I’ve always felt that power metal/symphonic metal guitarists don’t get enough credit. Luca Turilli, Timo Tolkki, and Deshon Petrossi are three of the best guitarists out right now. They incorporate neo-classical elements into their songs that never fail to impress. Now a band comes along and blows my mind even more. Sage’s Recital is comprised of Jakob Vand and Niels Vejlyt from Infinity Overture, John West from Artlantica, and Franck Hermanny from Adagio. If that isn’t enough to check this band out, I don’t know what is. What they have created here is nothing short of a masterpiece. Niels Vejlyt’s guitar work is absolutely spectacular and without a doubt the best I’ve heard in years. Even though it’s only seven tracks, “Sage’s Recital” is a completely epic album that deserves to be listened to again and again.
The album opens with “The Power Within” and it's one hell of a song. The guitar work is mind-blowing from start to finish and the vocals are top notch. This song also introduces the listener to the neo-classical/progressive sound that sticks for the entirety of the album. “You Hold the Key” is another showpiece of this band’s skill. Everything from the bass to the drums is played with such precision and care. It also has one of the best choruses on the album. “The Last Unicorn” is an instrumental track that is perfectly layered and written. Power metal instrumentals really don’t get better than this. The opening to “Council of Dragons” sounds like Trans-Siberian Orchestra on steroids. The solo is a crescendo of blazing guitar and tempo change prowess. “Immortal Flame” slows things down a little bit, but it doesn’t ruin what they started with the first track. The solo is one of the best on the album and the whole song just feels complete. “The Dead of Winter” is another instrumental track that picks the speed back up and it never stops. Niels Vejlyt’s guitar work in this song is some of the very best I’ve ever heard. It will leave you absolutely speechless. My words can’t express how incredible this song really is. The album closes with “The Last Battle” which couldn’t be more perfect. It’s the longest track, and it’s full of tempo changes and great songwriting. It’s by far the best track on the album and one of the best power metal songs in a long time. It easily fits right up there with Symphony X’s “The Odyssey.” All of the best elements from the rest of the album are all thrown together into an unforgettable song. John West hasn’t sounded better. “Sage’s Recital” ends on the highest note possible.
So there you have it, another band that came out of nowhere and is just incredible. This album has no low points and it never gets boring. There is enough of everything to keep the listener glued until it’s finished. Niels Vejlyt might be the next guitar savior. He sounds better on this album than he did in Infinity Overture. If anyone is looking for neo-classic power metal, this is the be-all, end-all album. Again, I cannot express through words just how good this really is. Just from ten seconds into the first track they made me a fan and I guarantee they will make you one, too. Listen to “Sage’s Recital” NOW.
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