Album review: ROYAL QUEST – The Tale Of Man

ROYAL QUEST – The Tale Of Man

Self Release ( Release date 22.05.15)

This concept album is the brain child of guitarist and vocalist Yiannis Androulakakis and bass player Dennis Bekatoros and has been many years in the making. The two got together in 1999 and planned a project based on the idea of the ‘Eternal Champion’, a character created by Michael Moorcroft. The writing was completed over the next four years but the recording process proved more problematic with a couple of failed attempts and the album is only now seeing the light of day.

It has obviously been a labour of love for Androulakakis who has dedicated a big chunk of his life to getting the final product together as well as recording, producing and mixing the album himself. He did draft in a few guest musicians on vocals and violin but the rest is 100% Yiannis.

The album is overblown symphonic metal with each song linked in the story of ‘The Tale Of Man’. Yiannis and the guest vocalists each represent a character in the story and the lyrics provide a narrative running throughout each track.

Androulakakis is a talented musician and his playing throughout is highly polished but as with other projects of this nature I have listened to, it all sounds a bit disjointed and soulless. When you have one man in a studio playing all the instruments, multi tracking and overdubbing all on his own there is a lack of a spark which you get with a band project. A good example of this is the instrumental ‘Days Of War’ which shows off Yiannis’ playing prowess well but it sounds as if it was all recorded in sections and spliced together, which it most probably was to be fair.

Vocalist Angeliki Frangos plays the part of Cassandra and takes lead vocal on several tracks. She has a high, operatic style which does suit the symphonic rock but is a bit weak at times. The two male vocalists, Vasilis Axiotis and Basil, both have good voices and do make a better fist of things as ‘Lord Of Law’ and ‘Man’.

This has been an album 16 years in the making and it is a good effort, if you like a bit of an epic tale set to a power metal soundtrack you could do worse. For me though it does miss the mark mainly due to the fact that it sounds like a project which has taken 16 years to come to fruition, a bit tired and laboured rather than fresh and vibrant. Top marks to Yiannis Androulakakis for his musicianship and tenacity to finally fulfil his dream.  ***

Review by David Wilson

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