Written By: Lokasenna

I suppose this hokey shit is penance for my last review, which was of a great album. Here we have a third album following a sophomore release which was actually a Christmas album (no, really). West to East Pt.1: Frontier Vigilante is a Western-themed slice of Euro-power cheese, with members from Sweden, the US, and the Philippines. An international posse such as this usually brings a menagerie of influences to the table, planting seeds for great work, but whether that potential pays off is always uncertain. Now, I like power metal just fine, and in fact generally prefer Euro-power over the American strain, but it’s so very easy for a big ol’ platter of cheese to go moldy on the way to the listener’s table.

Opening track “A Hero Returns” lulls the listener into a false sense of security, starting with a decently hammy baritone intonation of the title and some drum hits, and the riffing starts just before vocalist/keyboardist Jacob Kaasgaard breaks out his earsplittingly sharp high-end, dashing all hopes of an enjoyable vocal performance. While the album has high points in the instrumental work, unevenly amateur attempts at tenor vocals are impossible to ignore, and they taint the whole album, most strongly reminding of Mark Vanderbilt (ex-Kamelot) sans the comical ineptness. Stylistically, the album is fairly typical keys-and-vocals-centric Euro-power a la Rhapsody of Fire or Stratovarius hybridized with, of all things, Old West piano standards. While potentially ripe for nurturing lactose-y goodness, the combination sours more often than not. “Gold of Klondike” is a standout example, with a melody that immediately brings Looney Tunes to mind. This is most painful on “Cheyenne,” which features a shockingly tasteless indigenous-stereotype melody. The additional vocal performance is better, as they seem to have gotten the snippet of Cheyenne language right, which is more than can be said for the aforementioned melody.

Admittedly, the band does hit the western sound they’re looking for, which deserves credit, as this would be so much worse than if they didn’t. The album also has a rather good sense of flow, which helps counterbalance the mammoth 70 minute runtime, but not sufficiently to forgive it. This thing is entirely too long, and the fraction of it occupied by Kaasgaard’s uneven vocal work is inexcusable. Also inexcusable is much of the lyrical content, what of it I was able to analyze through the pain. While most of it is forgettable, the drunken geographical meanderings of “Klondike,” “San Fernando,” and “Eldorado” foreshadow issues like “One, Two, Ready, Kill” quoting Dirty Harry Callahan for the main line of the chorus (Wrong Eastwood character, guys). Some of the problems with blandness might be forgivable, as attempting to avoid Sonata Arctica-style ESL problems is at least a decent idea, but having an American in the band provides an alternate route that seems unused. However, even inept map-reading could have told Kaasgaard that he was referencing locations thousands of miles apart on sequential songs of a supposedly story-based album, so no points there.

Some of the instrumental work is generally pretty solid. Andy Gentile’s drumming is workmanlike at worst through the whole album, and David Sivelind, while shackled to uninteresting backing riffs by the keys-and-vocals approach most of the time, does bust out some decent solos, even when they run too long, as on “Outlaw in the Wild West.” Further, Kaasgaard shows himself to be a solid keyboardist, and his vocal low-end is, while not great, leaps and bounds better than when he tries (and fails) to be both a tenor and remain in key. Perhaps he should step aside as lead vocalist to allow room for (guest?) vocalist Louiebeth Aratan; while no Floor Jansen, she has potential, particularly if she seeks some additional training and works to sound less like a Swedepop singer. As far as mix and production, this needs work – the problematic vocals are high in the mix, making them impossible to ignore, and they often overpowers the instrumentation even when it’s not awful. This is further exacerbated by the squashed production, which has instances of sharp clipping.

In spite of the decent instrumental work, this is not worth your time unless you have a deep masochist streak, as nothing on this album rises out of the mycotoxin-drenched pit of mediocrity. The band have two more albums in this series planned, and they desperately need to up their game for this future output. Kaasgaard, most critically, needs his microphone taken far, far away.

Correction: Most of the instrumentation was done by Jacob Kaasgaard. Andy Gentile and David Siveland were not featured on the record.


Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Independent
Website: aherofortheworld.comaherofortheworld.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/aherofortheworld
Releases Worldwide: June 9th, 2017

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  • Grymm

    Ten seconds in, and I’m laughing hysterically… WOW.

    • But, but, it’s the deluxe original edition!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Ten seconds in!!!

    • Lokasenna

      Believe it or not, it actually does get worse after that first track. That Dirty Harry quote made me want to punch things, because they used it what felt like a bajillion times.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        Is this the same Lokasenna from the Reaper forum?

        • Lokasenna

          It is not.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    This kinda crap gets reviewed, but bands like Anathema and Soen get completely ignored…

    • Soen got missed due to the reviewer’s time constraints. Anathema got ignored because they are no longer metal in the least. We need to break in the new writers with something, right?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        So, how about a “Things You Might Have Missed” for Soen? Also, how about switching from “Things You Might Have Missed” to “Things WE Might Have Missed”?

