Listening to Estate’s new album "Mirrorland" was a particular treat, not just because it is engaging, smart power metal, but because the only other Russian metal band I have heard is Arkona (epic pagan metal). Fans of power metal in the European tradition will likely be pleased by this album. Estate now stands poised to spread further into the metal community’s general awareness, as "Mirrorland" is an enjoyable fusion of contemporary power metal elements and classic rock.
While the instrumentation is definitely capable, vocalist Iliand Ferro steals the show. To my American ears, his accent strikes me as unique. His distinct timbre and pronunciation make for a refreshing listening experience.
Keyboards and synthetic elements are sprinkled throughout the album, and in just the right doses. The bass stands out very well, which I appreciate because so many bands bury this crucial instrument. This point leads me to compliment Peter Filevsky, the band’s guitarist and audio engineer for this album. The band’s one sheet says “For fans of Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, Rage, Iced Earth.” While fans of the aforementioned bands may enjoy "Mirrorland," Estate does not sound like Blind Guardian or Iced Earth at all.
The songwriting on "Mirrorland" is predominantly mid-tempo, but this doesn’t take away from the listening experience, as there is enough variation in the dynamics and pace to create an engaging listening experience. Songs like “Winter Kingdom” and “Knight of Hope” highlight Estate’s ability to write addicting hooks and choruses. As a soundscape, this album is fairly unique to other contemporary power metal releases.
One song that stands out in particular is “Silvery Skies.” This song could prove polarizing, given that it is reminiscent of Winger or Def Leppard, with its 80’s electric piano sound and balladesque feel. I would not fault anyone for hating this song, but it is performed with such confidence and filled with such pleasant melodies that one cannot help but love it — in fact it is one of the album's best. The three part song, “The Storm of the Age” starts out weak with part I, but by part III ("Lady Wind"), the piece returns to full swing. Part II (“Knight of Hope”) features one of the most majestic choruses on the album.
There are points of this album that recall Angra, Kamelot and Everthrone (which is the closest comparison you can get), but Estate is truly onto something more unique here. I highly recommend "Mirrorland" for fans of the aforementioned bands. For those who are on the fence, listen to “Winter Kingdom,” “Knight of Hope,” and “Storm of the Age, pt. III: Lady Wind.” If that doesn’t convince you then nothing will!
Label: Mighty Music
2. The Ghoul
3. Stolen Heart
4. Winter Kingdom
5. The Storm of the Age, Part 1: Storm of the Age
6. The Storm of the Age, Part 2: Knight of Hope
7. The Storm of the Age, Part 3: Lady Wind
8. Silvery Skies
9. Matter of Time
11. Knight of Hope (Mark Boals Version)
12. Matter of Time (Mats Levén Version)