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(Lion Music) (2003)

A large number of European Power Metal bands originate from Italy. The country's latest export, "Orion Riders", have recently released their debut album "A New Dawn" through Lion Music. The band was formed in 1997 when Carmelo Siracusa (Bass) and Antonello Condorelli (Guitars) discovered their mutual appreciation for Queensryche, Helloween, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. In 1999 the band released their first demo "Brothers Of Another Time" which was embraced by the music press worldwide. After a couple of changes in the original line up, the band entered the studio and in October 2002 recorded their debut album.

Melodic/Power Metal bands will always face the same problem: Creating music which will successfully combine melody with technicality. Why is that difficult? Maybe because the leading bands of this genre (Helloween, Stratovarious, Angra etc) have set very high standards. Maybe because most of the European Power Metal bands that I've heard, fail to deliver fresh ideas and end up becoming bad "cover bands". The industry is ruthless and the competition is strong.

What about Orion Riders then?

I believe that "A New Dawn" is a very interesting debut album for various reasons. You cannot say that the band presents something totally new, but the compositions are well structured and the production of the album reaches high quality levels. Influences from Helloween and Angra become visible throughout this nine track CD but so does the band's personality. Joe Lombardo is the band's heavy artillery - his voice has character and delivers equally well high and low notes. Tony Zappa's (Drums & Keyboards) orchestral arrangements were quite effective and the rest of the band contributed their best. I consider "Light and Dark" and "Life's Best Days" to be my favourite songs of the album.

It is important for every new band to make a step in the right direction - Orion Riders made that step. Let's hope that the ones that will follow will be equally successful.

Label website


Review by John Stefanis

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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