Dark Rising ($5 Special)
"What I thought, upon first listen, was going to be yet another Gothic Metal release in the vein of Epica, Midnattsol, Imperia, et al, turns out to be a bit more than that. Portugal's Enchantya touch most of the genre's clichés, from the band's name to the all-black look, the female lead singer and the haunting album art. But where the rubber hits the road, i.e. the songwriting, they brought a little extra to the table. Singer Rute Fevereiro has the requisite operatic voice and while not the match of a Tarja Turunen, she does a fine job with the material on Dark Rising, the band's first full-length album. Rather than settling for being just another Gothic Metal band, Enchantya's keyboardist brings a few Progressive Metal riffs to songs like the opening instrumental, "Unwavering Faith," and the solo of "Your Tattoo." The band wisely limits this trick using it just enough to give Dark Rising a distinct personality. "No Stars in the Sky" is a solid, up-tempo number, showing off some Nightwish worship, but also that Enchantya knows what goes into writing a good song. There are harsh vocals throughout the album, providing a nice balance to the sweetness of Fevereiro's singing. "Winter Dreams" is a beautifully melodic ballad while "Ocean Drops" successfully combines both the heavier and softer sides of the band. There are missteps, like the awful chorus on "She-Devil," but they are minimal and all is forgiven when the fantastic title track comes on. "Dark Rising" has wonderful melodies and a bright chorus and is sure to be a staple of the band's live set for years to come.
Dark Rising isn't going to make people forget about Nightwish's Wishmaster or Autumn's Altitude but it is a strong debut with just enough individuality to stand out from the crowd. Gothic and Symphonic Metal fans will want to put Enchantya on the radar screen for the foreseeable future." - The Metal Crypt