        • I’m sure Soen will get a nod at the end of the year as several writers enjoyed it.

          • Daniel Ritson

            Speaking of, some of the reviewers here might enjoy the new Impetuous Ritual, if it hasn’t been caught already. As deathy as death metal can get and not be ambient or just noise. It also rules, for reasons beyond its extremity.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            It is quite the brute, there’s a chance you’ll see it as a TYMHM from me. You never know.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I didn’t know there was new Impetuous Ritual material coming out, thanks for the heads up!

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Well, it is still your site, so not exactly up to me what you choose to review. I get skipping the new Anathema because it seems not really metal, but I can’t help but feel it’s a bit of a double standard given that this site has reviewed numerous not so metal CDs, such has Darkher, and Anathema is a band that’s still considered metal given their numerous previous metal releases. Oh well, I’ll probably survive.

        • It’s a case by case thing. Darkher had a doomy, dark vibe. Anathema’s new one is like dull Cold Play.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Isn’t all Coldplay dull?

        • Tofu muncher

          I have this ‘problem’ with the likes of Ihsahn and Ulver. They’re not metal anymore but I keep following/listen to their work. A bit romanticizing I know.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Don’t forget the new Nickelback 😉

      • We missed Nickelback???

        • Alexandros

          Guess it’s time for another Things you might have missed 2017…

        • Tofu muncher

          I listened to the album. It’s got some nice riffs. Now, for some more Mari Hamada.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Yeah, sounds just like Soen, right?

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      We discussed that Anathema record in some other review a few days ago. I think the consensus was “not remotely metal anymore”.

  • Coming from a power metal fan, that was really moldy cheese. However, at least the three seconds from 1:56 – 1:59 gave me memories of NES age Megaman.

    • jetblindracos

      Woody Woodpecker to me.

  • Zach Ward

    2 straight 1.0/5.0s. Jeez y’alls are getting fucked hard.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Saw the album cover and I thought I was on an equestrian outfitting site by accident.
    Think I’ll ignore this and return to my new Tombs.

    • Grymm

      LMFAO

      That description is so spot on!

  • Heldarc

    The absolutely best part comes from 03:05 onwards, that is just…somebody make meme out of it or something.

    • metalcasket

      Right?! That HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA He-Man meme popped right into my head. XD

      • Eldritch Elitist

        You can’t say they didn’t try… Oh my GOD did they try!

    • Marko Amore Perätalo

      That IS the friggin’ BEST part!! <3 <3 I jizzed my pants when I heard it!! :D It's too bad that Jacob didn't seem keep up that energy throughout the other tracks – at least according to the trailer I listened. He did very well on the 1st album though! Which is a hidden power metal gem.

    • I wish I had never read this comment. Now I can’t stop replaying this song.

  • rumour_control

    Deluxe ORIGINAL Version. As opposed to the second rate Director’s Cut.

  • Bryan Barkman

    A VERY generous 1/5, though ’embarrassing’ is a good descriptor.

  • AngryMetalBird

    the name of the guy is Kaasgaard? really??? Cheesefarm????

    • Grymm

      Oh. My. God.

      Does it really translate to that?

      • AngryMetalBird
        • This cannot be so.

          • Chris Benadie

            In Afrikaans here in south Africa kaas means cheese

        • Grymm

          Duuuuuuuuuude.

          This is starting to make sense now.

          • Did we get trolled??

          • AngryMetalBird

            he might have chosen this name, you know… like Angelripper or Hellhammer…

          • Something’s rotten in the State of Arizona.

          • Grymm

            I’m beginning to think so, actually.

            Daaaaaaaaamn!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Is there any other way to explain anyone releasing this aside from this being a big practical joke?

          • AngryMetalBird

            I hope not…

        • sir_c

          In Dutch it also means something like Cheese Garden :-)

        • Jón Aldará

          If only this was the truth. However “Ost” is Danish for cheese, while “kaas” or “kås” is just a generic name for places and families, at one time being a word used for “primitive pier/quay”. Gaard/gård does mean farm or homestead, though.

          I guess I could’ve just let you have this, huh? But no.

          • Marc Rikmenspoel

            Is this the real Jon Aldara, from Barren Earth (I see the avatar) and Hamferd? If so, cool! About the review, the Mark Vanderbilt reference is hilarious! I actually like his work on Kamelot’s Eternity and Dominion, but it took adding Khan to make them truly successful. I’m not sure there’s any way to make A Hero For the World successful.

    • Karl

      It’s his real name.

  • Benadryl Brownie

    I know this isnt the place, but I was wondering when will the new Anathema album will be covered here.

