Review: Sarayasign – Throne of Gold
Melodic Passion (June 24th, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Sarayasign is a new band hailing from Sweden. They market themselves as a “Cinematic melodic hard rock band”, with drummer and rhythm guitarist Jesper Lindbergh having created a vast story on the world of Saraya. This concept album serves as the first of four that tell the entire story arch. It is too convoluted to write about here, but in short it seems inspired by the Lord of the Rings story mixed with some Christian allegories about an ancient book (that casts away evil) being torn apart. The story centers around the search for the pieces to re-bind it together. This race between the forces of good and evil make up the crux of the story.
All this would be irrelevant if the musicianship did not work, but fortunately it does. The band utilizes progressive elements in a melodic fashion that makes for some solid tracks. First single ‘When Worlds Collide’ perfectly exemplifies the power of this band. The standouts of the band are singer Stefan Nykvist and Lead Guitarist Daniel Blohm. Stefan has a voice that is perfect for this type of material, conveying a commanding voice not that dissimilar to Jorn Lande. He does not rely on old metal tropes like high pitched screams to elevate the material. Daniel’s precise soloing is impressive, and his guitar tone stands out from the rhythms laid down by Jesper Lindbergh, which makes for some great contrasts.
Other great tracks include ‘Run’, a high energy Rainbow-inspired song that lyrically resembles the Fellowship storyline from the Lord of the Rings. Second single ‘If Only for a Moment’ is a moving ballad about loss and regret and is Stefan’s best vocal performance.
With that said, I found the playback ability of this album to be not so strong. I enjoyed it the first time I heard it, but relistens felt like a chore rather than a pleasure. I chalk that up to a personal gripe with the production. It is well produced for sure but like many other progressive productions, it is too precise and glossy. It is the same reason a band like Dream Theater does not appeal to me. The band does not feature the complex arrangements of DT, but the progressive feel is there. That lack of grittiness detracts for me.
Fans of bands like Queensrÿche, Avantasia, and Symphony X will surely find something to love here. It should be noted that the album contains 8 tracks but clocks in at 45 minutes. To get a full appreciation of the stories for each song, it is best to check out the world of Saraya story located on their website. I am pretty sure this story is part of their CD booklets as well: The world of Saraya – Sarayasign