“WINTER IS COMING (A Holiday Rock Opera)” Reviews
Reviewed at chadrschulz.com, December 2013:
Usually I skip right on by the usually broad and mostly worthless Christmas Music albums, either in stores or on-line. Other than the classic works by TSO, most Christmas music, even by the best of rock/metal bands is cornball crap. Glad to have found this gem by A HERO FOR THE WORLD. ‘Winter Is Coming’ is not only a grand Christmas Rock/Metal Opera, it is a new favorite Holiday Rock album. A must own holiday classic for Metal fans worldwide.
The opening medley, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, sets the tone perfectly. A diverse mixture of Holiday/Christmas classics mashed together seamlessly. And it’s gloriously Metal, with soaring vocals (Is that a little Jon Oliva I hear?), technical musicianship, tight varied rhythm, and a great uniform collection of joyous melodies to make anyone smile.
This IS a Rock Opera. And like classic TSO Christmas albums, it has story and theme joining these 20 songs together. A bit pompous? Perhaps. But never boring, nor sappy. These tracks blend and flow very well. A complete and singular work of Epic Classic Christmas compositions mixed with newly minted material.
Operatic, Hollywood, Symphonic, Melodic, Power, Progressive–whatever genre of metal music you want to tag this album/band with doesn’t quite nail down the sound. They encompass all of these genres and more. Even a little Folk. The band calls it Heroic Rock. That works;)
“Good King Wenceslas” is magnificent. A Power Metal track. Perfect intensity, vocal prowess, pounding drums, all contained within a progressive metal shell. The best Metal track here.
Vocalist Jacob Kaasgaard has a Tobias Sammet/Michael Kiske quality to his voice. His range is large and his varied vocal approach perfectly complements all of the different styles at work on this album. A great screamer! He’s also the Keyboardist (including pianos and organ) and the Composer.
Kaasgaard’s partner is fellow Swede David Sivelind on Guitar and Bass. American Andy Gentile plays the Drums. And the Female Vocals are performed by Louiebeth Aratan. A great collection of international musicians who offer great sonic depth.
Slower, softer tracks like the great “In the Bleak Midwinter”, “Heart of Ice”, “One Voice Can Start An Avalanche”, and “Oh Holy Night” help balance out the other fast and often complex songs.
Title track “Winter is Coming” is another strong Metal track. With a nice Kiske-esque vocals and great guitar soloing.
“Winter Stars (Greensleeves)” is a perfect showcase for Filipino vocalist Aratan. The strongest version of this song since BLACKMORE’S NIGHT did it on their début.
Many of these tracks are short instrumentals that soft of blend into the background. Ambient connecting pieces for the “main” tracks. This works to the album’s favor by giving ‘Winter Is Coming’ a spacious and easily digested quality. Most Christmas albums simply pound us over the head with one carol/hymn after another.
The trilogy “I Saw Three Ships/This Endris Night”, “Peace on Earth” and “Angels We Have Heard on High/Hark the Herald Angels Sing” are a festive re-jiggerings. Both Metal and kind of Pop-ish. Great vocal interplay between Aratan and Kaasgaard. Kaasgaard is awesome and the guitar/drum work is stellar.
The album has a grand production and mix. Lots of multi-layered choruses and instrumentation make this album’s sound seem BIGGER than just four musicians. A true Symphonic/Hollywood Metal effort.
Guitar heavy instrumental tracks like “Marche Militaire” and “Auld Lang Syne” truly smoke. Sivelind is definitely no slouch. You’ve just got to hear the Hendrix inspired solo in “Auld Lang Syne”–sweet. This version needs to be played at ALL New Year’s parties worldwide–ad infinitum.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” is a stellar closer. The perfect wrap-up piece for this over 75 minute collection. Kaarsgaard just completely destroys. Listen to that final scream that goes on forever–stellar Metal victory!
These may not be the most original of songs. And mixing Christmas/Holiday tunes with Metal has been done before (and very well!). But A HERO FOR THE WORLD makes is all sound fresh and inspired. ‘Winter is Coming’ is epic and majestic music. Highly Recommended tuneage (for any time of the year).
Reviewed in “METALKAOZ.com” January 2014:
I am very much aware that the Xmas season has ended but I think there is still some of its spirit left in your heart regardless of your religious affiliation. So, the new A HERO FOR THE WORLD album has the perfect attitude to keep this spirit going but also as another option when you need to spin some Christmas carols to lighten up your mood (for next year). Because whatever the music style, it is always better when it is played with electric guitars and pounding drums wearing a Metal outfit. Following this train of thought, “Winter Is Coming” is the best pick to have on the side of all those TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA albums. After all, you need some variety, right?
I have a sweet tooth for covers and this also includes all those Xmas tunes that most of us hate to listen but in some case we cannot avoid to.A HERO FOR THE WORLD step on some well-known melodies and build symphonic Metal orchestrations that also have some faster and heavier breaks I found awesome. You just have to endure the initial Power Metal happiness (unless you like that stuff) before getting a big smile listening to the STRATOVARIUS-like song structures with anthemic melodies and sing-along parts. The female vocals by Louiebeth Aratan add another layer to the already carol-like atmosphere and at the same time step on the Symphonic Metal territory via theSAVATAGE-esque guitar action that shines during the solo. If you consider how difficult is to make the Xmas tunes sound interesting, then you will acknowledge what A HERO FOR THE WORLD are offering in the hearty 21-song tracklist. By the way, the faster break driven by the impressive streak of riffs is the icing on this cake. Believe it or not, there is music variety in this album and “Good King Wenceslas” is a fine example entering with an almost Folk Metal tempo (it made me think of TURISAS), so you can fill your tankard with cold beer instead of the wimpy and non-Metal eggnog while you’re imitating the war-like vocalisms – interesting mix, right? “Winter Stars (Greensleeves)” is an impressive cover of the well-known tune with strong doses of Xmas stardust, having on the spotlight the crystal clear singing by Louiebeth Aratan who has some Candice Night-like vocal chords.
