Swedish Power Metal outfit Twilight Force return on their epic quests throughout The Twilight Kingdoms with their latest epic release, At the Heart of Wintervale.
Twilight Force from a cursory glance come off as an incredibly silly band with an over-the-top goofy gimmick and an intense commitment to high fantasy, all of this is true but their commitment to ‘the bit’ is admirable and never overshadows how they are in terms of lyricism and technical proficiency.
The record opens with ‘Twilight Force’, a track that establishes what type of album you’re about to listen to while also giving a canonical explanation of who the Twilight Force are; an amazing group of heroes dedicated to protecting The Twilight Kingdom.
A track that may draw the average Dovahkin’s attention would be ‘Dragonborn’, an adventurous track featuring bright whimsical synths and vocal melodies that will never ever leave your head, even if you can’t understand Allyon’s soaring vocals at times… and yes the entire band have fantasy names.
One of the standout tracks is ‘Highlands of the Elder Dragon’, a more progressive track that features absolutely everything that makes a power metal song amazing; storybook narration, sweeping guitar solos, epic synth, soaring falsettos and dragons. This track demonstrates Twilight Force’s ability to craft grandiose stories like the best of dungeon masters.
There are more accessible tracks on the record like ‘Skyknights of Aldaria’, a track that features one of the most life-affirming blast beat sections you’re likely to find in modern metal as well orchestral arrangements that would be worthy of Lord of the Rings or at least something less serious like Hawk the Slayer.
It feels strange to commend an album for its voice acting but some of the spoken word performances in ‘The Last Crystal Bearer‘ help make an already grand and engrossing song about the crimes of necromancy even more engaging.
It’s very difficult to make this sound anything but silly but that’s the whole point of Twilight Force and power metal in general; it takes itself as seriously as it needs to and simply dedicates itself to being fun and grand. If none of this sounds awesome then you need to lighten up and replay Skyrim with this playing in the background or perhaps start a D&D campaign with this as a soundtrack.
At the Heart of Wintervale is out on January 20th 2023 via Nuclear Blast.