Dragonland - Astronomy
Century Media
Grandiose, Powerful Metal
12 songs (52:14)
Release year: 2006
Dragonland, Century Media
Reviewed by Andrew
Album of the year
… behold such rapturous divinity, cosmic grace! … for whence stars are conceived cometh a comet so brilliant, so radiant, that even the eyes of Zeus reflect blinding iridescence in the coming wake of this empyrean majesty, this force so grandiose that I dare to say would set flight to all angels fallen! … witness the coming with spirit ascending gracious friend, for the astronomic grandeur of Dragonland’s Astronomy is nigh, and may so the horizons glimmer with an ever-brooding light for all to see, for all to know!

Having been a Dragonland fan since the days of their fantasy-laden power metal contributions The Battle Of The Ivory Plains and Holy War, I have delightfully watched the band progress from release to release, discovering realms that other metallic entities only dream of. Although many listeners expressed disappointment and ultimately misunderstanding with the release of Dragonland’s 2004 effort Starfall (one of my all-time favorite albums), the band clearly showcased a significant leap to a new stone amidst the ever-flowing river of growth and, sadly, received much criticism for what was clearly fueled by nothing more than pure inspiration and child-like imagination. For example, the title-cut on Starfall is easily one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in my life, and may I say that few songs, regardless of how dire or gray my mind may be, touch me in such a significant manner to alter a frown to a glimmering smile within a few precious moments … if this isn’t the essence of power metal, to be powerful, then assuredly we’re all laden with failure, are we not? Astronomy is yet another leap to another stone, another conception of pure artistic grace and yet another album, amongst the few, that will stay with me for the years to come as being a reminder of the reason I became interested in this genre in the first place, which is for its steadfast dedication to keeping the flame alive (the flame we all know so well) whilst never becoming stagnant, always growing … Dragonland define this.

So, with sentiment and imagery aside, what have Dragonland managed to conceive with Astronomy? A progression, yes; a change, yes; an album of a thousand arrows flying through a gray sky, where elven tears fall like an autumnal rain amidst whipping wind … no. For those hoping for a return to the predictable, majestic sounds of fantastical power metal, cower away in agony dear friends, for the gods have traveled far away beyond the seas, perhaps never to return to this amending land of dragons again … for those of you, however, that were awe-struck and delighted with Starfall, rejoice! … for Astronomy is more than you could ever have hoped for; captivating, diversified, creative, scholarly, dazzling and, ultimately, beautiful. I could, with all fair honesty, write a research topic on this album, dedicating pages upon pages to song-by-song litanies of praise, however, for the sake of respect in letting music radiate as it must (for no words can ever even begin to graze the power of a weeping violin atop a moon-lit eve), I will try to cover as best as I can the diversity of this record without ruining any of the initial magic of discovery that any open-minded metal listener will assuredly be cascaded with upon listening to Astronomy.

Embarking on the journey with Supernova, Dragonland summarize the growth rather significantly by the use of intelligent, subtle, layered melodicism (not in the obvious, over-used forms such as Maiden-esque guitar harmonies, thankfully), a multitude of musical influences (from electronic to classical) in addition to a new-found heaviness that compliments the aesthetic of the album perfectly. Lyrically taking inspiration from a vast arena, ranging from mythological topics to modern philosophical concerns, Dragonland have become the sort of scholars of power metal, intertwining intelligible concepts and writing with academic arrangements, whilst never coming across as even slightly pretentious or untouchable, as so many artists have unfortunately attempted to achieve, hiding behind a false masque of crumbling elitism. Musically the album compliments the lyrical diversity flawlessly; not only does the music reflect whatever mood is being represented by the narrative, it also aesthetically varies greatly by the use of proper instrumentation and melodic sensibility, forming a sort of perfect unity between tale and song … such spacious balance! Now …

The Old House On The Hill … where, or how, can I even begin to attempt to put such bravado into literary form? Swaggering are the nuances of such a piece, yet so robust and vigorous does it storm through the spires of musical advancement! … something like the perfect harmonium, the most acute variable of balance, does this testament to compositional sharpness gleam on through even the blackest of winter nights amidst Lapland … so magnificent, so marvelous, so glorious! As if spoken to by the very same spirits that brought Mozart’s madness to musical velocity during some solitary, wintry eve, Dragonland has accomplished something musically that goes far beyond the expectations of metal music and, sequentially, far beyond general musical enlightenment. There is something here so purely ensorcelled and exquisite, so ethereal and pristine, like that of true love’s first kiss, that I utterly fail in my vain attempts to capture such musical rapture within the confines of modern language. I am at a loss, though I am not woeful, for such refinement must be heard to be understood, and it seems that is where it must stay, for I’ve exhausted my eloquence that unjustly has been used to describe something nearly indescribable thus, if I may ask so kindly, please forgive me, for this relic is nothing short of divine.

… Direction: Perfection? … aye, I think so.
Killing Songs :
All of them, though The Old House On The Hill is from the beyond.
Andrew quoted 99 / 100
Other albums by Dragonland that we have reviewed:
Dragonland - Under The Grey Banner reviewed by Chris and quoted 96 / 100
Dragonland - Starfall reviewed by Marty and quoted 79 / 100
Dragonland - Holy War reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Dragonland - The Battle Of The Ivory Plains reviewed by Chris and quoted 88 / 100
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