The subtitle of the album reads “A Holiday Rock Opera”, so expect theatrical arrangements and story-telling lyrics that work exactly as the title implies, dressing the holidays season with an alternative and Metal inspired music. The classical music references are as expected present and the instrumental “Marche Militaire” is a fitting example having the lead guitar on the driver’s seat while the different almost Eastern-inspired take on “O Holy Night” is nothing less than impressive. Extra kudos are in order for Jacob Kaasgaard who is the mind behind this project, not only for all the arrangements but also for his great and expressional singing.
According to my understanding one doesn’t have to be a religious person (aka a believer) to enjoy the Xmas spirit, so it’s perfectly fine to have fun with these Metal-ized versions of known tunes. A HERO FOR THE WORLD have created a great concept album that can easily be onrepeat-mode during that time of the year. In case I failed to convince you, click HERE to listen for yourself.
Reviewed in “METALGLORY.DE” December 2013:
Rating 8 out of 10!
In the best Avantasia manner, which are like no other band for Rock / Metal Operas yes, provide A Hero For The World from a wonderful piece of music. Forget finally this unspeakable “Last Christmas”, here comes the right Christmas music for metalheads. And more than 80 minutes! But the opener, the medley “Gloria In Excelsis Deo” suggests this song by far. But not only metalheads should come into their own here. Everyone who has a flair for fine melodies and epic sounds of joy will be found in here. Even music can go with the melancholic touch you deep inside, is not missing. Just listen at the almost majestic “We Three Kings Of Orient Are”, deeper is probably only the Prisoners’ Chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco. Each song on the album is a fine elaborate artwork in its entirety einsteht an opus of great density in a symbiosis of classical melodies and epic metallic sounds. The two vocal artists Louiebeth Aratan (female ) and Jacob Kaasgaard ( male ) make it their rest and totally convincing.
Among the instrumental abilities of the three main protagonists, I do not want to talk, who have the debut absolutely convinced and this is not too different here. Also production and mix are very suitable and balanced, which explore the intricacies and beautifully reveals. conclusion: Sure to be “Winter Is Coming” which serves one or the other clichés and now and then it sounds a bit cheesy. But what shall people, a bit kitsch but everyone has somewhere like, and even if it is only at Christmas time. Because that might even predict grandma, so who does not want to give up metal when he sits at Grandma under the tree, which can hang up “Winter Is Coming”. 8/10 Points
Reviewed in “GFRock.dk” December 2013:
5 Christmas Hearts out of 6!
A Hero For The World goes beyond the scope of what a Christmas album can be and exceeded at the same time the limits of common sense in a spectacular fashion – and you’re so entertained that the heavy metal angels sing!
Okay, the last time I took a trip into A Hero For The World ‘s ( AHFTW ) epic and heroic fantasy universe metal received the entire one star . I was never quite clever on the prime mover in the project, Swedish Jacob Kaasgaard, was serious , took the piss out of it all, had a huge amount of tongue in cheek , galloping megalomania , or a little of everything . So I have it really still , of Winter Is Coming is in every way far out , too much and completely insane – but you are very well entertained most of the way . So I have opted for the first , and perhaps last , time to drop our normal 6- star scale and awards instead of Christmas hearts , depending on how well entertained and how merrily Christmas mood album makes me in. 6 stars MC Einar ” July the Cool “and 1 something with Remee .
AHFTW is basically a one -man project from Jacob Kaasgaard, based in the Philippines , he plays a multitude of instruments , has produced and released on his own company. Help get he trommebaskeren Andy Gentile , multi-instrumentalist David SiveLind (who also contributes some vocals) and female vocals from LouieBeth Aratan .
Together presents the Winter Is Coming (A Holiday Rock Opera) , 20 tracks with a running time of around 80 minutes plus 5 minutes extra if you include a ” band camp bonus track ” . To say that the rock opera is inflated to the bursting point , it would almost be an understatement. This release is in 2 acts , but even if you listen to an act at a time , pausing , then it is to be breathless . As concentrated listening experience , the project is grotesquely bloated, but as Christmas soundtrack , where you can alternate to listen and let the music fall into the background , it’s pretty much the snowy road also grotesquely entertaining.
The numbers of Winter Is Coming is a mix of original works and cover versions of more or less well-known Christmas songs , mostly the latter . Cover versions switches between getting a small metallic addition to being beaten by AHFTW ‘s mix of melodic power, heavy and symphonic metal – and obviously they are most enjoyable when the band just give it full throttle. This applies both to the dizzying metal events and Kaasgaard’s torch vocals, which alternate between classic heavy tones and anything that works as spontaneous and totally gratuitous screaming and yelling.
What makes the band difficult to figure out is when they slow down and suddenly appears very serious. This is also where the release will be a little bit dull and heavy, especially the center section contains a series of numbers where the Christmas party is a little stuck . Songs like ” We Three Kings of Orient Are” , with beautiful and grandiose choral singing , the somewhat shrill “One Voice Can Start An Avelance ” LouieBeth Aratan’s otherwise beautifully sung ” Winter Stars ( Greensleeves ) ” and the evocative Christmas night ballad ” Dark Skies ” falls a little too close to each other and drain the transition between the first and second act a little too much pace and madness . AHFTW appear as a serious band that delivers beautifully crafted musical music, but Christmas bag could have been shaken a little more, then the numbers fell further apart.
That said, the rest of the Winter Is Coming bit of a tour de force in fast-paced, or just Volume wrong , executed and orchestrated the Christmas spirit . We start in glorious megalomaniac style with an 8-minute long medley of Christmas classics that works great as an appetizer and summary of what ‘s in store . Both instrumental and vocal front exchanged effectively and, surprisingly , conventional old school metal and unpredictable madness outbreak . It is to hold onto the sled with both hands, or I’ll be in one of those sudden changes of direction.
