Dragony – “Viribus Unitis” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed over a decade ago as “The Dragonslayer Project”, “Viribus Unitis” returns this Austrian symphonic power metal band to the roots of their 2011 debut in embracing rock opera once more! Titled after the personal motto of Emperor Franz Joseph I, history takes a different turn under Dragony’s guise in a new concept that sees the Emperor enhanced as a cyber-punk and his wife, the Empress ‘Sisi’, who was in real life assassinated, now resurrected into a demon possessed zombie!!! Thankfully, the music is far less outlandish, if no less flamboyant thanks to an impressive range of musical talent including ex Visions Of Atlantis members Siegfried ‘The Dragonslayer’ Samer (vocals) and Herbert Glos (bass) who, together with the rest of the band, impress the majesty of their fantasy across the 12 tracks here. From the impressive title track ‘Viribus Unitis’ meaning ‘with united forces’, bombastic orchestrals bring forth melodic splendour as Samer exudes his soul backed by Manuel Hartleb’s bountiful keys and choral harmonies, while in complete contrast, the deep Celtic metal of ‘Golden Dawn’ hits plenty of its own highs thanks to its possessive folk melodies culminating in a grand touch that’s hard not to be moved by. While not necessarily demonstrating technical prowess in the material, the band stick to the composing essentials of achieving highly catchy and memorable songs and that’s what makes it work for them on this 4th studio release. On ‘Battle Royale’ Hartleb’s keys are as much at the fore of the mix (done by Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann of Orden Ogan) as the twin guitars of Andreas Poppernitsch (Omega Effect) and Simon Saito, endlessly spewing catchy melodies and hooks making the song a pleasure to listen to as Samer’s flowing voice, accompanied by massive choral soprano splendour, makes Dragony’s music worthy of its regal concept. Racing with power metal fury near the end on ‘Legends Never Die’, the fast riffing occasionally slows to allow the singalong appeal of the chorus accompanied by multiple backing vocal styles to make this an impressive contender for the band’s live repertoire, having previously played 70,000 Tons Of Metal and Wacken Open Air. So, while Dragony’s re-writing of history may require a fair amount of imagination to be appreciated, their music is far less demanding in its appeal, while definitely not lacking in quality to impress itself upon you.