Memories of Old – The Zeramin Game

Band: Memories of Old
Album: The Zeramin Game
Release Date: 18th September 2020
Record Label: Limb Music

I’ve been on a bit of an “unexpected” break from posting on this site again, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and having to take care of myself. I don’t want to write reviews for the sake of it, and I want to do every album I review justice. That being said, the ONLY album I could really make a comeback with is my most anticipated album of the year, The Zeramin Game, by those wonderful guys in Memories of Old. I have talked about Memories of Old many times before, and for good reason, based on what I’ve heard from them previously. But this is the true test. Does a full album have the same impact? There’s only one way to find out.

As with most symphonic power metal and concept albums, we must start with an introduction track, In Exordium. Spoken words, choral vocals, and strings add atmosphere and tension, and leads seamlessly into Overture with the full band playing and a triumphant feel comes over the listener.

The first of the two previously released tracks, The Land of Xia is the first track we hear the multi-talented Tommy Johansson (Majestica/Rein-Xeed, Sabaton) on vocals. The track feels full and it doesn’t sound like anything is “missing” as can be the case in a lot of debut power metal albums. As I have my “first” listen of the album version, I cannot stop myself air drumming, headbanging, and singing along. I believe this was my first Memories of Old track, and it will remain a firm favourite.

The second track released before the album, which has been reworked a little for the album, is Zera’s Shadow. It is clear that every detail has been thought about a lot in the writing and mixing process. It’s a slower pace than The Land of Xia, but is no less triumphant and with a listen or two to the chorus, it’s going to be an absolute hit at live shows (when we are allowed out again).

Now we come to a mid-pace marching tempo song and ballad all in one, an absolute staple on any power metal album. Some Day Soon was released with a lyric video recently and if you know me, I’m not generally a slower power metal fan, but this track just hits it right for me. It’s just heavy enough to headbang, and the chorus is absolutely one to sing along to. We now come to full tracks that have never been officially released, and Destiny is the first of those. This is another ballad-style track, and Tommy’s voice fits the calmer and more acoustic feel perfectly. This is definitely a track you want a lighter or phone light up in the air for. I can’t stop smiling while listening to Destiny, there’s just something about it that’s just right.

We now have a bit of pirate metal thrown into the mix with Across the Seas. I am certainly not opposed to any kind of pirate metal, so to mix a bit of that in with power metal, and I am more than happy. Across The Seas picks up the pace again from the more emotional Some Day Soon and Destiny. We have some epic instrumentals and solos in this track, with enough pace to get a good headbang on the go. There a small breakdown before building right back up into the faster paced instrumentals and vocals.

Across the Seas has another one of those beautiful seamless transitions into Arrival. It has a grittier feel and seems a little more ominous, as we arrive at our destination. It has a Zera’s Shadow feel to it. A Hooded Traveller is a short spoken word track which introduces us to Fowlen’s Revenge.

There’s a bit of a pirate feel to the keys in Fowlen’s Revenge, and Tommy’s vocals have a bit of grit when telling the story of Fowlen. The instrumentals are fast paced and add to the urgency of the story this track tells. The keys are particularly prevalent in this track. There’s a slower section where hands will clap to the beat of the drum, and there’s a wonderful guitar solo. There’s also also songs singalong “Ah”‘s, and there’s definitely an 80’s feel in there too. You can feel Fowlen’s urgency to reach the other travellers.

A just-over 14 minute epic, The Zeramin Game is the title track, and a rollercoaster. There’s a great build up which gets the blood pumping, and it’s another track I can’t stop smiling over. There’s triumph, anticipation, tension, and a whole range of other emotions that you feel as you go through. The spoken word sections, in poetry, are just perfect, and not something that you often hear nowadays in power metal. My cheeks begin to hurt at 9 minutes into this track, but I can’t stop smiling. It’s wonderful. The energy of the story comes through in the music beautifully. There is a beautiful piano/keys led section towards the end with Tommy’s calmer vocal style, followed by a spoken word telling us how the story ends, for now, and we harken back to The Land of Xia, now the Shadow has been lifted, and a new King has been crowded. I am not going to lie, a few tears have been filling my eyes listening to the ending.

The album ends with a Finale, like a film score.

If you purchase a physical copy of the album, you also get an exclusive track called The Architect’s Eyes. I strongly encourage you to buy the album to listen to this track as it shows another side of Billy’s song writing genius.

If you like your power metal like a film score, this is what you need to be listening to. It takes your emotions on an absolute rollercoaster, and when it ends, you want more. Every little detail has been thought about, and it is perfection in a power metal album.

This album is I think the best debut album I have ever heard. The music is complex enough to grab your attention, without feeling like it’s too “snooty”. Even disregarding the fact that I know a few members of Memories of Old personally, this absolutely is my album of the year so far, and it will take something VERY special for that to change. I’m going to be listening to this over and over again to the story of The Zeramin Game. This will be on my frequently played for months to come, and has made me fall back in love with music again.

Memories of Old – Some Day Soon

Verdict: 10/10

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