The 3 tracks ” In The Bleak Midwinter ,” ” Good King Wenceslas ” and ” Heart of Ice” a fairly nice middle of the first act , where AHFTW on quite effective manner will build a great -sounding and epic winter landscape up . There is screwed down a little madness , with scattered exceptions , such as when Kaasgaard example just turns up the volume to ” In The Bleak Midwinter ” or when David SiveLind trampling into the ” Good King Wenceslas ” with odd boots – it is rarer than pretty, but in a way where you pull smile. The latter song is otherwise one of the curious sounding highlights on the album, with a melody that sounds like a mix of traditional Christmas hymn , added a touch of Asian tones. It should not work , but it actually makes it , in a metalmelodic rousing number. “Heart of Ice” is LouieBeth Aratan’s star moment at Winter Is Coming , generally brought her much better in the scene here than on the debut album . There she sounded like a slightly disoriented Asian skovfe who was being strangled by the bombastic tones – now she is breathing space , and delivers it beautiful vocal performance that gives it all a dreamy glow.
Another highlight is ” I Saw Three Ships / This Endris Night ” , which falls in the first part of the second act , where AHFTW set sail and throw a little shanty into their distinctive metal mixture. It’s hard not to stomp and clap when LouieBeth Aratan and Kaasgaard give it everything it can draw , although the latter tend to line up the mast and just rant loose a bit of an adjustment period . Overall, it gets a little more hilarious and crazy in the second act , where AHFTW periodically release the reins completely and let the dog sled , punching away out in the winter landscape . ” Angles We Have Heard On High / Hark The Herald Angles Sing ” whipping through the snow, so they fear for backers agree mental health, but fun! And Kaasgaard ‘s vocal explosion during ” O Holy Night ” must be heard to be believed !
Winter Is Coming closed appropriately, with a completely insane version of ” O Come All Ye Faithfull ” where Bad Religion ‘s recent bid for the same number well to slink away into the corner and be ashamed – like this freshener is an old trotter up so both sounds new , profane and ball run ! Kaasgaard starts as a pompous church singer in Latin before going metal ballad in English accent filled in it. The tempo increases, the volume is turned up anything they can find the agents before the poor old number shatter to pieces of Kaasgaard ‘s overdriven vocals – as the angel either trying to drown out the singing, or flee their wings stuffed into ears . Great sentence .
As mentioned in the introduction , this is incredibly hard to judge for me , and especially to describe adequately . It should, and should simply be heard to be believed . With each illuminated grievances , then this is a joy to put up with in a time when worn carols are queuing up to get on your nerves . AHFTW plowing through Christmas peace in a sleek snowmobile, it is out of control and momentarily shrill crazy – but also insanely entertaining a long way . And it IS long!
5 marveled Christmas hearts , for whatever it is A Hero For The World delivers with Winter Is Coming!
Reviewed in “OLIVERDSW” December 2013:
Rating 9 out of 10!
Who and what is heard? Meanwhile one is probably no longer around, the Philippine Metal project A HERO FOR THE WORLD as scheming to call – whether in a positive or negative sense, everyone should find out for yourself. But the fact is that 2013 is near, with WINTER IS COMING now the third (!) Band-release of the year. The fact is also that the unusual combo to Andy Gentile, Jacob and David Kaasgaard Sivelind produces a rather unique sound. A sound that is in direct genre comparison, not as perfect, but pleasant and refreshing sometimes be called differently – which is partly due to the distinctive voice of lead singer Jacob Kaasgaard. After the debut album ( Review ) and an EP, some new alternative versions of popular songs ( Review ) it is now a so theme album to be – one that fits very well in the (pre-) Christmas time. Subtitled is the whole thing with A HOLIDAY ROCK OPERA what the approximate directions for the project anticipates even partially. Will be glad: it is (typically) quite festive and melodic too, but a certain amount of fun can not be missing also. In other words: WINTER IS COMING is an absolute feel-good album with many well-known melodies, however, are presented in this case, a very refreshing way.
And how does it sound? Here could no title deputy for the album stand out as the opener GLORIA IN Excelsis DEO in medley form. Not only are some of the most striking tracks on the album are played, they are also united to an ultimately surprisingly good matching whole. This does not mean that you have heard with this title everything WINTER IS COMING has to offer – eventually follow a total of 19 other titles that are not have been more different can fail. From the instrumental interludes in Soundtrack manner about emotional ballads to pompous decked Metal Christmas anthems here has much to offer. And the usually very stylish, even if the whole thing (understandably) any Kitsch explores boundaries. Musically white especially the harmonious blend of symphonic and metal elements to inspire, with the focus yet clear, however, lies on the musical character and hard-bitten heavy metal so less of WINTER IS COMING have to be. But to whom the release is aimed not anyway – but rather as friends of the (extravagant) Symhonic Power Metal. Thick part Keyboardtteppiche here, lush choruses there, and everywhere catchy melodies – these are just some of the elements that genre fans will like. The fact that the whole thing here already almost too happy, playful and of coursecheesy sounds, whether as a result improve the presentation simply forgiven times.
An album like this but – at least theoretically – a problem: it runs the risk of degenerating into any compilation without a high recognition value. One problem that many other bands will know, it’s certainly no easy task, for the most part well known and usually only one occasion really well-functioning securities wrest something new (in this case Christmas), let alone give them a personal touch. In fact, A HER Ofor THE WORLD is but just that succeeded admirably. The album is despite the known, possibly already included umpteen times melodies become something special, maybe even somethingunique; paradoxically. Without a doubt, this is because that you can not just covert any title, but reinterpreted by-and-by – with the only lead vocal, a partially autonomous rhythms, many small but fine musical detail. And that is what one wishes but of an album like this. When the music then also convinced craft, then it must be to find the perfect Christmas gift probably simple.
