There’re a lot of things that can make a power metal band stand out whether it is great production, a stellar vocalist or even just some incredible arrangements. Unfortunately, the Greece-based band X-PIRAL has none of these things.
Formerly known as SHADOW PLAY, X-PIRAL’s debut release “Poison Eyes” leaves much to be desired. Although there are definitely moments where some great musicianship by dueling guitarists Nick Papanikolaou and Thanos Tzanetopoulos is very apparent as well as some very nice piano and keyboard fills by Dimitris Marinis, the whole CD is overshadowed by the substandard vocals of Miachael Apostolakis. Why they thought this guy would complement the band remains a mystery. His vocals are absolutely “horrid” and it’s truly exonerated on a few of the slower tracks like “Winter Skies” or “Fifteen Years of Lies.” Even during what would otherwise be a very nice track… a duet with a female vocalist (WHOM, I might add, is not even credited on the CD OR on their website and isn’t “too” bad.) called “Far Horizons,” Apostolakis’ vocals just absolutely mangle the song to the point that it is very hard to even stomach.
It’s such a shame when I hear bands like this who HAVE potential to be held back by something like this. With all the singers out there, you’d think they’d be a bit more choosy. There actually are some VERY impressive songs… “musically”… but you just can’t get past those damned vocals. The second track, “Crawling In Your Minds,” is very well done… as far as power metal goes. It starts off with a nice musical intro which kicks into that typical “power metal” beat. “Metal Storm” is another track worth mentioning as, again, it starts off very melodic with some nice guitar work and keyboard fills. But then it all falls apart as soon as Apostolakis opens his mouth.
“Poison Eyes” would be much more impressive as simply an instrumental release. The overall production of the CD is weak to say the least and there really isn’t that stand-out track which could make X-PIRAL unique amidst a sea of power metal bands. Sadly, the ONLY thing that jumps out at you is the vocals which will be haunting you (not in a good way) for days.
- Miachael Apostolakis - vocals
- Nick Papanikolaou - guitar
- Thanos Tzanetopoulos - guitar
- Dimitris Marinis - Synthesizers & piano
- Fragiskos Samoilis - percussion
- Steel Tears
- Crawling In Your Minds
- Metal Storm
- Poison Eyes
- Winter Skies
- Plains of Perfection
- Fifteen Years of Lies
- Far Horizons