Album 0157: Dragonland – Under The Grey Banner

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Power Metal


1. Ilmarion (03:19)
2. Shadow Of The Mithril Mountains (05:44)
3. The Tempest (04:13)
4. A Thousand Towers White (04:08)
5. Fire And Brimstone (04:32)
6. At The Inn Of Éamon Bayle (03:56)
7. The Black Mare (06:13)
8. Lady Of Goldenwood (04:16)
9. Dûrnir’s Forge (04:59)
10. The Trials Of Mount Farnor (05:26)
11. Throne Of Bones (01:47)
12. Under The Grey Banner (08:04)
13. Ivory Shores (03:18)

Total Length: 59:55

Ilmarion is entirely a symphonic instrumental opening, the band does these pretty well. Shadow Of The Mithril Mountains though is the real opening for me, with a pretty cheesy opening narration, before going into some insanely good power metal. The arrangement is fantastic and alone was worth the wait for the five years since their last album. Just a brilliant track all around. The Tempest is a bit of a step down, but again the arrangement and production stands out, leaving lots of little goodies to pick and listen for throughout the song.

A Thousand Towers White gets completely back on track though. The chorus is a thing of beauty, and there are some pretty cool riffs and rhythms here. The guitar solo is pretty neat as well. Fire And Brimstone again has a lot of cool stuff going on in the background, and the song gets a bit operatic by introducing another vocal/character and it’s a pretty good one. It kind of helps save this song. At The Inn Of Éamon Bayle starts off a bit more folk metal than the band normally does, but this is a very fun song in all.

The Black Mare starts off much heavier than the previous tracks, and just continues to be awesome. The chorus is pretty fantastic. Lady Of Goldenwood is a bit softer with an acoustic touch, and it’s a nice breather. Once again the cheesy narration comes in but the rest of the song makes up for it. Dûrnir’s Forge is a pretty good middling-paced track, a solid song really, until the dwarven chorus comes in and the song hits unbelievable levels of awesome. It honestly completely made my jaw drop the first time I heard it. The Trials Of Mount Farnor is incredibly fast in the verses, it’s really neat to hear. I tend to forget this song exists on here but it’s always a joy to listen to.

Throne Of Bones is an amazing short piece. It features the other singer from Fire And Brimstone solo, and is straight out of a villain’s song in a Disney film. It’s incredibly well done. Under The Grey Banner is sort of the centerpiece of the album. It’s a larger song with plenty of different things going on. The first few minutes are fantastic, then there is a very heavy section with some harsh vocals which is unexpected and awesome. Then both the main singer and operatic dude sing in tandem and I’ve felt like I’ve died and gone to heaven, and the ending is great as well. Ivory Shores may remind me a bit of certain closing songs to certain films about a certain ring, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good song. I still slightly prefer their science-influenced stuff over the fantasy aspect, but this album is just incredible.

Final Rating: 9/10

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