Frankly, I wasn't sure how to pronounce their name. Every time I looked at Minuetum, I wanted to say 'Minute Men' or 'Minutia'. I've finally caught on. Minuetum is a Greek power metal band formed in 2007 by Dimitris Melidis (k) and Dimitris Zacharopoulos (v), and Haunted Spirit is their debut album. For a young band, Minuetum landed some heavyweights to help them with their first album including Bob Katsionis (Firewind, Outloud) who produced and Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, Revolution Renaissance) who did the mixing and mastering. With this cred, my expectations were high, but should have been more realistic.
Being founded by a keyboard player, Minuetum is a melodic power metal band heavy on the keyboards and synths. While keyboards certainly have their place in metal, I've never really cared for them as predominent player. Don't get me wrong here; Melidis is a fine player and excels on this work. But an overabundance of synths simply doesn't ring with me. Also, I struggled with Zacharopoulos' vocal style which, to my ears, seemed muted and dull, and so the vocal arrangements suffered as well. Some songs include a female backing vocalist, which added some brighter color to the arrangements.
Despite these reservations, Minuetum understands their melodic power metal genre and delivers the appropriate goods. For instance, The Dark Half is fast-paced and heavy rush of power metal. Then a song like Follow Us or Hero Divine attempts to combine the quick pace within a more epic arrangement, ang generally succeed. Generally, Haunted Spirit is consistent and solid melodic power metal with a formidable keyboard center. However, they are very few moments of real inspiration for the listener. And speaking of lack of inspiration, the dark and obtuse cover art does not make this work appealing either. I think Minuetum has potential; they just haven't tapped it yet.
Minuetum's Haunted Spirit is consistent and solid melodic power metal with a formidable keyboard center. However, they are very few moments of real inspiration for the listener.