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From The Cradle To The Brave - Highland Glory

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal / Artist: Highland Glory / Import / Audio CD released 2003-11-21 at Massacre

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      05.07.2008 15:38
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      Advantages

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      Power Metal band with a penchant for the Scottish Highlands

      Highland Glory- A review by Addy
      ____________________________

      "From the ashes of Phoenix Rizing ascends Highland Glory
      to continue the eternal crusade" (2003) Band quotation

      A History Of From The Cradle To The Brave
      __________________________________

      Highland Glory are a Norwegian Power Metal formerly recording as Phoenix Rizing and releasing two albums that achieved global success. These albums were;

      "Rise From The Ashes" (1998)
      "Eternal Crusade" (2000)

      In 2001 these talented musicians recruited a new lead singer called Jan Thore Grefstad and formed Highland Glory. Starting from scratch and with a renewed vigour, the new band line up were far more versatile creating a fresh diversity, exploring all aspects of Metal slow to upbeat whilst always veering toward the more traditional style of melodic Power Metal and antiquity. However, the band planned to take an additional novel approach in their musical style by incorporating Celtic. With a firm objective in mind and a real sense of direction the bands plans as quote, "are to spread the word, music & glory of the Scottish Highlands!" Two years later saw the release of the Highland Glory debut album "From The Cradle To The Brave."

      Specs
      _____

      Released: 17th March 2003
      Label: Massacre Records
      Genre: Power Metal
      Running Time: 53:49

      Highland Glory Are
      _______________

      Name: Jack-Roger Olsen.
      Instrument: Guitar, backing vocals.
      Location: Løvenstad.
      Previous Bands: Prophecy, Twilight Century (the predecessor of Phoenix Rizing), Phoenix Rizing

      Name: Jan Thore Grefstad
      Instrument: vocals, keys
      Lives: Oslo Norway
      Previous Bands: Frostmoon, Nobodys Perfect, Pet Semetery, Blind side.

      Name: Knut Egil Tøftum
      Lives: Rælingen
      Instrument: Bass
      Previous bands: Black Rose, Phoenix Rizing

      Name: Lars Andrè Rørvik Larsen
      From: Askim
      Instrument: Guitar, Keyboard
      Previous bands: Phoenix Rizing, Rolling Eggz, Comeback

      Name: Morten Færøvig
      Lives: Vesby
      Instrument: Drums
      Previous bands: Phoenix Rizing and Atlantis

      "I've always loved Celtic-inspired metal, bands like Running Wild and Iron Maiden have done that for a long time with big success. This is a legacy is something I want to bring along with our own sound of course" Jack Olsen.

      ALBUM TRACKS
      ____________

      1. One Last Chance- 04:50
      2. Beyond The Pharaoh's Curse- 05:15
      3. A Warriors Path- 05:35
      4. This Promise I Swear- 04:55
      5. Land Of Forgotten Dreams (part 1) - 06:45
      6. Land Of Forgotten Dreams (part 2) - 05:52
      7. Wear Your Gun To Neverland- 08:19
      8. Will We Be Again- 04:29
      9. From The Cradle To The Brave- 07:46

      "95 Out of 100- Metal Kingdom"

      The Album
      ________

      One Last Chance: starts off with a harpsichord to gradually bring in the lead guitar. Instantly you can recognise that the musicians have history of playing together and the direction of the album becomes most evident. Once Jan's voice begins you also identify that the band made a bloody good choice in picking the lead vocalist. The track is very pleasant with parts giving away to the harpsichord and it all trundles along very nicely with Power Metal that isn't extreme and its all very pleasing to the hear even for those less metal orientated.

      Jan Thore: "This is as much about the ordinary life as a fictional, adventurous one. It`s about doing your very best to correct your own and others mistakes, and to be able to show courage when required".

      A listeners rating: 4 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Beyond The Pharaohs Curse: This track beautifully and artistically blends metal with a more ancient theme. The subtle tint of an enigmatic past gives a flavour and combines well with the words of the chorus:

      Beware of the magic that dwells in dimensions
      Beware of the curses that rules in this world
      Beware of the magic that spells in the ancient
      Beware of the curses that rules in this world

      After a brief music start of violins it picks up its pace and represents exactly what the song is about. Also I would like to add that there are some awesome lengthy pieces of lead guitar in this track.

