Palantir, "Chasing a Dream"
Genre: Progressive/Melodic Power Metal
8 Tracks / Run Time: 46:17
Swedish progressive power metallers PALANTIR released their second full length album, Chasing a Dream, through the true-metal specialists at Stormspell Records in Spring 2022. It's been awhile since my last spin of the band's debut, 2017's Lost Between Dimensions, but a quick skim of my review of it for this fine site reveals that I described them as "ultra-polished, epic Euro power metal," and after a few listens to Chasing a Dream, that description still holds water.
In the five year gap between albums, it looks like Palantir has also filled out from a three-man project to a full band. Guitarist Fredrik E. Enochson (who also handled bass and keyboard duties on Lost Between Dimensions), drummer Emanuel "E-Man" Lindberg, and vocalist Marcus S. Olkerud are all back for another round, and the Palantir lineup is now bolstered by second guitarist Calle Persson, keyboardist Johannes Frykholm, and most surprisingly, the man of a thousand bands, Cederick "Ced" Forsberg (also of Blazon Stone, Rocka Rollas, Cloven Altar, Crystal Viper, Mortyr, and on and on) on bass. Together this sextet has crafted an impressive set of slick, classy, melodic metal tracks that should appeal to fans of such bands as Kamelot, Dream Theater, Blind Guardian, and Crimson Glory.
"Chasing a Dream"
Palantir's music has a distinct science fiction-fantasy vibe, as evidenced by song titles like "Queen of the Moon," "Astral Prison," and "Among the Stars," or the eye catching cover art on Chasing a Dream, in which a robot mournfully watches as a lush planet's resources drain into an industrial wasteland. I don't think Chasing a Dream is intended to be a concept album (though honestly I haven't read the lyrics closely enough to be sure) but overall the entire presentation has an epic, cinematic feel, as if the band are composing the soundtrack to a non-existent movie.
Musically, Palantir land somewhere between the polished, theatrical, classically influenced melodica of their fellow Swedes in Stratovarius or Italy's Rhapsody, with the metallic crunch of Michael Kiske-era Helloween. The six-minute title track gets Chasing a Dream to a nice speedy start, complete with an oh-so-metal high pitched scream from Olkerud before the lyrics kick in. "Queen of the Moon" is a fast moving slice of melodic speed with some nice classical keyboard flourishes, and the thumping epic "Astral Prison" has a Queensrÿche-ish, Operation Mindcrime feel to it. At just a hair under seven minutes, it's the longest track on Chasing a Dream, but it doesn't wear out its welcome.
Markus Olkerud's soaring vocals on "Among the Stars" remind me of a more metal version of Dennis DeYoung (Styx) for some odd reason, and the band shreds along nicely behind him as they charge into the triumphant gallop of "The Beast Within."
Some fine '80s style synth noodling leads into the shredding "Transcension," and "Where I Belong" and the chunky, heavy duty album closer "Read the Signs" bring Chasing a Dream to a satisfyingly proggy end, with heaps of classical guitar shred and a nice, mid-paced rhythm.
"Among The Stars"
Obviously, Palantir is not out to re-invent the melodic metal wheel, but they are a group of highly skilled players who've stepped up to the plate and improved upon the foundation they laid on Lost Between Dimensions. This is a fine set of polished epics with just the right amount of heavy crunch and it should satisfy a wide variety of headbangers and prog rockers alike. Chasing a Dream should increase the band's standing within the often crowded prog-metal community, and hopefully now that they've got a fleshed out, legitimate full lineup the band can get out on tour and perform some of this stuff live!
Collectors take note, the Stormspell Records CD pressing of Chasing a Dream is an ultra-limited edition of only 500 copies, so if you want to put this album on your shelf, you'd better act fast by visiting the label site here. Buy now or cry later!
© 2022 Keith Abt