G O T H I C... K N I G H T S

Kingdom of Knights Gothic Knights - Kingdom of the Knights (Sentinel Steel) 1999

1. "At Dawn You Die" (6:48)
2. "War in the Sky" (4:21)
3. "Ring of Souls" (5:24)
4. "Song of Roland" (7:17)
5. "Demons Buried Within" (3:58)
6. "The Evil Wizard" (5:32)
7. "Keeper of the Gate" (7:40)
8. "The Ripper" (2:52)

Disc number two for the Knights of galloping heavy metal. I'm not exactly sure what to make of this band. On the one hand I love the galloping heavy metal and the 'hail brothers of metal' attitude, yet on the other hand there is something almost commical and non-serious about the Gothic Knights. The music is tight and proficient and the vocalist is quite good. They pull off a commendable rendition of Judas Priest's 'The Ripper' as well. Still, I can't say that I was totally won over on the first few listens like fellow Knights of Metal Hammerfall or Nocturnal Rites did when I first heard them. Perhaps with more listens this one will grow on me. Picked up this disc from Molten Metal.

Up from the Ashes Gothic Knights - Up from the Ashes (LMP) 2003

1. "Power and the Glory" (5:35)
2. "Warrior of Faith" (4:17)
3. "Down in Flames" (4:15)
4. "Up from the Ashes" (5:54)
5. "Vampyre" (6:38)
6. "The Witching Hour" (5:11)
7. "Sleepy Hollow" (7:02)
8. "Guardian Archangel" (4:43)
9. "Heaven's Fire" (4:44)
10. "Dear Queen" (6:48)
11. "The 13th Warrior" (6:13)
12. "The Machine" (4:06)
13. "Hungry Like The Wolf" (3:28)

Gothic Knights have been toiling in the metal underground for over ten years by the time "Up form the Ashes" was released. Having release two full length albums with a small independent label, Sentinel Steel, the band finally scored a contract with a label that has international distribution. As with any band that has been around this long in the underground (ie. making no money), Gothic Knights have gone through their share of band members. The most noticeable is vocalist Bryan Avatar, who sang on the band's sophomore effort has been replaced by original vocalist Rick Sanchez, who sang on the band's debut. The album opens up with a high-energy song that sounds a bit like Raven, even vocally. This is yet another song chronicling the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC and the never give up American attitude. "Warrior of the Faith" is more typical of this band. "Warrior of Faith" is a galloping, quick-paced, heavy metal romp. The next few songs continue in the classic metal tradition. With "Vampyre" the band gets a bit darker. This song has a slight Mercyful Fate sound to some of the guitar work. Likewise, "The Witching Hour" is a darker song, yet still squarely traditional heavy metal. I really like the fact that Gothic Knights gave this album some variety, yet without deviating from their traditional metal sound. Each song stands out on it's own, yet the albums flows well as a whole. The only real weak track is the attempt at a power ballad in "Dear Queen". Fans of traditional metal such as Anvil, Omen, and Riot would do well to check this CD out.

My copy is the limited edition digi-pack which comes with a poster, album cover sticker and a full-color booklet complete with lyrics and band photos. The digi also includes two bonus tracks, "The Machine" and "Hungry Like the Wolf". The former is a heavy, Gothic Knights original, while the later is a metalized version of the 1980's pop rock classic. (Thanks James)

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