Feanor – Power of the Chosen One Review

Before writing this review, I asked some of the resident AMG Tolkien nerds what the hell Feanor means. While Cherd, Felagund, and Carcharodon told me tales of some elf that dabbled in the creation and distribution of crystalline products, I’m beginning to think that Feanor actually means “déjà vu” in the Black Speech. Much like the Wizard album I reviewed a couple of months ago, this promo was assigned to me by Lord Protector Steel Druhm himself. Not only that, but the Argentina-based Feanor shares vocalist Sven D’Anna with their Germanic brethren in Wizard. Wizard’s latest was a fun and empowering romp through beer-soaked heavy metal lands, and given that my mental health has been under some strain lately due to work circumstances, I thought that some cheesy déjà vu might be just what the non-Grier doctor ordered. Let’s see if Feanor can put the metal in my head again.

It’s extremely tempting to just refer you to my Wizard review, because the similarities between the two bands are many. Between D’Anna’s vocal delivery and the band’s Manowar worship, it can be easy to forget that you’re actually listening to a different band. Like Wizard before them, Feanor also specializes in ballads and anthems that would make Dream Evil blush, but the record incorporates enough shred — thanks, in part, to former Manowar guitarist David Shankle — to give the band a bit of a Firewind vibe too. There were two singles to choose from, and I really wanted to use both videos in the review because they are both gloriously cheesy. But that practice is strictly forbidden around these parts, so I’ve simply linked the video for “Rise of the Dragon,” a song with a driving rhythm and some gratuitous guitar histrionics. If you click that link, prepare to get your face fisted more times than you can count. I’ve instead embedded the title track. It has everything that makes true metal great. Sing-along chorus? Check. Righteous solos? Check. A multitude of key changes? Check. Charming ESL lyrics? Check. Checks all around!

There are a lot of good, solid metal anthems to be found on Power of the Chosen One, but not every arrow hits the mark. “This You Can Trust” rounds out the introductory threesome with the above-mentioned singles, and it does it well, with a catchy-as-hell chorus and aggressively speedy riffing. “Hell is Waiting” is another killer speedster with some classic Manowar-style gang chants in the chorus, “Together Forever” is a subdued rocker with impassioned lyrics of unity and the album’s only raised beer reference, and “Bringer of Pain” sounds like a sinister Iced Earth chugger, and together, these three tracks make Power of the Chosen One’s middle section feel strong and varied. Feanor go all-in by closing with the nearly 20-minute epic “The Return of the Metal King (The Odyssey in Nine Parts),” an ambitious undertaking for a band that doesn’t have a Symphony or an X in their name. The song is obviously fashioned after and meant to complete the tale begun by “Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts” from Manowar’s 1992 album The Triumph of Steel. Like Odysseus himself, the track hits some bumps along the way, but eventually succeeds in bringing its tale to a close.

While most of what Feanor has done on Power of the Chosen One succeeds, there is definitely some bloat weighing the album down. Closing with a 20-minute epic is a bit rough on a standard heavy/power metal record that clocks in at over an hour. “The Return of the Metal King” could certainly have been trimmed, and some of the other, less compelling tracks that precede it could have been adjusted to make room. “Lost in Battle” and “Fighting for Our Dream” are both decent ballads, but when they arrive back-to-back before the album’s big close, the momentum stalls, making me wonder if one of them shouldn’t have been moved or cut altogether.

If you have an aversion to cheesy metal with ESL lyrics, steer well clear of Power of the Chosen One. But if you’re like me, and need a little pick-me-up, I invite you to watch both of the linked videos and let the powerful faces of Feanor renew your metal faith! While the overall results are mixed, this album hit me at just the right time and lifted my spirits. Hail Feanor! I’ll gladly listen to whatever you unleash next!

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: feanor.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/feanorband | www.feanorband.com
Releases Worldwide: April 23rd, 2021

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