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Reviews » [Review] Barque of Dante (Chn) - Final Victory (2009)
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  • Made in China... With High Quality - 80%

    Barque of Dante are one of the few, and I mean very few power metal bands hailing from China. Having to at one point re-record the entire thing when an earthquake hit and destroyed a good portion of their recordings, their dedication and hard work has given us their first full-length, Final Victory, and the results are quite satisfying considering that the band had relatively little to go on in terms of local influence, so the fact that they even came to exist is a positive thing for the country's metal scene.

    Now, if someone were to give this album a blind listen without any knowledge of the band's background they may understandably assume they're European, heck, the album even begins with a bagpipe intro. Bagpipes on a Chinese metal album are indeed strange, but it's equally cool and the result is a half decent opener leading into the title track, Final Victory. Barque of Dante are clearly huge fans of the power metal of the west, and said influence is extremely prominent, giving me vibes of Helloween, Dragonforce, and a bunch of Stratovarius. The songs present on the album are fairly typical power metal fare with some great solos, the highly energetic Final Victory, and Dine in the Hell moving the album along with a good flow, two nice ballads, one of which, Farewell is simply beautiful, and on the song Immortal King there's even a good bit of growling.

    Lyrically Final Victory is half decent considering these guys aren't exactly masters of English. The story of the album is of a man at war, his struggles, and his lover whom he is protecting, and being a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series, the whole Three Kingdoms story comes to mind and I can really picture the tales they're telling and it simply feels empowering and exciting. The vocalists also aren't bad with English either, and are fairly easy to understand most of the time, which obviously helps them to convey their story to the listener better.

    Some of the things I liked most about this album was their use of both a male and female vocalist; Xie Zhiheng and Wei Jing respectively are the most Chinese thing about the album, and are exclusively what makes the band's story feel like a battle in the Three Kingdoms era instead of a battle in medieval Europe, I do wish Wei Jing sang lead vocals on more than just Farewell as she did a fine job. One other thing that I love about this album is Barque of Dante's decision to include Dragonforce's My Spirit Will Go On paying tribute to a major influence of theirs, and they do an excellent job covering the song, guitarists Zhang Bei and Wang Hongyu absolutely play their asses off here and finish the album off with a little lighthearted fun.

    If I had one major complaint with this album however, it would be Barque of Dante's relentless quest to be a European power metal band as proven even further by their hiring of a European vocalist a few years back (Thomas Winkler; all due respect to him) eliminating almost every last hint of a Chinese feel to their music. We've got a band here that's capable of doing something almost no other bands have done in China, pioneering the country's metal scene, and being something new and fresh, and they could have achieved that had they implemented Chinese folk elements on a few tracks the way The Last Successor or Fearless have done. The opportunity for them to start something special is beyond huge; you've got a country with over a billion people, and as of mid 2015, there's a whopping 7 Chinese bands with the power metal tag on this site (Metal Archives), so I certainly hope they take advantage of this chance and put even a little bit of eastern folk sound into future releases.

    Overall, Final Victory provides its listeners with an all around decent power metal experience and a taste of the growing metal scene in China, which has produced some quality bands, the likes of Ego Fall, Fearless, Tang Dynasty, The Last Successor, and of course Barque of Dante. I would recommend this album to fans of straightforward, traditional power metal, as well as people looking for a decent Chinese metal band, though if you're searching for a Chinese folk sound I strongly suggest you look elsewhere. Highlights: Farewell, Dine in the Hell, Final Victory, My Spirit Will Go On.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
    Review completely revised July 30, 2015.
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