, 13.04.2011 – Rating: 9 of 10

This is one of those albums that somehow weaseled underneath the radar. The Solar Fragment experience was a complete mystery to me before “In Our Hands” mystified my ears; I knew they were a German power metal band, but the trail ran dry after that. The group lives up to its native forefathers like Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray with the speed-heavy power metal agenda that entwines the melodic incense of “In Our Hands” wonderfully. Solar Fragment isn’t your average power metal band, however; these Germans are fresh and energetic during the album’s monumental moments which soar like an eagle. There’s no doubt Solar Fragment will turn quite a few heads and leave some jaws on the floor.

Nothing is incredibly original about “In Our Hands” primordially, but Solar Fragment does a fantastic job crafting the power metal postulate to showcase some dazzling riffs, choruses, and structures that are illuminating with greatness. Robert Leger’s singing is one of the key contributors to the record’s overall success, with his emotive, forceful vocals blending into Solar Fragment’s melodic flavor and heavy divisions astonishingly. His natural register is quite unique to say the least, and here he brandishes the high-flying choruses with his stellar voice; he’s a sensational vocalist, there’s no doubt. The whole album has countless hooks, and Solar Fragment wastes no time addicting the listener to their inspiring textures that catch like wildfire.

Most of the album’s gems really materialize once the record begins its flow from ripping power metal to numbers based on melody, however. Solar Fragment quickly shows the listener its curious personality during the title track and “With Empty Eyes,” which moves from classic power metal to mid-speed exploitations extraordinarily well. I about pooped an elephant when Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch opened the awesome “Inside the Circle” with his choir-like harmonies before Leger joined the vocal voyage too; quite the great duo these Germans make. “Come Hell or High Water” features power metal at its best: catchy choruses, driving riffs, and more good moments than you can count. Solar Fragment turns down a poignant path throughout the soothing “Moana’s Return” before marching into the album’s last two tracks which continue the spearing power metal most of “In Our Hands” defines.

Solar Fragment makes no attempt to recreate or bring power metal into some universal sanctum that completely destroys the genre’s notions, instead facing the raging bull head-on and grappling the beast to the ground with excellent song writing and a thriving sense of authority. Everything Solar Fragment touches turns to gold. The music is awesome, Leger’s voice a triumphant endeavor, the song writing pristine…need I say more? Solar Fragment can easily make a stand against the leading crusaders that guard power metal’s temple, and that isn’t to go without saying “In Our Hands” is a thrilling listen from start to finish.

Matt Hensch,

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