Conclusion : Please not another Christmas album … you will be sunk in advance. But WINTER IS COMING A HERO FOR THE WORLD is certainly one of the better ones. Simple, because you will not be satisfied with easily replaceable cover versions – but each interprets a song on a very own way and endows with many new facets. But in general the band on the absolute right track seems to be will be able to see improvements compared to the previous releases in many ways.Time will tell whether this is due to the special Christmas bonus in the first place (A HERO FOR THE WORLD would have simply can not choose the more appropriate for her subject), or whether the now well-established qualities also held in relation to the next official studio album , or maybe even can again be surpassed. A thoroughly likeable thing – and the perfect Christmas soundtrack for all metal fans who do not necessarily have a problem with a subtle dose of kitsch.
Music: 9/10 | Singing: 8/10 | Production: 9/10 | Content: 8/10 | Variety: 10/10 | Impact force: 10/10
Reviewed in “METAL RULES” December 2013:
Written By: Written by JP:
A HERO FOR THE WORLD’s self-titled debut album was quite well received in the Power Metal world. The band already has enough majestic pomp in their original songs that this is a natural fit. One may not automatically think that an Asian Power Metal band (with two guys from Sweden in the band) from a tropical country would do a holiday Rock Opera based largely on tunes of Northern European Christian origin, but knowledgeable people will know that 90% of the people in the nation of 98 million people are Christian, so it is not that foreign.
WINTER IS COMING (subtitled, A HOLIDAY ROCK OPERA) is a monster project with 20 songs running over 81 minutes. The music is a conventional Melodic Metal version of Christmas and seasonal tunes, very similar in style, tone and tempo to Trans-Siberian Orchestra and the Northern Lights Orchestra Christmas albums. Everything good about these types of projects is represented hear in a brilliant blend of power and glory, soaring multi-layered choral vocals, vocals, crunchy guitars, double-kick drums to add the fury to the fire and all of that juxtaposed with long, tender acoustic and piano based instrumentals. ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ just rips, you gotta hear the mighty screams of Jacob Kaasgard at the end of the tune. Likewise, the ripping guitar solo version of ‘Auld Lange Syne’ is magnificent. It starts with a single unaccompanied guitar solo and then about halfway in, rips into a killer Power Metal version with all Christmas guns blazing loaded with double kick mania.
There are a few original songs scattered across the album including the punchy title track. There are lots of piano and keyboard parts and many orchestrated and symphonic parts. The band refer to their music as ‘Heroic Rock’, which describes the sound perfectly; the world needs a more heros! The sweet female vocals are provided by Filipino native Loiuebeth Aratan and she does an especially fine job on ‘Winter Skies’ (Greensleeves)’.
WINTER IS COMING is a very welcome addition to the growing sub-genre. This up-beat and extraordinarily well-produced and well executed album should be high on your list of Christmas Metal albums to own.
Reviewed in “ROCK METAL ESSENCE” November 2013:
Written By: Iacopo Mezzano
Rating 80 out of 100
A little ‘in the style of Trans-Syberian Orchestra version a bit’ more symphonic power metal but not least, these musicians reproduce some of the most famous hymns to Christmas in key metal, adding to the tracklist and inspired a good number of unpublished compounds specifically to add value to this beautiful concept. Surprising, as sull’esordio April, the quality of the songwriting of this reality that we remember to be cool debut, but it never finds it hard not to impress offering a perfect combustion of sounds and melodies wrap. The technical quality of the training is evident, in particular with the voices of Jacob Kaasgaard leader and a good singer Louiebeth Aratan interecciarsi and then join together with masteria and great musicality. The guitars never appeared too overbearing, and together with the keyboards and the rest of the instruments are channeled towards creating fresh melodies and listening to light and emotional. Finally, at the level of the songs astonishing tracks like In The Bleak Midwinter, Heart Of Ice , Winter Is Coming, Angels We Have Heard On High / Hark The Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night and the usual and inevitable O Come All Ye Faithful , that most of the other fail to enclose in them the perfect Christmas spirit. All for a record that will certainly be heard only by the most passionate of these festive melodies, but by all means and demonstrate mastery of musical technique, and undoubted originality.
“ON FIRE (EP)” Reviews
Reviewed in “STORMBRINGER” November 2013:
Written By: Sonata
Before not too long ago the Swedes from A HERO FOR THE WORLD have already expressed their strong debut album released, but apparently the guys have enough material to directly or nachzuschieben shortly after the album release a nice EP, which since the 08th October is available.”On Fire” was equipped with two completely new songs and offers next to a couple of tracks that rumgeisterten already on the Internet. Among the ballad “Mahal Kita”, which was probably written partly in Filipino, because the Swedes there indeed live for some time. Otherwise, there’s with “The Chase” and “The Memory will remain” two nice instrumentals. The remainder consists of alternative versions of already known songs, which only serves as a nice side dish. , but the core are the two all-new songs, including the mid-tempo heavy “Save the world from fire,” the stylistically now not really different from the album. The song has some nice melodies, I like compared to the album tracks but only conditionally. The second track “The (If you stood in my way) goes to the full and comes with very epic orchestrations therefore. This is power metal way I like it! Quickly and without compromise. Guitarist David Sivelind here are a few fat skin especially in the middle part riffs out and Jacob Kaasgaard’s voice comes here much better advantage than in the restrained opener. Overall, it is at least striving for A HERO FOR THE WORLD, the fans withhold nothing. Everything was draufgepackt of material what will be in the archives of the band mischief drives. therefore you also get offered something and not fobbed off with only two new tracks. Very good I like also in addition to the two new tracks, the instrumental “The Chase”, which makes its title. The rest I feel like I said as nice addition, over which one certainly does not complain as a fan. Now the Swedes can prepare to take their second longplayer in attack and I’m almost certain that they are already at work.
