The Re-re-re-re-reinvention of Power Metal!
Dragonland break no rules. The power metal they provide does not have the Orchestral uniqueness of Rhapsody, nor the keyboard mastery of tonight's headliners Sonata Arctica. Whilst it is not as straight forward as Manowar or Hammerfall, it's pretty standard power metal in itself. Very reminiscent of Edguy or Labyrinth.
As a result, Dragonland have to pull off something pretty clever tonight to try to distance themselves above their peers. If that is what they were here to do, they only succeeded to a certain amount. The crowd's reaction was mixed - it's fair to say the power metal fans were in 7th Heaven - Dragonland can play power metal alongside the best of them. The guitars were excellent, the soaring vocals of Jonas Heidgert are brilliantly accompanied by Olof Morck's riffwork.
However, it seems that the half of the crowd who came for the more dynamic acts, such as Epica and Finntroll, may have been left cold by the ultimatly somewhat predictable Dragonland show. We've seen this before, and there's not alot to distinguish Dragonland apart from their peers.
Click for large image
Click for large image
However, for those who were content, Dragonland put on a solid show. To start with, they took advantage of the Academy's excellent sound system to it's fullest - due to the balance being so well done, the band were allowed to not turn the keyboards right up but they remained audible, and as a result one of the best sounds of the night came from the speakers during this set. In addition, every one of the songs was well executed, well written music. Dragonland didn't take the risk of playing a ballad, didn't take the risk of a long epic and as a result, they didn't take the risk of ruining what would have otherwise been a very good set. There was no awful song tonight, and frontman Heidgert played the crowd in an excellent fashion.
So whilst Dragonland may not have pushed the boundaries in the same way other bands have done tonight, they played the music we're used to in such a way as to inject it with a whole new lease of life, and that's only a great achievement.
To view all photos taken during this set click here. There are 20 available.