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Kreyson- Navrat Krale (Return of the King)

Kreyson, power metal kings from the Czech Republic, founded by singer Lada Krizek in 1989, aren't well known in America—and I have to say—we're missing out. I saw the band in a rare US appearance at a metal festival headlined by Ross the Boss when they first reformed in 2008, and they were fantastic. I can't say much about the lyrical content of this release, as it's entirely in Czech. The CD title translates as "Return of the King." Regardless, the language barrier did not diminish my enjoyment of the CD one iota.

Singer Lada Krizek uses his melodic baritone voice to its best effect, sometimes with grit and fire, sometimes with sugar and honey—drawing the listener in like a siren. The title tracks are actually instrumental intro and outros that bookend the CD. "Archandel Michael" shares a lot in common with Priest's "Painkiller," and is the standout power metal fury track of the album. "Kde se toulas" also shares this super heavy speed metal vibe—think San Diego natives Cage. The CD does not stay in that mode the whole time, though. Much of it remains in groove heavy territory with a more melodic approach to vocals, like "Stoupas" or "My jo, a vy."

When the band moves into ballad time and the Bic lighters come out, on "Ztracim," we're treated to nice hooks, in the form of Lada's pleading voice and also by some tasty acoustic strumming and electric soloing. "Davej, dej" is the mellowest point of the disc, but not without merit. The speed metal and metal screams return for "Tva zar," which ironically turns to symphonic territory for the choruses.

All in all, Navrat Krale is an excellent metal offering, showcasing a variety of stylings for your metal appetite. If you're looking for an introduction to Kreyson in the English language, look for the recent reissues of Angel on the Run and Crusader by Ulteriim Records, or Retroactive's 20 Years of Kreyson, which contains rerecorded band favorites. (Angelus Aureus). 4 stars out of 5.

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