“A HERO FOR THE WORLD” Reviews
Reviewed in “METAL-ARCHIVES” May 2013:
Written by “Hells Unicorn”
Rating 90 out of 100
Sometimes an album cover tries to be cryptic about its contents, and at others it literally pummels the would be audience with a subtlety of an iron boot to the skull. Perhaps the most well-known band to turn the latter approach into a fine art is Manowar, and much of the present power metal scene seems all to happy to follow their example, and why not? Although long ago rendered a predictable storyline to the point of cliche, the image of a lone hero standing against seemingly insurmountable odds will always work in the heavy metal medium, because it is that very spirit that the genre represents. While a band name like A Hero For The World might suggest any one of an endless onslaught of 4th rate metalcore flunkies, the reality is something far more grandiose and worthy of its signified meaning.
Picture the utter pomp and orchestral bluster of Manowar’s recent offering “Gods Of War”, but with a vocalist that sounds a bit closer to vintage Tobias Sammet and a more European tinge to the overall feel of things (think Gamma Ray/Freedom Call emulators Galderia but with a heavier edge) and a pretty good representation of this band’s self-titled debut emerges. At the same time, while this album definitely borrows a lot of heavily symphonic keyboard aesthetics from said Manowar album, it takes completely opposite approach and presents a series of easy to follow songs with little instrumental meandering to speak of, perhaps drawing some comparison to Majesty’s brief stint under the name Metalforce. The opening song “We Are Forever” is a textbook example of this, attacking right from the start with a loud foray of vocals and instruments, almost as if beginning opening song off of “Fighting The World” known affectionately as “Carry On” without the acoustic prelude or the brief A Capella chant that follows it.
To be fair, this band does not solely stick to the Manowar sound and regularly finds itself in a smoother, mainline Helloween/Edguy neck of the woods with a number of fast yet not quite over speed metal cookers that follow conventional formulas. “End Of Time” and “Let It Go” have all the trappings of a classic late 80s approach to power metal of the likes that Stratovarius might dream up, but with a far more abrasive vocal assault and a less contemplative character. Things get even more interesting when the ballads and epics roll in, revealing a band that is quite capable of giving the masses an excuse to raise their lighters to the sky. “Free Forever” has a sort of Celtic anthem character to it, not all that different from the music that introduces the Shire in the recent “Lord Of The Rings” films, but also presenting a massive sounding presentation that would put even 90s Savatage to shame. “One Hope Of Light” takes a somewhat similar approach, but drags things out a bit longer and features some of the beautiful vocal work of Louiebeth Aratan, the band’s lone link to the Philippines, who also manages to sound like a charming Irish lass with her gentle, angelic croon.
For a completely independent project with no label support to speak of, this stands as one of the most impressive projects to come up of late, and is definitely one to watch. It builds an impressive set of songs from a number of commonplace sources, yet manages to come off as completely fresh and inviting. At times it almost feels like this album has picked up where Manowar left off in 2002, as well as channeling most of the melodic and consonant character of the lighter side of the German power metal scene from about the same time. For anyone who likes their power metal with a fair amount of aggression and attitude, yet still within the European post-Helloween paradigm stylistically, this is definitely a band to support. It’s one of those albums that has few tricks or mysteries to speak of musically, but is so utterly up beat and powerful that it’s impossible to care.
Reviewed in “METALHOLIC” May 2013:
This spring, a trio of power metal musicians based in the Philippines independently released their first full-length, self-titled album onto the power metal community worldwide. A Hero for the World is a relatively young band, harnessing the power of social networking and social media to get their music heard. With their debut album streaming on their Bandcamp site, videos on Youtube, hard copies available on Amazon, and digital copies on iTunes, they have been quite successful at this daunting task.
The band consists of two Swedes, Jacob Kaasgaard (vocals, keyboards, composer) and David Sivelind (guitar, bass) and an American drummer, Andy Gentile. The production quality of the album would hardly lead you to believe that it is an independent debut album, let alone make it obvious that the musicians are countries apart.
The album begins rather abruptly with layered vocals, expressing “We will fight fire with fire” on the track “We Are Forever” and although it’s off-putting at first, the song grows into a surprisingly melodic track with wonderful vocal melodies and guitar licks. It’s a fittingly strong start to an album that never seems to die out.
“Free Forever” slows the album down a bit in tempo and brings out a calmer side to the musicians all around. Kassgaard’s ballad vocals are low but strong, and the keyboard work is phenomenal. The song also features female singer, Louiebeth Aratan who is also from the Philippines. It is definitely an unexpected sound but her vocal style is proper for the song and works really well with Kassgaard’s. Immediately following the ballad, the album picks back up with a lovely falsetto and haunting vocal layering on “Let it Go”. The drumming style of Gentile brings in a nice anthem-like beat to the track and really helps it move along, while the lead guitar parts from Sivelind feature neo-classical inspired movements matching the vocal melodies perfectly, creating one hell of a power metal composition.
“Heaven’s Eyes” is a gritty, driving tune, and features a rather amazing vocal feature towards the end, which I would put money on being one of the highest falsetto’s I have heard ever recorded so well. My jaw was on the ground upon first listen, so kudos to you Kaasgaard. The album keeps your interest so well that before you know it, the finale is upon you.
The record ends with three intertwined tracks all telling one story about the hero of the world. Most albums (especially in power metal) have some creative and solid way to end, but the track “One Hope of Light” is the epitome of a perfect finale. It combines bits and pieces from the album as a whole, composed into one beautiful epic, lasting over ten minutes, but seems to fly by. The acoustic guitar work, the keyboard flourishes, the quiet but moving bass lines, and the at times tribal-like drums, just make for one truly astonishing track.
