1. Dark Ages (Prelude) 2. Return Of The Dragon (Chapter III) 3. Diary In Black (Chapter I) 4. Brothers In Arms (Chapter IV) 5. Barons Overthrow (Chapter II) 6. The Machine 7. What If (Chapter VII) 8. Evil In Man (Chapter VIII) 9. Dragonheart (Chapter VI) 10. Metal Way (Chapter V) 11. Saint And Sinner (Bonus Track) 12. Resistance (Bonus Track) 13. Six Feet From The Edge (Chapter IX)
This is the band's second album, a follow-up to the stellar debut record from 2001. With the debut Rawhead Rexx showed a great deal of promise, demonstrating an act that could compete with Steel Attack as the leader of Germany's next power metal invasion. The group showed an amazing ability to play fast and mid-tempo structures, with a soaring vocalist one would expect from the traditional sound.
With Diary In Black, the band seems to have lost some of the spark from the debut record. I'm not so sure I should say "lost" the spark, but they don't really carry it over to this record. Don't get me wrong, this record is far from terrible, but I really expected the band to take it up a notch. They are certainly capable of doing better I believe.
Lackluster songs like "Return Of The Dragon" (why must every power metal song have a dragon in the title or chorus?) and "The Machine" shows a side of Rawhead Rexx that I don't feel expresses their true talent. These songs, as well as others on the record are uncreative and don't have any real drive. I feel as though the band has become too "paint by numbers", much the way the Canadian band Eidolon. Both of these bands have tremendous talent, but they don't use that talent to make any real impression on the listener.
This release does have some highlights, which are mainly the leads that we have come to love from the first record, and of course the intense vocals from former Glenmore singer
Don't completely avoid this record if you are a Rawhead Rexx fan. There are some good tracks on here, but a majority of the album just fails to create a spark for me. Hopefully the third time will be the charm.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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