Kazakhstan isn't the first place I would consider to be a hot bed of heavy metal, let alone classic heavy metal. Yet Holy Dragons comes from Almaty, the country's largest city and former capitol, where they've been crafting a mixture of traditional heavy, speed, and power metal since 1992. The band has been rather prolific for better than a decade releasing many albums, most in their native language.
Their most recent album, Dragon Inferno, the sixteenth if I count correctly, is an English language album. It also introduces a new singer to the band, Alexander “Demoraivola” Kuligin. He's largely a screamer. I think he's going after the sound of young Rob Halford, but comes off as a raging screecher. While Holy Dragons have both creativity and talent to perform classic metal, Kuligin's vocals are quite annoying. So annoying that for every song I couldn't wait for him to stop singing. It was either that or hit the skip button or simply stop listening, which is what I mostly did during the second listen.
Otherwise, there's some solid guitar lines and ambitious leads throughout. The rhythm section is sturdy and steady. The song arrangements are generally lively and engaging. As I said earlier, Holy Dragons has the skill and enthusiasm to deliver classic metal. But then Kulgin starts screeching like a banshee with its nuts in a vise, and I just cringe. So then, excusing the vocals, for the music, some of the best metal tracks include Hollow Man, Ride Cowboy Ride, Unlicensed Sky Diver, and Panic in FBI with acoustic Downshift Waltz preceding.
With Dragon Inferno, Holy Dragons deliver classic heavy metal with some creativity and skill, only to have it castrated by poor vocals.
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