A concrete power metal album, with perfect drums, rhythm and lead string work, and strong embellished power metal vocals, A Hero for the World has definitely created something to be proud of. Their debut album has set the bar quite high for any work the band writes in the future. To get your hands on the music, check out the links below, or as mentioned in the first paragraph, you can pretty much find these guys anywhere.
Reviewed in TARRAZU – Rating 96/100:
Originally written in Spanish
A HERO OF THE WORLD is a band / project composed of members of different nationalities this year leaves us with a magnificent work of the same name “A HERO OF THE WORLD” .
Style epic / heavy / melodic / power metal , the work draws on multiple resources: first epic choirs character, between heavy riffs and power, and melodies with a magnificent composition given for highly digestible material to the Most ears.
It highlights the uniqueness of each item that makes up this 2013 work, which is otherwise a very catchy album with songs that easily hooked to the first. Among the songs that draw attention can name “Free Forever” , a beautiful ballad (perhaps the best of the year), or “Heaven’s Eyes” is another track that simple but very identity.
Not much to say, this is another great work in regard to metal epic 2013.
Reviewed in METALGLORY Magazine April 2013:
Rating 9 out of 10!
Written by Gelal originally in German
A slice from the first note to ignite it is not every day, and if it is then still a debut, the “WOW” is – the same effect again higher. “A Hero Of The World” is a band who have achieved this with their self-titled debut with me.
They describe the world as their home and are made up of two, living in the Philippines, Sweden Jakob Kaasgaard ( vocals, keys and compositions [on the label and the album will be released] ), David Sivelind (guitars, bass ) and a native of LA American Andy Gentile ( drums ) together, and the three here have a really strong album pulled out of a hat.
52 minutes long are Here it fine mature melodic metal, which ranges from classic heavy metal to light NWOBHM influences and a Spur Speed and Power Metal through to Epic Metal a la Rhapsody. Fine melodies, driving riffs, concise drums, a bass does not come up short but never intrusive acts and strong vocals that remind me again and again to Edguy, melt into an almost perfect symbiosis.
Direct at the beginning of the album you go boldly to things and knows how to convince with fast and epic anthems. Songs like the opener “We Are Forever”, or so coming with a light touch Helloween “Eternal Shadows” immediately go to the legs and the melody itself can be milled directly into the brain. Or the rapid, provided with galloping power metal riffing “Heaven’s Eyes”, here the melody part is not quite as concise, but it loads directly to circle a turnip. With “Alive”, then you have a slightly softer rockers on board, which is sung with much feeling. The trio can also be very quiet tones and can strike with ballads like “Free Forever” (with female support on the mic ) and about 10 minute anthem “One Hope Of Light” to touch the soul of the listener. The latter is also the conclusion of the panel and a worthy finale of this high-class album.
The production leaves nothing to be desired and gives the whole thing a flawless sound. For the chic cover of Brazilian Jobert Mello is responsible, which should be known to some for his work for example Sabaton and Primal Fear. conclusion: “A Hero For The World” an epic melodic metal album is first class, and with mature songwriting, high melody part , the required dose of aggression but also with much feeling. An album which comes without failures and belongs in every Heavy Metal shelf. 9/10 points
Reviewed in METALKAOZ April 2013:
““Eternal Shadows” is one of the album’s most representative songs with a galloping tempo, fast guitars and beautiful vocals where I would bet a descent amount of mine that Michael Kiske was doing some guest singing (yeah, they are that good). ”
“A Power Metal band cannot survive if the singer does not possess the pipes to sing and in this matter Jacob does an impressive work. His vocals seem to breathe the same air with Tobias Sammet so expect to listen to a voice with character and a hearty harsh timbre. In fact, the vocals bring the diversity in the music to keep me interested since I hate listening to bands that just follow the Power Metal blueprints to the letter.”
Reviewed in “ROCK METAL ESSENCE” March 2013
Rating 97 out of 100!
Written by Iacopo Mezzano originally in Italian
A Hero For The World is a truly titanic metal work and anchored incredibly solid foundation. First of all, the production here is top notch, crisp and clear, made of sounds always embracing especially in the orchestral sections of this music. The songwriting of Jacob Kaasgaard is then of excellence, varied and always inspired, full of moments of great emotion and epic power / power, with a huge dance side by side with large lashes and speed metal.
One of the best albums I’ve heard closures in recent years, with One Hope Of Light. A perfect song to sum up all the best we’ve heard on this disc, with the whole band at the height of its splendor and epic orchestrations hardly be able to take away from the head for the next few months.
I was absolutely and totally surprised by ‘debut album of A Hero For The World, a product crated with the mastery of veterans although, paper and sings a debut. A disc that has everything from choral, production, songwriting, the vocals, guitars and instruments, to entertain all fans of power, Symphonic, epic and melodic metal. Waiting to listen and evaluate the possible response of the godfathers Avantasia, I continue to enjoy this album, knowing that it will be really difficult to do better…
Reviewed in “FORSAKEN AT THE GATES” February 2013
Rating 9 out of 10!
Written by Robert Andersson
Now here is something you do not see or hear every day. A symphonic power metal band that consist of two members that both comes from Sweden but now lives in the Philippines. Talk about some unique stuff here. Anyhow, A Hero For The World consist of Jacob Kaasgaard (vocals and keyboard) and David Sivelind (guitar and bass). And with a little help from drummer Andy Gentile and guest appearances from female vocalist Louiebeth Aratan, Jacob and David has created the self titled debut for their band. As stated before, this band plays symphonic power metal so prepare yourselves for a assault of speed, powerful singing and some sweet guitar licks.
The first thing that catches my attention is the wide variety the band is showing in this album. There is a mix of speed, calm and great instrumentation in this album that is very appealing. Much of the material (especially the faster songs) reminds me a lot of Edguy but this still feels fresh and new.
