EXCALION – Primal Exhale

EXCALION - Primal Exhale


Sound Riot Records/Century Media
Release date: June 15, 2005

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Mr. Jarmo Myllyvitra is a keyboard player from Finland who had been writing Melodic Power songs for some time and decided that it was about time to get them on an album. In order to give life to his music, he started looking for a group. In December 2000, the band was born under the name Excalion, comprising four members. The difficult task was to find a proper voice for the demanding music arrangements. Jarmo Pääkkönen was the chosen one, who came in the band together with an additional guitar player named Kimmo Hanninen. The second demo they released, entitled Obsession to Prosper gave them the opportunity to sign a contract with Sound Riot Records in autumn of 2003. They immediately started working on the debut album that is scheduled for release in June 2005.

The album consists of 9 tracks, plus a bonus track for the Japanese market, featuring some old songs that were reworked, and, of course, brand new material. Primal Exhale can be briefly described as a musical meeting between Stratovarius and Nightwish. Sometimes keyboards play the leading role, leaving the rhythm section to the guitars, in a familiar way from Timo Tolkki’s work with Stratovarius. The band’s Classical influences are expressed in a Nightwish way with rhythm and tempo changes, together with superior quality vocals. The latter is due to Jarmo’s genius vocal performance, especially when reaching higher musical notes with ease.

The album opener, entitled “Temptation Wasteland,” features a galloping guitar rhythm section and exceptional keyboard work. All of the strong elements of Excalion’s music can be found in the next song under the title “A Moment in the Spotlight.” The song comprises a catchy main riff and keyboards that every Power Metal band would like to have. Jarmo displays his singing abilities and his wide octave amplitude. “Reality Bends” is a classic sample of the European Power Metal scene with high pitch vocals, catchy, melodic riffs, and a mid-tempo part that turns into a powerful ending. “Dire Waters” is a song that could be found in Vovin, an album by the mighty Therion, since it contains some Eastern tunes in a mid-tempo arrangement. After another classic Power Metal song comes the one and only ballad, with the title “Heart & Home.” The best melody can be found in this song during the chorus, with another perfect vocal performance. “Megalomania” and “My Legacy” are in some ways predictable following the European motif regarding the Power Metal scene. The last track of the album has the longest duration and is a fine sample of the band’s potential in song writing.

The production of the album deserves some credit, since the sound is crystal clear and everything sounds in place by keeping the balance between melody and power, setting the foundation for Symphonic Power Metal.

Overall the album is very good, given that it is the band’s first attempt in the Metal scene. All the same, the band needs to find a more personal music style in order to avoid the inevitable comparison with bands like Stratovarius and Nightwish.


  • Dr. Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

    Dimitris was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has a diploma in Physics, a Masters in Medical Physics and a doctorate dimploma in Nuclear Medicine (this is the reason for his Dr. title). He was given his first Heavy Metal tape at the age of 12 which was a compilation entitled Scandinavian Metal Attack. The music immediately drew his attention and there he was listening to the first Iron Maiden album, trying to memorize the names of the band members. That was it! After some years, he stopped recording tapes and started buying vinyl records, spending every penny in the local record shop. The first live concert he attended was Rage co-headlining with Running Wild.

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