HIGHLAND GLORY – Twist Of Faith
- by Matt Coe
- Posted on 27-05-2011
The biggest change for this Norwegian five piece power / heavy metal band lies solely in the vocal slot. After two albums singer Jan Thore Grefstad stepped down in the autumn of 2007 and a year later female vocalist Trine Elise Johansen slides in – making an obvious sound transition for Highland Glory. “Twist Of Faith” comes out six years after “Forever Endeavour” and will be viewed with microscopic intent to see if the quintet can still deliver catchy, heart warming heavy metal or if this could possibly put the band’s collective talent out to pasture.
In comparison to their older material, the 10 songs appear to be focused on a more mid-tempo, hook-laden arrangement scale – the melodies of Trine shining through on songs like “Temptation Highland” and the slow, military-like rhythm marching “Earthbound Spirit”. Guitarist Jack Roger Olsen and guitarist/ keyboardist Lars Andre Larsen handle the bulk of the songwriting chores, keeping the riff as the centerpiece of each song. You even get a little nod of the cap to “Talk Dirty To Me” from Poison in one of the trailing guitar lines for the “Holocauster Ride” opening section – but overall Highland Glory certainly take the centralized Priest meets Accept approach for a lot of the playing, soloing and song structures. Trine’s voice overall straddles the line of conventional gothic sirens and the older female metal contingent, as I hear some of Nicole Lee and Christina Scabbia especially on tracks like “Limitation Of Life (Dark Side Of The Mind)” or the Iron Maiden-esque 8:54 epic “Blood Of The Innocent”.
They lose half a point with me on their “Alone” rendition that closes the album – yes, the Heart cover that went number 1 in many countries in the late 80’s. Trine’s vocals aren’t up to the challenge of Ann Wilson I’m afraid, making this more of a bad American Idol karaoke take. Otherwise, if you dig great meat and potatoes style power metal without the unnecessary overblown theatrics, Highland Glory could be comfort to your ears.