I'm a sucker for power metal. Anyone who knows me knows that I go for anything with fast galloping rhythms and epic song structures and lyrics about wizards and slaying dragons and so on. I'm under no illusions, I know that the genre is a little thin these days and that the resurgence of it several years ago is well on the wane. Still, thanks to the internet and the ability to reach people around the world, many power metal bands, even ones that have been around for twenty years like Italy's Heimdall, are able to keep pushing forward well past their natural shelf life.

Heimdall play a slightly more uptempo brand of power metal that fits somewhere in between the medium tempos of Firewind and newer Stratovarius and the slightly faster stylings of Galloglass and Wuthering Heights. There is a slight neo-classical influence in some of the soloing and in the choral passages which are reminiscent of something Luca Turilli would compose. This concept album- of course it's a concept album, it's power metal- is "based on the epic masterpiece by Virgil, consisting of 13 tracks that will take the listener on an epic journey from the fall of Troy to the birth of the new State that later became Rome."

While Aeneid is executed fairly well, it still doesn't reach out and grab me. Perhaps it's just that, as I mentioned above, that power metal as a genre has grown a bit redundant and that for all of Heimdall's effort, this has been heard before. It can be tough to push boundaries in a style of music where doing so puts you in a totally different subgenre. I will say that I enjoy the slightly more aggressive sound the band has as opposed to the more flowery type of power metal, but I don't think they went aggressive enough. It still sounds a bit restrained.

The first four songs- well, three including the Prologue, are easily the best on Aeneid. The folk-inspired ballad Waiting For the Dawn is, in my opinion, the best song on the record. Yes, I am old, I still say 'record'. It is there where they separate themselves from the typical power metal style of ballad and create something atmospheric and dreamy. Vocalist Gandolfo Ferro's voice works better here than it does in heavier songs. There are also some folk insturments sprinkled in, a violin there, a mandolin here, but it's very gentle and it makes some of the songs pop nicely. On the flip side, the keyboards are annoyingly heavy-handed at times and the type of sound used sounds straight out of the 80's.

Overall I was left with a sense of apathy regarding this. There wasn't much that reached out to me, but I can't say it's bad. The recording, the production, the execution, it all fits, but with a few exceptions it sounds like power metal by the numbers to me, and after 30 years of listening to power metal I just need to see a bit more innovation and, frankly, a bit more balls.