Starchild is a newer melodic heavy metal/power metal band out of Germany that is somewhat of a supergroup. Jens Becker and Michael Ehré from Grave Digger and Metalium respectively are featured here, and while the remaining musicians are relatively lesser known, they have played in their share of bands as well. The good thing about starting out with some experienced musicians is that this is a very professional debut. Regardless of one’s thoughts on the music or song quality itself, it’s hard to deny that it’s a great sounding album. The only thing that is hard to hear on this album is the violin, which is pretty much non-existent. Otherwise, everything sounds great, especially the guitars when they harmonize riffs, such as in “Thief of the Crown” and “Starchild”.
Musically, Starchild resembles Unisonic for the majority of this album, but with a slightly more metal edge. The songs tend to be power/heavy metal, but with some more AOR and rock melodies thrown in at times. There isn’t anything as cringy or annoying as a couple of the melodies that were present on Unisonic’s debut, which makes “Starchild” a much easier listen. What makes the album a hard listen is how long it is. Even though there are no bad songs, hearing 13 consecutive songs that are all relatively similar in style over the course of an hour is pretty taxing. As I listen to the album and look at the tracklisting, I can’t find a song I would necessarily cut out though. There are some stronger cuts, but not really any weaker ones. Even the slower songs like "Forever" manage to be pretty interesting.
Halfway through the album there is a semi-ballad duet with Michael Kiske. This fact alone elevates the quality of this track. Kiske has one of, if the not the, most impressive vocals in all of power metal. Surprisingly, singer Sandro Giampietro has a similar voice, so when they trade off vocals in the song things don’t sound too strange or out of place. “Black & White Forever” also really picks up towards the end, with some great guitar work, and while I have yet to hear the new Unisonic record, it would be great if this was the direction it took. In fact, this is the primary differentiator between the two bands: the consistent high quality of the guitar work on “Starchild”. Every song has a good riff, or some impressive shredding to offer. Another great element of this album is the consistently catchy choruses. Songs like "It's My Race" and "Morningstar" have incredible choruses, and are sure to creep into your head often. Ultimately, if “Starchild” were more concise, it would be a top-tier metal release for 2014. For now, it certainly is enjoyable, just far too much material.
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"It's My Race"
"Still My Planet"
"Black & White Forever"
3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott