Between Daylight And Pain is Holy Knightsâ€™ first album together as a band in a decade. However, all three of its members have been keeping active in various bands from the Italian metal scene including Thy Majestie and Trinakrius. Having gotten back together, the trio have produced a pretty good album which has some really nice flourishes, but still requires a couple of caveats to go along with its recommendation.
As far as influences go, I can hear a fair bit of Fairyland in the album. Itâ€™s particularly evident in Dario Di Matteoâ€™s vocals, which deserve a significant amount of praise. His voice has more than a hint of Fabio Lione and you can occasionally hear him channelling the spirit of Roy Khan too â€“ he definitely has an effective and diverse approach. Of course, as an Italian power metal band, their most obvious influence is inevitably Rhapsody Of Fire – but Holy Knights donâ€™t share their taste for classically-styled million bpm shredding. Instead, they opt for an approach that uses multiple tempo changes to inject much more light and shade into their songs â€“ see for instance opening track ‘Mistery’, which isnâ€™t particularly long, but has several very different, calm interludes worked into it. This does limit the amount of momentum that the songs can build up, however, because neither their fast nor their slow sections ever last very long. This factor, however, when combined with the brevity of the album, means that I can guarantee that you won’t be bored by Between Daylight And Pain. No matter whatâ€™s happening at any given moment, thereâ€™s going to be something different and new happening soon. The only song that is really hurt by this succinctness is ‘The Turning To Madness’, which aspires to be a great epic along the lines of ‘Octavarium’ or ‘Heroes of The Waterfallsâ€™ Kingdom’, but is only six minutes long. Itâ€™s a real shame; it feels like the band wrote a great beginning and conclusion for a song but then decided that they didnâ€™t feel like putting anything between them.
One mistake that really stands out is the piano in the intro of â€˜Wasted Timeâ€™, which sounds like the band couldnâ€™t find a piano in their studio so they just ran the notation through a very basic midi interface. Itâ€™s particularly surprising because itâ€™s probably the only real misstep that the keys make in the entire album. Other than that, the only other major criticism that I could aim at Between Daylight And Pain is that the album doesnâ€™t really have anything particularly distinctive about it, which makes me wonder how long Iâ€™ll remember it when the next good central European power metal album ends up in my hands.
Here follows a criticism that doesnâ€™t really relate to the quality of the music, but I think is important. A few metal bands have attempted to write songs that adequately convey the emotions that were unleashed by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Personally, I donâ€™t think that such a recent and world changing event really lends itself to a five-minute summary over distorted guitars. Dream Theaterâ€™s â€˜Sacrificed Sonsâ€™ was a pretty good go, but Holy Knights have made one hell of a mess with ’11 September’. The song begins pretty unambiguously with the sounds of buildings collapsing and a plane flying overhead as the background to a mournful piano intro which builds up the expectation of a pretty simple ballad along the line of Iced Earthâ€™s â€˜When The Eagle Criesâ€™. Itâ€™s an OK song, but someone thought it would be a good idea to drop a couple of interludes in that sound like they came from some kind of Russian folk circus. In any song they would be out of place, but baring the subject of the song in mind it just comes off as disrespectful. Maybe Iâ€™m being a bit harsh, but it seems to me that if you wanted to do something quirky like that you wouldnâ€™t do it in a song about mass murder.
With all that out of the way, Between Daylight And Pain is definitely an album that is worth giving a bit of your time to listen to. It has the feel of a work that has been put together by a group of musicians that harbour a genuine love for power metal and have used their extensive experience in the genre to their advantage. Iâ€™m not sure whether thatâ€™ll be enough to distinguish it from the rest of the pack, but Iâ€™d be happy for someone to disagree with me on that.
Holy Knights’ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Holy-Knights/140574412728877
Scarlet Records’ website: http://www.scarletrecords.it/