    • It likely won’t be. It’s not really metal in any sense of the word.

  • Dr. Wvrm

    I desperately need a Thatguy Band Photo Assessment.

    • He won’t even bother plugging the apparatus in for this one.

      • sir_c

        I think he can even see the image with his eyes closed and being disconnected from the internet.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      He might be afraid the photometer is going to punch him if he tries to feed it this picture.

      • Thatguy

        This is true.

        I have been away and I was giving the machine a rest. It’s not getting powered up for this.

  • Planex

    Rough day for weird heavy/power metal.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The only way this release would make sense is as a practical joke.

  • CarvedInStone

    To be completely honest I probably could enjoy this if they had a decent vocalist.

    • Lokasenna

      Likewise. Kaasgaard is by far the biggest problem with the release, but he’s a truly mammoth problem, so it basically ruins the whole effort.

    • Marko Amore Perätalo

      Their 1st album was a killer! Although Jacob went off note sometimes, his super enthusiastic vocals were the BEST part of the album! Also the clip featured in this review is a KILLER performance from him – god dang those last minutes! <3 But according to the album trailer he seems very UN-enthusiastic on the rest of the songs, which makes me very worried… Anyhow, they would have benefited greatly from an outside produced who could have evened out Jacob's performances to bring out the best of him at all times.

      • Malcolm in the Middle X

        I agree. A producer could have brought in a hyena and circumcised it in the studio, to set the bar even higher. Kind of like when Terrorizer tricked Pete Sandoval into playing faster, when they played a recording and told him it wasn’t a drum machine blasting away.

        • Marko Amore Perätalo

          Any trick is OK in my book when the results bring on the jizz!

          • Grymm

            STOP JIZZING! STOP IT!

            STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!

          • Marko Amore Perätalo

            Listening to good power metal is like having an endless jizzgasm between the finest of lady buns! <3

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Is it just me or do the guitars sometimes sound weird? As in digital, synthetic, fake?

  • Christ almighty. Must you even review albums like this? I can’t un-hear it.

    • Yes we must.

      • IBlackened

        But I feel bad for the guy. He could have just put the promo photo with the score. No one would question that.

    • Thatguy

      Even without the Photometer I knew not to listen.

  • Eli Valcik

    I think that band photo just gave me cancer.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      It reminded me of Nelson, some Hair Metal dudes who were identical twins and look like a living, walking shampoo/hair conditioner advertisement.

  • Brent Johnson

    What is going on here? This and Perpetual Rage are turning me into abro-country fan.

  • Wilhelm

    That was the absolute shittiest power metal I’ve ever heard, the vocalist needs some lessons ASAP. I need Under The Sign of the Black Mark or maybe some Panzer Division Marduk to cleanse the horrid cheese from my ears.

    • I personally love cheese but this is the kind that doctors warn pregnant women not to ingest.

  • Sophocles

    It gave me an ear infection, now I can go and headbang with demi lovato…………..

  • Tofu muncher

    The vocals are bad, no?

  • Tofu muncher

    “…this is not worth your time unless you have a deep masochist streak,…” Has anyone really experienced sexual satisfaction having their hearing tortured from listening to this?

  • madhare

    I think 1.0 was very, very generous for this. This thing has to be some kind of elaborate joke, right?

    • Heldarc

      How could it be, Metal rules gave it 3/5 with one of the most ear deaf comment ever: ,,Kassgaard is in possession of the quintessential power metal voice, recalling Michael Kiske, and Tobias Sammet with his range and timbre.”
      Cheesefarm, we know you wrote that!

      • [not a Dr]

        And he refuses to use it on this record. He sounds like he could do it, but he’s falling asleep as he sings.

  • AnnieK13

    Seriously bad!

  • Drew Music

    I still haven’t read the review, all I can focus on is the so-bad-it’s-beautiful promo picture and the general air of revolt in the comments section.
    Think I’m gonna keep it that way.

  • Thatguy

    I can’t unseen the album art and the band photo. But I am not going to listen. I know all I need know by SD giving this a 1.0

    It must sound as rancid as it looks.

    • Ah, but I didn’t review it. Our probationary scribe did. Now you must hear it!

      • Thatguy

        Clever…but not clever enough. I’m not going to listen and you can’t make me.

    • Don’t listen to it. You can’t unring that bell. *shudder*

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Independent eh?
    You don’t say…..

  • [not a Dr]

    These clowns are practically begging to get tarred and feathered.
    Does anyone have suggestions of spaghetti western themed metal that’s not awful?

  • Grymm

    Somehow, the *ahem* “acoustic” version of this song is worse. And by “acoustic”, it really means samba.

    Lots of bad samba.

  • Excentric_13073

    This is a joke. There’s no way it’s supposed to be serious. I mean they’re just trying to make the AMG offices laugh…. right?!