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Evolution Hour

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Album Review

Although power metal actually started in the '70s with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, the style experienced a huge expansion in the early to mid-'80s with the arrival of Queensrÿche, Helloween, Grim Reaper, King Diamond, and countless others — and it's no wonder that so many of the younger power metal revival bands that debuted in the '90s and 2000s look back on the '80s with such reverence. There is no shortage of adoration for the '80s on Evolution Hour, a 2006 recording that, stylistically, is firmly planted in power metal's classic era. You won't find a trace of death metal, black metal, alternative metal, metalcore, screamo, grunge, rap-metal, or math metal on Evolution Hour, which is the debut album by Paganize. This Norwegian band, like countless others who have come out of Europe's power metal revival scene, is unwavering in its devotion to the past — and the prominent influences on Evolution Hour are bands that emerged in the '70s or '80s, including Priest, Maiden, Queensrÿche, Dio, and Helloween. Lead singer Geir Helge Fredheim, in fact, draws on both Rob Halford's high-pitched wailing and Bruce Dickinson's gruffness. There are slight hints of prog metal at times, although Paganize don't venture nearly as far into the prog metal waters as, say, Rhapsody or Dream Theater. No one will accuse Evolution Hour of being even remotely groundbreaking; Paganize's hard-hitting yet melodic material could have easily been written 25 years earlier back in the Ronald Reagan years. Regardless, the songs on this 59-minute disc are generally decent — not outstanding or fantastic, but decent, well executed, and certainly listenable. And while Evolution Hour is not an essential purchase, it was a likable footnote in the crowded power metal revival scene of 2006.

Evolution Hour, Paganize
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