Once Upon A Time
Out : March 24, 2023
Playing Time : 57:12
Pure Finnish power metal class
That’s what it says in the press mail. Excalion were founded in 2000, but only drummer Henri Pirkkalainen and keyboardist Jarmo Myllyvirta remain from that time. But at least the line-up seems to be stable since 2015. Five albums have been released so far. And in March this year, album number six “Once Upon A Time” is finished.
The opener “Keitele” starts with ocean noise, followed by piano and synths. A quiet anthemic power ballad with a faster middle section. But with “Resolution” the tranquility is over. Heavy guitar riffs dominate, partly accompanied by keyboards. But here, too, the Finns hardly move beyond the midtempo range. “Soulbound” is then double bass driven. Henri Pirkkalainen has to do some hard work here. A bass line dominates the beginning of “Words Cannot Heal”, later rhythmic guitar riffs set the accents. Also “Amuse Me” is characterized by riffs, but above all by keyboard carpets. In addition, choruses with polyphonic vocals. Keyboards again on the title track “Once Upon A Time”. Later, riffs and a hymn-like chorus follow. “I Am I”, on the other hand, rocks forward again. Excalion go at a high speed here. The musicians are driven by wild drumming. In addition, there is, once again, a great guitar solo. “When A Moment Turns Into A Lifetime” is the second ballad of the album. It is even quieter and more solemn than “Keitele”. Singer Marcus Lång is accompanied by acoustic guitars. Shortly afterwards, the rhythm section kicks in with full force. But this does not change the contemplative mood. With “Radiant Halo”, the riffs stomp forward punchily again, before it gets a bit quieter again with the vocals. And again hymn-like choruses. Shortly before the end, another ballad follows with “Eternals”. This time, however, the singer is accompanied by piano and synth strings. And again, the chorus delivers a great amount of epicness. The closing song “Band Of Brothers” offers epic choruses underpinned by keyboards.
Are the praises from the press info true? I would say yes. What Excalion deliver here is Power Metal on a very high level. Although mainly midtempo, the songs are varied. But high level is unfortunately no guarantee for big commercial success. The competition in their own country is simply too big for that. But at least they don’t have a small label behind them, Scarlet Records. There should be something that can be done.
Excalion – Soulbound (Official Video): https://youtu.be/vghjYYEBk5k
Marcus Lång – Vocals
Aleksi Hirvonen – Guitar
Jarmo “Jappe” Myllyvirta – Keyboards
Onni “Hot Nutz” Hirvonen – Bass
Henri Pirkkalainen – Drums
- Words Cannot Heal
- Amuse Me
- Once Upon A Time
- I Am
- When A Moment Turns Into A Lifetime
- Radiant Halo
- Band Of Brothers