away under a soaring vocal attack that knows just when to pull back but never lets a good harmony slip out of its grasp. Fuelling it all, searing guitar solos one would expect on an Exodus album rage away between pointed shots of low-end chugging. Factoring in even more dynamics, the band take full advantage of their ability to write a logical song that maximises catchy choruses, whips up a breakdown and still manages to boost tempo and attack during the bridge. Naturally, music of this operatic/power metal sort is resplendent in mystical imagery and the songs revolve around topics such as the burning gates of Babylon, crying falcons and ivory gates, but for Messiah’s Kiss it works. The mid-tempo songs are no less guttural or primal and Tirelli offers up barbed melodies that stick to the synapses and refuse to let go. It’s rare when a band can filter passion and zest through technical proficiency, especially in metal where the results are either too gruff or entirely flaccid. Finding a minute crack between Thor-esque Euro metal and thrash, Messiah’s Kiss hit the nail on the head with impressive results. (SPV)