The Empires of the Worlds

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England's Biomechanical are unapologetic purveyors of '80s-style power metal, the sort of music that serves primarily as a showcase for the singer's castrato wail (in fact, John K sounds startlingly similar to Judas Priest's Rob Halford at the top of his range) and the guitarists' showoff demonstrations of their ability to play extremely tricky riffs very, very fast indeed. In 1984, this lot would be just another set of Yngwie Malmsteen disciples, but in 2005, they're like the metal equivalent of the Strokes or Yeah Yeah Yeahs: the fact that they're tackling what had been such a completely unfashionable sound makes them, perversely, incredibly cool. "Relinquished Destiny" and "Long Time Dead" even skirt close to power ballad territory, but that's nothing compared to the closing four-part mini-opera "Absolution," which brings in the massed orchestral voices and symphonic synthesizers for a full-on 12-minute re-creation of the likes of QueensrĂ¿che. All hail the retro-metal kings and go out in search for some ripped acid-washed jeans and a billowy Union Jack sleeveless T-shirt.

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