In Europe, there appears to be a large group of musicians who were not affected in the slightest by either the grunge or punk movements of the '90s. For them, Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche continued to rule the world throughout the '90s (an era where both aforementioned bands appeared to have fallen off the face of the earth) and up to the present day. Case in point, Finland's Northern Kings, and their 2008 release, Reborn. Indulging in the same bombastic/theatrical/symphonic sound that groups like Kamelot specialize in, Northern Kings are comprised of musicians from other renowned metal bands from the area -- Jarkko Ahola from Teräsbetoni, Marco Hietala from Nightwish and Tarot, Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica, and Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto from Charon. But what sets Reborn apart from all the rest of the suddenly similar-sounding Euro bands is that the album is comprised entirely of metallic readings of past pop hits (from the '70s, '80s, and '90s). Picture your typical symphonic metal band fronted by a Geoff Tate-esque singer, and you know what's in store for you on covers of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," and Cutting Crew's "I Just Died in Your Arms." With Reborn, Northern Kings may have just created a new bold musical subgenre -- karaoke metal.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato