The debut full-length studio album by German Symphonic Power Metal band of legendary guitarist, ex-member of Rage, Lingua Mortis Orchestra, etc.
Formed by Victor Smolski after his departure from Rage, Almanac is a continuation of his work with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra.
Victor Smolski's style has been well established throughout his years with German Metallers Rage. Now he has felt it necessary to bring his stylings to the world of Symphonic Power Metal - under the moniker of Almanac. However, in actuality, "Tsar" ends up sounding more like the quirky, heavy riffs of Rage, with a few strings added to beef up the melodies of the riffs. Although this was recorded with a real orchestra - expect nothing like Rhapsody or Fairyland. What you can expect is some damn fine, riff-heavy, Progressively-tinged Power Metal done the way only a German can!
Fans of standard Power Metal fare will find plenty to enjoy beyond the crushing riffs of Smolski. There are points were the orchestra add a real stylistic flair - giving us an extra dimension to aurally examine. The melodic choruses are irresistible. There really is no stinker here, nothing reigns in the energy, and nothing treats the listener like a dullard. These are all smart, vibrant, enjoyable anthems for real music-lovers.
The production quality is top-notch. Every instrument, from the highest string right down to the rumbling bass guitar is allowed a moment to breathe. The bass becomes especially prominent in the sparse verses, where its tonic note brings an aura of true menace.
"Tsar" is indeed a splendid record. Even if Symphonic Power Metal is the section of the record store that you're most unfamiliar with, "Tsar" will inspire you to get acquainted with it! Yet even beyond genre criteria, Almanac is a band that finds strength in the most organic of ingredients and churns them into pure Metal!!
Nuclear Blast Records, 2016 (NB 3576-1). Made in Germany. First press. Gatefold 2x LP / 45 RPM.
1. Tsar 7:48
2. Self-Blinded Eyes 6:00
3. Darkness 1:17
4. Hands Are Tied 5:48
5. Children Of The Future 5:19
6. No More Shadows 8:19
7. Nevermore 4:42
8. Reign Of Madness 6:31
9. Flames Of Hate 6:35
Total playing time: 52:19 min.