      Jan Thore: "This is basically my own interpretation of the movie The Mummy."

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      A Warriors Path: Starts off with a melody very much like Greensleeves but played on electric guitar. This is a very ballsy track and is played/sung intensely. Many parts of the song play almost militaristically and understandably so given the title and meaning. With the music you can almost visualise the Highlander warrior charging into battle and honouring his clan. After the song finishes you feel kind of drained it is that intense, especially when played loud enough to vibrate the windows in their frames.

      Jack: "This song used to be an unreleased Phoenix Rizing song which I wrote the music to back in 95, once known as Valley Of Death. I thought the music was too good to be wasted, and it would really fit us even more now with its Celtic inspired melodies.We threw away the original lyric and I added a new instrumental sections and a new title. Jan Thore came up with a new melody and lyric and voila."

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      This Promise I Swear: is very special to me and close to my heart since my wife and I chose this for our entrance song at our Celtic wedding. The song is truly beautiful musically, lyrically, and spiritually. Splendid singing accompanied by lush piano melodies, sweeping gentle lead guitar and harmonies that sooth the soul. Bias aside I would easily give this a rating of six out of 5 if it was possible. Jans voice is almost angelic on the track and many wedding guests implored to know, "Who sings that divine song?" I even was asked to make copies of our wedding CD for people. I believe you would be hard put to find anyone who would complain about this song. Perhaps this is a worthy contender for new vows.

      Jack: "This is a song I wrote for my wife prior to our wedding. I got the main ideas for the melodies while at work. Fortunately I recorded it on my phone so I shouldn`t forget it. Lars helped me out with the arrangements and the bridge and added the instrumental section" He continues, "This is a favourite ballad amongst many which would have huge potential if it got any airplay. We`ve played with the idea of making a more soft version of the song as to further increase the commercial potential it already has. Time will tell."

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Land of Forgotten Dreams (Part 1 ): For the first 1:41 this song is just music comprising some lush keyboards and soft lead guitar. The track for me is very much a fantasy style song that would be highly suited to a film such as Eragon. The track has very interesting lyrics.

      Jan Thore: "A story about dreams and fantasy, about travelling into your own dreams, and turning them into your own real life Parallels to stories like The Never-ending Story is clearly evident, yet it's not written about it. You could say it`s loosely based upon it though. The story didn`t really finish here, so we had to make a follow up."

      A listeners rating: 4 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Land of Forgotten Dreams (Part 2): for me is heavier than part 1but is actually catchier also. Very melodic but does not have the long instrumental intro. There is also a shorter pause between the two tracks.

      Jack: We had originally intended to link these two together by fading out Part 1 and fading in Part 2 with the same riff. We decided to go for this option instead, with a shorter break between the tracks than on the rest of the album, purely intentional of course. I made the intro and verse riff, while Lars added the bridge chords, the entire chorus and the slow, atmospheric middle section. (Originally there was a galloping riff on the demo version. We felt this didn`t benefit the song so we replaced it with this instead) What I like about it is that it`s one of a few surprise moments on the album, and I also like the way it builds up again. I think the album needed a couple of unpredictable moments like this. The up-tempo last chorus was arranged in the studio whilst recording and it worked well as a variation. This is the one we struggled the most to put together, but we finally succeeded

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Wear Your Gun To Neverland: is one of the heavier tracks on the album and as such is a right head banger of a track. It is also a courageous track that deals head on with taboo subjects, and in this instance it is terrorism. Initially when the track starts it has a Far Eastern melody and combined with the lyrics such as references to Jihad etc it is clear the sort of terrorism the band is referring to.

