Dragon Guardian - Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom
Symphonic Power / Speed Metal
9 songs (41:10)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Kyle

Is the lack of straightforward speed and thrills on Rhapsody of Fire’s latest effort getting you down? Fear not: Dragon Guardian is here, and they give not one fuck regarding ballads, slow tempos, conceptual fantasy overload or hit-or-miss experimentation. Folks, if you’re going to buy one symphonic power metal album this year based on sheer speed and bombast alone, you could certainly do worse than Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom. This Japanese band has been kicking around for around five years now, and in this time they’ve presented seven (!!!) full-length albums, yet only recently have they been made available in the U.S. via major downloading services such as iTunes and Rhapsody. This newest album is definitely the place you want to start.

That’s not to say the band’s various other releases are bad – most are fairly enjoyable, but this one truly impresses, delivering nearly non-stop speed and nixing the annoying Japanese narrations and irritable high-pitched female singing (squealing?) of past albums. This also means a lack of variety, but with Destiny clocking in at just over 40 minutes, it makes for a fun, swift listen that I find myself returning to when in the mood for this sort of thing. It’s not for everyone – much like with Dragonforce, I can imagine many being turned away by the band’s refusal to shy away from double bass drumming – but for those that enjoy this sort of thing, it’s a real treat. The female vocals presented here (at least I assume they're female - this style oddly enough fits comfortably between a male and female range) are a big plus, adopting a style that is strong and never annoying or over-the-top. As I said before, bass drums fire along at a steady clip (though I suspect these are triggered, as sometimes they speed ahead at an inconceivably fast pace) while guitars churn out tremolo riffs and lead runs / solos at an unstoppable rate. The vocals seem to be sung in English, but with such a thick accent they're difficult to understand; but seriously, who cares when you’re dealing with this kind of music?

Layered over it all is shimmery, predictable symphonic keyboard work, yet it proves as a welcome layer... except perhaps when Dragon Guardian’s production on this album comes into question. Yes, this is an independent release, but production could easily be improved; as it is, one gets an impression that each instrument was mixed at the same level and mashed together. The end result is competent, but Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom can sound a bit shrill because of this at times. Due to the poor production and a general lack of variety, I can’t justify myself in giving this album a better-than-average score, but fans of super-fast, hyper-melodic power metal that think they might like this after reading this review most likely will. It’s definitely not original, and one might find it hard to listen to this more than once a day because of the overall intensity of it all, but Destiny of the Sacred Kingdom is still definitely worth a listen.

PROS: Some of the least-pretentious symphonic power metal one could possibly find. This album is fast, so play it loud. The end.

CONS: Variety is non-existent, production needs much improvement.

Killing Songs :
If you like one, you'll like 'em all.
Kyle quoted 69 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 10 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:32 am
View and Post comments