I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Yuri Fulone, "Your Kingdom Will Fall" (2017)
Genre: Epic Power Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, 2017
I wonder what's in the water in Brazil that keeps producing so many quality heavy metal musicians. I first came across Yuri Fulone's name in the credits of United For Metal, a 2016 release by Brothers of Sword—a mini "supergroup" of sorts featuring members of various underground Brazilian metal bands like Grey Wolf, Cruzadas, and Hazy Hamlet, combining forces to bash out an album's worth of sword swingin', poser slayin' true metal in the best Manowar/Grave Digger/Dio tradition. I soon learned that Yuri was a solo artist in his own right with three self-released EP's under his belt.
Yuri's three prior releases were limited pressings of only a few hundred copies, so Stormspell Records compiled all the material from those EPs (plus one new bonus track) onto one full length disc in 2016, entitled In The Steel You Can Trust. Now Yuri has returned with an all new full length follow up on Stormspell, entitled Your Kingdom Will Fall, on which he plays guitar, bass, and keyboards, with guest vocals and drums by Nuno Monteiro and Anderson Alarca, respectively.
The cartoony, knights-laying-siege-to-a-castle cover art may look more like Monty Python and the Holy Grail than the Excalibur vibe that was likely intended (I can totally picture some French dudes launching a cow onto those knights in the foreground), but when this disc begins playing there's no funny business going on. Only believers in the Truest of Metal shall pass!
A brief medieval-styled intro, "Beyond the Gates of Time," sets the swords 'n' shields mood right away and segues into the album's first proper track "Thunderstorm," a fast paced anthem in the best NWOBHM tradition. The title track opens with some grandiose keyboard flourishes to accent the sizzling guitar riffs which then kick the song into overdrive. "I'm A Wolf" features more chunky guitar riffing and another fists-in-the-air, everybody-sing-along chorus.
The ballad "After A Rainy Day" slows things down for a brief bit, then Yuri returns to "epic" territory with the crunchy "Gates of Jerusalem." The oddly titled "Folkloric Song From the People of the Forgotten Lands" (?) sets up the chugging "War Horse," a meat 'n' potatoes metal cut that will get the heads banging and the devil horns flyin'. A medieval folk-infused, mostly acoustic ballad "She Walks Through the Flower Fields" is next and it's performed by an unidentified female singer with an absolutely lovely voice. This track reminds me somewhat of Blackmore's Night, and it leads into the closing track "The Chosen," which is a suitably cinematic, all-men-play-on-ten power metal shredder with a few full-on thrashy bits coming in towards the end.
Yuri's instrumental skills are impressive throughout Your Kingdom Will Fall -- I'm always amazed by guys who can not only play more than one musical instrument, but play them well, because I can barely tune in a radio. Vocalist Monteiro is obviously trying to emulate heroes like Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson and Eric Adams (Manowar), with a rough-and-ready delivery that suits this material. Many of the bands playing this style of metal tend to go for an overly polished, squeaky-clean sound with grating, constant high-pitched falsetto vocals, but this suit of armor has just the right amount of dents, grit and rust around the edges, which is a welcome change.
Summing it Up
I'll admit that I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Your Kingdom Will Fall when I first pressed "play." I was honestly afraid of being washed away on a tidal wave of medieval cheesiness, but I gotta give credit where it's due, Yuri Fulone keeps this album tight and focused and resists the urge to go over the top into the bloated, overblown self-indulgence that ruins so many so-called "epic" power metal bands/albums.
Fans of the aforementioned Manowar or Dio, or any of their spiritual god-children like Blind Guardian, HammerFall, Wizard, Stormwarrior, Paragon, etc. can pick up Your Kingdom Will Fall with confidence -- it is indeed steel you can trust. Naturally, no posers need apply. Hail and kill!
Yuri Fulone Discography:
When the Sky Meets the Earth (EP) - self released, 2014
The Blacksmith (EP) - self released, 2014
In the Steel You Can Trust (EP) - self released, 2016
In the Steel You Can Trust - Stormspell Records, 2016 - compilation of all three previous EP's, plus one new track
Your Kingdom Will Fall - Stormspell Records, 2017
© 2017 Keith Abt