Dragony – Viribus Unitis

Roughly in November 2019 I clicked a link from the Austrian symphonic power metal band Dragony and contributed to the recording of the upcoming album. A lot of things happened since then – In July 2020 they signed with Napalm Records – well deserved! Throughout the campaign they announced a few special guests, such as Alessia Scoletti from Temperance, Georg Neuhauser from Serenity and Michele Guaitoli from Visions of Atlantis.

In November 2020 they finally announced the concept of the album now given the name “Viribus Unitis” – telling the tale of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, but apparently throwing in a few extra bits here and there with alternate time lines as well as tributes to video games. All in all, the album serves as a concept album something Dragony hasn’t quite dealt with since their debut album “Legends”, making this album coming back to the roots while still keeping the now ever so established Dragony sound. (To read full synopsis of the album, I’ll direct you here) A couple of songs has been written together with Tommy Johansson and Tomas Svedin (“Gods of War”) as well as Michele Guaitoli (“Love You To Death”)

The album starts off with an excerpt from a classical piece known as “The Blue Danube” (on this album referred to ‘On The Blue Danube’) only to explode in a rather aggressive opening song in ”Gods of War”, which serves as an excellent opener and bringing the thoughts immediately back to the first album of theirs, ”Legends” which much like this one is a conceptual rock opera kind of album.

Instantly, it’s followed by yet another epic intro which launches into “Love You to Death”, which directly became my own personal favorite and stayed so throughout the album. The epic intro, the adventorus verses , the massive choruses which makes this song into a pure battlehymn, despite the relatively dark lyrical theme before just casually ending with epicness. Even so, the next song in line falls under what I consider very typical Dragony trademarks musically.

This album is however a bit of a moodswinger as we move from happier cheerful anthems to a tune of a bit more darker nature, “Darkness Within”. While the song itself is actually really good, one of my tops of the album – I can’t help but to think of HammerFall upon hearing the arrangement of the song, more specifically “At The End of the Rainbow” from “Legacy of Kings”, taking some interesting turns in solos and bridges, especially the solos going all over the place, quite literally.

And from the dark place back into the typical Dragony sound of symphonic power metal in the “A.E.I.O.U”, which features Georg Neuhauser from Serenity on vocals, creating quite a harmony together with Siegfried. The song itself is one another of these battle hymns that we’ve come to be quite familiar on this album. Quite easily one of the better tracks on the album.

The title track, “Viribus Unitis” itself probably holds one of the biggest epic elements of the album, as far as beginning of the song and verses goes, and perhaps even more so in the chorus. I also adore the Alice in Wonderland references in the lyrics. It’s the perfect title track, if you ask me.

Another interesting song comes along as we start off with bag pipes – because why not at this point? We just had a song about turning a castle into a flying one. And then, as if it wasn’t odd enough, we are now throwing in a typical 80’s heartthrob in “Made of Metal (Cyberpunk Joseph)”. I’ll admit that these songs falls a bit flat for me in comparison to the other songs.

After these little… interesting sidetracks, we find ourselves back in the battle hymns as “Battle Royale” takes place with pretty much the big culmination of the album. It is a fine mix of everything that has already gone down on this album, an album that got more and more spaced out as the album went on – this is not a bad thing though. It’s made me smile quite a lot throughout the listen. Lastly, we are finding ourselves with “Legends Never Die” which gives us a bit of everything – quite a bit of techno blended with some well-crafted metal inbetween.

Something that has been very clear on this album and something I personally appreciate a lot and keep the album interesting is in all the details. There hasn’t been a single song that, despite being more or less a personal favorite of mine, hasn’t had at least some kind of effect that has made me go hah? What? Be it lyrical absurdum – Rooted in the history of what went down in the Habsburg monarchy, but with the imagination of Siegfried to take it a few steps further makes for another interesting and to say the least, entertaining and hilarious side of the album – to surprise additions such as bagpipes, techno fillers and straight down 80’s sounds in the midst of epic symphonic melodies.

All I can say is YES. I’ve waited a relatively long time for this album, and every single second spent waiting was well worth it. This is easily the best work to date from Dragony and I urge EVERYONE to pick this one up. I don’t often recommend people to buy a specific album, but with this one.. I will. It’s worth every cent. Link is under the cover.

// Sara

Napalm Records

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