When it comes to the individual songs, I am as impressed as I was with the instrumentation and the professional production. Jacob knows how to make a song different and give it a own special touch to it but also keeping most of the choruses memorable. The overall experience however is better than I expected. Some songs that really made an impression on me was the fast and determined “We Are Forever”, the exciting and innovative “Heaven’s Eyes” and also the epic “Free Forever” that also have a little of a celtic touch in it. Even “End of Time” has it great moments even though I do not approve of the long, boring intro but that makes up by a powerful chorus.
In the end of the album, the band is trying to expand its wings a little extra when the three last songs together makes the title track. “Over Land And Sea” opens the title track but it only works as a little warm up before “A Quest For The Brave” really kicks of this ending with a story of epic proportions. But I am missing the needed musicality that would make the song even more epic and really rise it up to the skies. Luckily, that musicality is found in the third part, “One Hope of Light”, and thank god for that since that part is ten minutes long. A good way too end the title track and the album.
I have listened to a lot of debuts in my days but I think the debut by A Hero For the World is one of the more impressive ones so far. Jacob and David has proven themselves as two great musiscians and together they create a force that is sure to be recond with. There are some flaws here and there but those mistake will easily be gone when the band gets a little flesh on their bones. This album will not be available for the world until the 29th of March but when it is released I highly suggest that you buy this album if you are a fan of symphonic power metal. This band has a bright future.
Songs worthy of recognition: Heaven’s Eyes, We Are Forever, One Hope of Light
Reviewed in “SEA OF TRANQUILITY” March 2013
Rating 4 out of 5!
Written by Scott Jessup
A Hero For The World is a stirring new melodic metal album, and as far as first outings go this band shows ample promise in both key areas of song writing and performances. They aren’t afraid to challenge themselves even including a ten minute plus slow and mighty closing metal track “One Hope Of Light”. So to their credit A Hero For The World were willing to put in the extra effort pushing themselves in order to give their debut its best shot at success with a robust collection of entertaining songs.
The songs on A Hero For The World flow well and are a satisfying combination of energized power tunes like “We Are Forever” and “Heaven’s Eyes”, mid paced likeable songs such as “Let It Go” and “Alive” and slower tunes “Forever Free” with the above mentioned closer. “Over Land And Sea” may only be a brief enchanting instrumental but I find it to be very agreeable addition as it establishes the musical foundations for following and also appealing song “A Quest For The Brave”.
A Hero For The World are following in the footsteps of so many popular and established similar metal bands such as Stratovarius and Avantasia, and who knows maybe one day this group will also build a considerable fan base of their own.
Reviewed in “STORMBRINGER” the Austrian Heavyzine, March 2013
Rating 4.5 out of 5!
Written by Christian Ulbrich originally in German
“Now it is finally time and A HERO FOR THE WORLD release their debut album under exactly the same name. One is anticipated Jacob Kaasgaard has a very special voice that is certainly not like any other, and which will certainly stand out among thousands. Everyone needs to see for himself whether any of expression suits his voice or not, I personally like its massive body. If you like well-arranged melodic metal with decent power who will not get around it, give the boys a chance, because a debut, the Swedes beat VERY impressive.
“We Are Forever” and “Eternal Shadows” offer at the outset decent up-tempo banging, the melodic content is naturally very high. Jacob Kaasgaard varies very much with his voice and uses the range of his vocal power of very willingly, sometimes maybe a TICK too much. Nevertheless, the whole thing really entertaining and also the nice arranged key melodies and crunchy guitar riffs wear quite help that “A Hero For The World” offers plenty of room for discovery.
“Free Forever” is a corny but very nice ballad that places also offers gentle female vocals, which increases the emotional significance of the song. Really good I like the seven-minute “Heaven’s Eyes”, which could be on no less than one of the older HELLOWEEN sheets and still impresses with an outstanding orchestral outro.
Particularly impressed’s me but most of all “End Of Time”, where with me already is the sole by the lovely intro creeps. The melodies sit straight to the point and the chorus turns out to be real catchy.
“One Hope of Light” may be a zehmminütiger long track, but here more elements from the album are united, that one has already heard. One could describe it as a sort of medley, the song is also developing its own unique charm. Parts of “A Quest For The Brave” and “Free Forever” are included here, which is the entire song very quiet and ballad. In particular, the acoustic middle part, which is umschmückt again of female vocals, I like it very well.
yet are A HERO FOR THE WORLD a secret, but if you able to do is to lie such a meaningful debut, then that should also be very soon bear fruit. Sure, sometimes the kitsch factor is extremely high, but the insanely great arrangements make up for it easily, since no one kitschy not been able to gain so much.
Personally, I am very surprised and the plate has one of the ten tracks are recorded absolutely no loss. It should be said that the beautiful artwork penned by Jobert Mello melds perfectly with the contents of the CD.
This (almost) everything is done correctly and so end up leaving a really perfect debut, which is with me will always find its way back into the ear canals. Small bands like this deserve to be supported, for how much they make from their modest means, so can some established combo look old. Thumbs up!”
Reviewed in “MY GLOBAL MIND” March 2013
Rating 9 out of 10!
Written by Travis
Metal albums can sometimes be used to draw on your negative emotions, which usually involves hammering you with intense riffs, vicious lyrics and an overall dark feeling. Well, what I’m reviewing today can do the exact opposite: Everything about it has such an overwhelmingly positive feeling to it, you can’t help but smile the whole time, even when the occasional technical flaw pops up. Based on that description, you would probably guess this is some form of epic power metal, and indeed that’s exactly what we have here. International band A Hero For The World, who consist of two members born in Sweden but now living in the Philippines, along with a member from Los Angeles, have certainly established their sound quite well on this self-titled debut, which contains power metal of the absolute cheesiest kind, yet it has a charm to it that makes it instantly lovable for any fan of the genre.
