Album of the Week 34-2015: Galneryus – Resurrection

Not that I want to make a habit of stating the obvious, but ‘Resurrection’ was sort of a second coming for Japan’s Galneryus. It was the first album with their current singer Masatoshi Ono and also the first thing to be released after the heavier and more experimental ‘Reincarnation’, which was generally considered a tired-sounding album, despite the fact that the experiment was at least partially successful. ‘Resurrection’ just sounds a like a breath of fresh air. The band sounds unburdened and extremely positive and though the band would top it two years later with the nearly flawless ‘Angel Of Salvation’, it still stands as one of their best albums.

First things first: Ono is much more suited to this style than his predecessor Yama-B. The latter’s mighty, semi-operatic bellow is without equal, but Ono’s clearer, more soaring timbre fits the very European-tinged style of Power Metal heard on every album since ‘Resurrection’ to a T. Also, on earlier albums, guitarist (and bandleader) Syu and Yama-B seemed to get in each other’s way every once in a while. With Ono’s more transparent voice – and Syu’s improved guitar tone – every element on ‘Resurrection’ makes sense and is part of a coherent product.

But none of this would even be relevant if the songs weren’t good enough. And some of these songs are pure, uncut gold. Though I had heard the band before, ‘Carry On’ was the song that made me fall in love with Galneryus definitively. It’s got this blazing main riff, fantastic vocals by Ono and a triumphant chorus garnished with self-empowerment lyrics. Sounds like supreme Power Metal? That’s because it is! The same goes for opening track ‘Burn My Heart’, despite its slightly more melancholic vibe. The upbeat ‘Destiny’ quickly became a Galneryus classic and ‘Emotions’ is an interesting instrumental.

Keyboard player Yuhki has contributed to a surprising amount of songs on this album as well and especially ‘Save You!’ stands out. It’s somewhat more progressive than the average Galneryus song, despite it’s highly recognizable chorus, and features some fantastic riff work. ‘Destinations’ has a somewhat darker vibe and a middle section that never fails to give me goosebumps – it is somewhat reminiscent of the post-chorus part of Labÿrinth’s ‘Moonlight’. ‘Fall In The Dark’ is a strong Power Metal track with impressive lead guitar work and hell… Even ‘A Far-Off Distance’ is surprisingly tolerable for a ballad from a Japanese band. And drummer Junichi must have an enviable endurance.

Despite my long-lasting love for Power Metal, there aren’t many bands that set my heart on fire as strongly as Galneryus does. Part of that is the fact that Syu always makes sure their sound is as ballsy as possible, but their strong and varied songwriting is also indispensible. Whatever it is you like about Power Metal, Galneryus has it, right down to the sometimes awkward accent. And even though ‘Angel Of Salvation’ would serve as a better starting point, there’s no denying that ‘Resurrection’ is a fantastic record with one of the better tracks the genre has ever brought forth.

Recommended tracks: ‘Carry On’, ‘Burn My Heart’, ‘Destinations’

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