      Jack: "I have rewritten this numerous times. I was never quite confident with it the way it was, so it was never really finished. The lyric has almost remained the same, but the music has been changed over and over I'm glad I didn`t finish it before, because now I think we really nailed it with this piece of music. It fits the lyrics very well. We really managed to capture the atmosphere of the theme! It deals with jihad; war in the name of god, and people in the Middle East being brain washed from birth to kill for their beliefs. Organized religion has caused much evil, pain and grief, and this is just one example Accidentally, it became very relevant because of what happened 11.9, and it just goes to prove my point. I presented this almost complete to the band, but got help to arrange it. I wondered if there would be possible to make a catchy tune on top of the verse riff, but Jan Thore came through with flying colours He has this gift of improvising great melodies over any idea. Close your eyes while listening and you can picture before you the war in the desert sands of the Middle East."

      A listeners rating: 4 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Will We Be Again: Takes a lean to the other side of things now by bringing the pace right back down and "Will We Be Again" is a good old sweet as honey ballad. For the most part the vocals are laid down to a piano melody but in the chorus there is the very subtle use of electric guitar to give it that slightly more intensely passionate feel. Will We Be Again is an absolutely beautiful song with a somewhat haunting feel to it and quite sad without depressing the listener.

      Jan Thore: "This is a melancholy ballad about mourning for a love that`s lost, or a life of a loved one that`s passed. Either case, you wonder; Will we be again It asks the questions; Is there a future for us, be it in this life or the next? Will we meet on the other side? Depending on how you interpret. This piece was written by Lars and I it's one of Lars' ballad ideas, which I put a melody on top of. It's very atmospheric with a very epic chorus. The strings were created with giga samples."

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      From The Cradle To The Brave: is the album title track and is very special. This is another track relating to the Scottish Highlands and a clansman warrior. It also talks about the hardships we endured such as the burnings of the Scots homes, raping, pillaging and murdering. The song lyrics could easily be applied to William Wallace, Rob Roy McGregor or an unknown hero. The song melodically gives you a feel for the Highlands as well as warriors and it starts with nice panpipes. I want to give you the lyrics to the chorus because I think they are nice and give a feel for the song.

      It is the hero in his heart that will lead us the way
      His land he will defend, from eternity `till the end
      With his sword in hand, he`ll ride across the land
      As he rises from the cradle to the brave
      Tales of the chosen one that will arrive
      Born to be leader, he must stay alive
      He gathered an army to ride into battle
      Out on the highlands, they are the masters

      Overall it is a very passionate song with variances in tempo, vocals and melody. The song is the type that could be very well used in an epic movie, blaring out of Mission speakers at home or a car stereo. I like to listen to this stuff on my ipod whilst riding but it inspires me to go faster etc so I have to restrain myself.....a little.

      Jan Thore: "This can be described the same way as A Warriors Path, although this was more specifically inspired by movies like Rob Roy."

      A listeners rating: 5 out of 5

      Guest Vocals
      __________

      THE CELTIC ClANSMEN CHOIR :

      Daniel Heiman and Fredrik Olsson (Lost Horizon): backing vocals on "Cradle To The Brave"
      Daniel Heiman & Jan Thore Grefstad sing duet on the last chorus of "Cradle To The Brave"

      The Cover
      ________

      Mark Wilkinson designed and created the artwork and his extensive repertoire of work extends to art for bands Marillion, Fish, Iron Maiden & Judas Priest to name a few. The book has the song lyrics and the entire booklet, cover work and disc have a real feel of quality to them. The cover picture of the Highlander with wode on his face holding the baby is also printed onto the disc itself. It is easy to see that a lot of thought and hard work as gone into every aspect of the album and as a result it as paid off with the Highland Glory really delivering the goods.

      Discography
      __________

      Forever Endeavour (2005)

      As of April 2007 Highland Glory started working on their third album which will be titled "Holocauster Ride". Sadly Jan Thore Grefstad has left the band and has been replaced by another lead vocalist......Hope he is good!

      Thank you for all the reads/rates, Addy

      © July 2008

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 One Last Chance
      2 Beyond the Pharao's Curse
      3 Warriors Path
      4 This Promise I Swear
      5 Land of Forgotton Dreams, Pt. 1
      6 Land of Forgotton Dreams, Pt. 2
      7 Wear Your Gun to Neverland
      8 Will We Be Again?
      9 From the Cradle to the Brave