I’ll just let it out right away: Anyone scared off by this type of “flower metal” or whatever insulting term they want to use, may as well stop reading the review already, because this album is as light and as cheery as metal can possibly get. Everything from the keyboard sound, to the way choruses are sung and especially the lyrics, all combine to form something I know I could easily count on to cheer me up if I’m going through a bad day. But aside from that, this is a very keyboard heavy album, with an emphasis on melodies and catchy, triumphant choruses, though the guitar work is quite strong throughout. Most songs are very fast-paced, though there are a couple ballads as well, along with a brief instrumental to start the three part finale. The actual songwriting is pretty much perfect throughout, but interestingly I find the first half is dragged down by the occasional vocal misstep, while everything starting from “Alive” and through to the end is almost flawless.
There is a reason for that, which brings me to the vocals: Jacob Kaasgaard has a fairly typical voice for a power metal singer, which is to say he’s very high pitched and has a nice quality to his voice, but also a bit of an edge at times. Most of the time he sounds excellent, especially in the second half of the album, but most songs on the first half force him to sing in a higher key and that’s where the inconsistencies start to show up: His higher register is naturally a little bit irritating, but the worst of it comes during key changes at the end of some of the songs, most notably on “Eternal Shadows”. He seems to be a little too energetic, which causes him to lose control of his voice, so it gets very pitchy and occasionally hard to listen to. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen too often, and as I said above, he’s much more controlled in the later parts of the album, and when he does control himself he fits in great with the epic feel of the music. So perhaps my only advice would be to dial it back a bit next time.
Aside from that, while I know some will find this album too melodic and too cheesy, for my tastes it is absolutely fantastic, and even with the first five songs there’s very little I would want changed musically. The band comes roaring out of the gates with “We Are Forever”, which presents its chorus right at the start, letting you know you’re in for a ridiculous catchy and epic album. Some of Jacob’s pitch issues come out a bit in that song, but for the most part it’s a speedy and instantly engaging opening track, which is just what this type of album needs. My favorite song of the first half is “Free Forever”, a very nice ballad which introduces guest female vocalist Louiebeth Aratan, who also appears on the closing track. This song is an example of how great Jacob can be when he sings calmly, and the melodies are so beautiful, it’s a very easy song to get lost in. “Heaven Eye’s” is the only song here I’m not too impressed by, in part because it drags a bit at over 7 minutes, and also because Jacob is again a bit pitchy, but this time it’s for almost the whole song, where “Eternal Shadows” is actually very good aside from that one bad spots near the end.
Thankfully, once that song is over the second half of the album begins, and that’s where all the big highlights come. “Alive” is the slowest non-ballad here, but the chorus is fantastic and it’s from this song onwards where I really start to become more and more happy while listening, every time. It only gets better with “End Of Time”, the fastest and most epic song on the album, pretty much a power metal classic in the making, with an excellent opening riff, awesome keyboards during the verses, and even some great symphonic elements throughout, while the chorus is even more upbeat and simply unforgettable than on any of the other songs. I feel the last three songs flow together perfectly, as first we have a brief but very beautiful instrumental interlude in “Over Land And Sea”, and that connects nicely into “A Quest For The Brave”, and the main melody of that song feels like a prelude to the big 10 minute finale “One Hope Of Light”. Anyone hoping for a mammoth progressive power metal epic will be disappointed, as instead it’s an incredible 10 minute ballad, highlighted by the vocal interplay between Jacob and Louiebeth, with one singing the main chorus while the other repeats the chorus from “Free Forever”, all the while in the background the music also turns into a call back of that aforementioned song, resulting in one breathtaking moment to end the album with. The early parts of the song are also very memorable, with an excellent build up leading to the spectacular end sequence.
I have no doubt there will be many metal fans who listen to one song and find themselves instantly turned off by what they hear, but aside from the occasional vocal failing, “A Hero For The World” is one of the best album’s I’ve heard recently for turning a frown into a smile, and for me that’s the kind of album I’ll always have need of. Obviously, anyone who loves power metal of the lightest and most melodic variety is highly recommended to check this album out, as well as any fan of the genre who can handle all the epic choruses and all the cheesiness.
Reviewed in “ROCKENCUBA” March 2013
Written by Juan Raul originally in Spanish
This eponymous debut album serves as an introduction to “society” in this curious band practicing a kind of melodic power metal-tinged epic, the production of the album is very good, but this improved well, I love the sound of the presence and battery, the double bass are hammers, I must say the first listen to what I remembered most was to Stratovarius, Helloween some or Gamma Ray, are on a single line but have a melodic side but could also remind Avantasia or Pink Cream 69 mention a couple of names.
Current sound without forgetting the classic parameters of power metal, I like the singer’s voice, risks and does it very well, there are good compositions, do not skimp on good guitar solos, keyboards are also present along the 10 songs that make this album, not the classic power metal band of rides and fixed gear tunes, work songs and manage to impart the most dynamic enough to have a hook.
There are good songs as the original “We Are Forever” and the raucous “Heaven’s Eyes”, “Forever Free” with the voices of female singer cited Louiebeth Aratan, this sounds like something Journey, “Let It Go” has very good guitars, beautiful instrumental “Over Land And Sea” Too bad it’s so short, only 1:30 minutes, with a heavy load of keyboards, which gives way to something more progressive issue yet epic as “A Quest For The Brave” to close the album’s longest track “One Hope Of Light”, a very complete composition where the band let their talent flow.
It is a good first step, it shows that they are very good musicians, so hopefully this is the beginning of a great career for A Hero For The World, a band that has a lot to say.
Reviewed in “MetalFinal Ene” February 2013
Rating 5 out of 5!
“Don’t miss this spectacular debut with an awesome force, and the breath of fresh air that contribute to True Metal”