Incredible album! Unbelievable melodies that stick in your memory and the parade of amazing songs is seemingly endless on this first offering by The Gathering of Kings! This is the epitome of retro AOR/pompous melodic rock as Victor Olsson envisioned it and the result is nothing less than stellar. And all these come together with a company of well-respected musicians like Bjorn Strid (Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra), Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind, Spiritual Beggars), Rick Altzi (Masterplan, At Vance), Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.), Chris Laney (Pretty Maids) etc. But trust me when I say this; all those names are not what really matters. What’s more important on “First Mission” are the brilliant compositions and the flawless performance in the studio which makes this album one of the best records in 2019…for sure!

Needless to say that there is a clear retro feeling everywhere on the album with the 80s being on the forefront especially due to the excessive use of keyboards. For instance the intro of “Forever And A Days” has a lot in common with the classic “Ask The Lonely” by Journey. Again, the pompous atmosphere combined with an overall optimistic sonic aura brings in mind the aesthetic of Magnum through the prism of the current Scandinavian scene of the 00s.

Talk is cheap when the final result is so impressive! In a time and age when bands like The Night Flight Orchestra and Beast in Black pay tribute to the mighty 70s and 80s, Gathering of Kings come to add their piece of work on this stellar path. The first mission was accomplished. Hopefully there will be soon another one…

Highlight: Flashy cover artwork in the vein of Yes and Asia.