Heir Apparent - Graceful Inheritance (1986)
A mesmerizing album crafted with intense care and attention to detail. Every single instrument is easily audible, and each are following their own patterns, adding to the main mix without trailing mindlessly behind a set melody or rhythm. While the music isn’t incredibly technical, it is definitely rather progressive, and include a lot of changing qualities that sustain interest throughout the 13 track album (that was A LOT of songs for a metal band in ’86.)
I don’t agree with the Power Metal label on this one, as only the speedy Nightmare has the chops to back that title up. However, it’s very evident this album fosters a genuine medieval feel to it, from the lush but cheesy keys down to the slow gallop riffs that certainly would be Power Metal if played at double speed. It’s amazing how melodic this album is, and sounds a lot like what Savatage would later become (Savatage themselves popularized the whole piano and operatic elements in metal, but these guys were doing it way earlier!).
Overall, a fantastically complete package with no weak points, plenty of variety and precise craftsmanship.