, May 2011 – Rating: 4.5 of 5

Spring is the time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to…Power Metal! I must have got a dozen kick-ass Power Metal albums in the last several weeks and I am blown away by the consistency and quality of these bands, especially Solar Fragment.

IN OUR HANDS is a barn-burner, the second attack from this German quintet. I’m going to have to seek out the debut this is so strong. The first and most immediate impact are the vocals of Robert Leger. His tone and delivery are much like a cross between Hansu Kursh (Blind Guardian), Jens Carlsson (Persuader) and Orden Ogan. Speaking of Kursh he joins Robert on the cut ‘Inside The Circle’, for a nice duet. Leger is powerhouse talent to watch out for.

The rest of the band deliver 10 cuts of pure Metal spread across 45 minutes. The Orden Ogan reference is not a stretch because guitarist Marc Peters used to be in that band as well. The songs clip along at a great pace, but have some variation in the speed, it’s not all double-kick. The songs are all bolstered by great big gang vocals and back up singers adding a dynamic choir from hell sound. Elsewhere we get some acoustic guitar to diversify the album, but not enough to be overbearing, it’s always about the Metal.

Solar Fragment seem to have adopted a bit of a nautical theme for this album. In fact I’m seeing that trend lately bands like Wuthering Heights, Saint Daemon and again Orden Ogan all telling tales of the sea and seafaring adventures, without resorting to clichés about pirates like Alestorm or Swashbuckle. (Which are both great bands for the record). There are a few watery sound-effects as well laced with some engaging sea-shanty sounding song constructs.

IN OUR HANDS is a fantastic record combining the classic sonic elements of Blind Guardian with individuality and flair. Combined with the superb vocal performance of Leger this album is a huge winner and immensely entertaining.

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