Fantasy - Realm of Wonders (demo)
Symphonic Speed Metal
13 songs (56:54)
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Mike
Untitled Document

After listening to this CD, I am left with one thing - frustration. Fantasy play symphonic power/speed metal featuring some wonderful musical compositions and majestic harmony vocals that rivals top bands of the genre such as Rhapsody. Having made that statement, you may wonder why such a low quote. The answer is simple - horrible production. Like I said, listening to this CD is very frustrating since the songs themselves are very majestic, with excellent orchestrations throughout, but it is all lost with the bottom level production.

The second major issue I have with this album is the lead vocals. The vocal delivery is very thin, and he really sounds as if he is straining at the higher octaves. Upon occasion, he is out of tune, but luckily not often enough or badly enough to ruin the songs. As a result of the low budget production, the lead vocal level is turned pretty far down, almost burying the lead vocal line at times. I can't complain too much about that since it makes the out of tune moments much less noticeable!

As for the musicianship, there is nothing wrong with this band at all. I've got to give credit where credit is due. The percussionist does a fine job behind the drum set, although he is probably the most noticeable victim of this horrible production job. The volume of the drum line fluctuates throughout the disc from quiet at times to overpowering at other times. Moreover, the drum sound is much too raw and unpolished. However, he keeps time perfectly and never misses a beat. Throughout the album, there are plenty of galloping riffs (The Fellowship is a great example) as well as some interesting, although not remarkable solos. How can I describe the orchestration and overall song structure? Majestic, enchanting, and breathtaking would be a good start. These songs would certainly send chills up your spine if properly produced and complimented with a better vocalist. These guys certainly give Rhapsody fans something to appreciate with respect to songwriting and orchestrations.

It is a shame to see such thoughtful compositions and a well executed musical effort undermined by such butchered production. The end of Fight For Your King gradually decreases in volume as the song draws to a close and you can actually hear a steady hiss in the background similar to the "old days" of cassette tapes. This is exactly what I mean when I say "amateurish" production job. You have got to do better than this no matter how well you play your instruments or how great of a songwriter you may be if you want to make a name for yourself in the music industry. This is a demo of course, so I suppose that explains the poor production. However I must be fair in my review and discuss the lousy production, demo or not. Two positive things are clear from litening to this demo - these guys are excellent songwriters and are more than capable musicians.

Die hard fans of symphonic metal, especially Rhapsody will surely appreciate the quality orchestrations and their extensive use throughout the album. The harmony vocals add a majestic and uplifting feel to the album, and the percussionist roars like a speeding freight train from start to finish. Despite the commendable songwriting and the talented musicians, the weak (but not horrible) lead vocals coupled with the weak (and very horrible) production make this album difficult to recommend as an investment. Let's see if the band can find a competent producer to enhance rather than ruin the songs and perhaps consider a new vocalist or at least working to improve their current vocalist. The raw talent is certainly there. Hopefully this band will find a label that is willing to fund a real producer who can bring out the best sound that this band has to offer. Not a bad demo at all. There is quite a bit of room for improvement, but I must say that the band have the talent and songwriting ability to make this huge improvement a reality on their next opus. I look forward to hearing the progress the guys make.

Killing Songs :
Ride With the Sun, The Enlightened, The Fellowship, & The Lord would be killers if properly produced!
Mike quoted 60 / 100
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