Music making is a really tough gig. You need a lot of elements. Things like a creative mind for music. The passion and drive to make something come to life. You need to be full of imagination and huge ideas. With all the right things and some hard work, you get something like what L-Train has just made. OH MY CELESTIA PURE METAL GOODNESS!
(continued below the break)
The really enjoyable thing about being a fan of someone’s work is listening to them evolve and grow with their work. The Pillars of Equestria, L-Trains 3rd highly anticipated symphonic metal opera, is without a doubt a huge step in that growth. Our fandom has been drooling for a new installment, like spike wanting to eat a rare gemstone. If you are new to L-Train’s work, Then please check out Moonrise and Fall of an Empire. Just insanely good pieces of music in their own respects. Three years, and it was so worth the wait. Evolution would be a great theme when coming to this album. L-train has come back with even biggest cast of talented singers and musicians to give this album its own identity from its past two installments. That is not easy to do!. The story the music is created around and based on the lore of Star Swirl and The Pillars. Stygian and the other pillars are making their cases to persuade Star Swirl to help them in combating the Sirens. Each of the tracks is their stories told in such a creative way! Each of there songs is a different style of Heavy Metal. It’s all symphonic metal but with added flavors into each character’s track!.
T-train really has grown himself over the years. His elite guitar work he is so well known for in this fandom returns even better, that was a given. What shines for me is his talent as a composer, producer and arranger has grown massively since his 2016 masterpiece Fall of an Empire. Each of the tracks is done to fit each of the character’s stories and personality. Skybolt put together the lyrics and story to aid with that. As you listen. Each style of metal fits the characters so well. It goes with the narrative so well you get into each character. L-Train took some risks in this album and it worked, it worked amazingly. He made me a metalhead and as a brony cry so much joy. I don’t want to give a lot away. But let’s have a look.
The music itself is broken down like this.
The Heroes I Seek: Classic Symphonic metal. Great opening, just like the other two operas. Stygain tells his tale to the other four pillars about why he needs their help. 4everfreebrony just KILLS it with his voice. It’s so pure and powerful. L-Train hits you in the face with his guitar work and a killer solo. It is to be noted that throughout this whole album, he’s also doing things like the drums, bass, and orchestral arrangements. There is a lot of intricate little things like these and the beautiful choir throughout this entire album that makes the big things work.
All From Hope: Tunisian progressive metal. Somnambula’s track is an intriguing one. A style of metal I didn’t know of. That fits her character so well. ShadowSprite sings with such talent to bring her character to life with that accent. The melodies are hard but with a soothing atmospheric presence to it. We also get an awesome metal guitar solo from both L-train and 4everfreebrony. Are you surprised 4everfree can do metal guitar? I’m not. And it’s great. An uplifting and powerful track that gives you hope and trust.
With Great Strength: A Folk metal track of surprises. This track features one of my highlights of this opera. A pleasant instrument duet of mandolin and violin courtesy of 4everfreebrony and Koron Korak! This track is such a wonderful mix of hard metal and folk music that makes you want to dance and thrash around, Very dramatic and told by the singing voice of Rockhoof, Skybolt! When I talk about the creative use of music making, this is one of those tracks! It gives you courage!
Healin’ Brew: Jazz Big Band Metal. The most unique track on this album that has NO business working by musical logic. Jazz and Big Band together with heavy metal, HOW CAN THIS WORK! Complete with jazz trumpet and saxophone solos courtesy of TheMusicReborn and Zephysonas. A jazz guitar solo by L-train! And all the elements of what swing music is. Give credit to L-trains talent as a composer. It works! It’s so ambitious, different and it’s wonderful! The melodies are full-blown big swing music with just the right balance of hardcore metal guitar. This is the embodiment of how creative symphonic metal can be. Oh, another added surprise is the singing role of Mage Meadowbrook. The analysis communities Aramau the fiery secretary has a set of pipes. Now I didn’t know she could sing until now. So finding this out actually made the track better for me. her voice was a nice choice for this role
Brave Enough: Classic British Metal. This track is good old fashioned heavy metal. The lyrics, the guitars, the drums, the furious pace of this track. it does remind me of why I love power metal so much. Francis Vace just blows it out of the water with his performance as Flash Magnus! Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, how about some lightning fast guitar solos from L-Train and Osoch, of whom I am quickly becoming a fan. Headbanging fun with a little sprinkle at Flash Magnus’s humor.
True Beauty: Classic Metal/Rock ballad. Mistmanes track is simply gorgeous. Its a track that reminds of me of Guns ‘n’ Roses November Rain. A rock ballad that is soft but also heavy. Soft tone lyrics to this old school heavy rock. Aria Diamond does a wonderful job with her voice speaking Mistmanes story of pure beauty. L-trains solo on the track is indeed a throwback to the classic guitar solo’s known in those amazing rock ballads of bands of the ’70s and ’80s. Its the prettiest track on this album
Forged as One: A Epic Power/Symphonic Metal Hybrid. The single best track and the epic finale of this opera. Everything comes together. TheMusicReborn opens the track with another trumpet solo that leads into the combos of my two favorite genres of metal. Power and Symphonic. This also features a just epic singing duel. Between 4everfreebrony and the singing voice of Star Swirl the Bearded DaWillstanator! I swear to you I had tears in my eyes. My buddy Will has gotten even better with his voice and this single moment these two steal the show in this track. It’s a real treat hearing just how good 4evers voice really was! The other vocalist brings it in as well in the last moment to convince the sorcerer to join them in a last act of desperation. The music in this track will give you chills. It’s so over the top epic you will be singing along with the same conviction. I don’t have much more to say about this track. Everyone brought their best in this track.
It was well worth the wait. The only real thing I can say that it was overall just a unique hodgepodge of different forms of metal to tell a great story. I would highly recommend this album to anyone in the fandom who wants to try listening to heavy metal. It’s an epic masterpiece of work. But as always This Dragon Pony asks you to judge for yourself.
(If your interested in any of the guest musicians, vocalist, or artist’s, their links are all in the descriptions of the album.)