Holy Knights started playing the power metal game back in 1998 and eventually released an album in 2002 that was, until now, the band's only full-length release. These Italians mutually departed after "Gate Through the Past" had its day, never a huge project that held the accountability as genetic partners and fellow countrymen Rhapsody of Fire or Fairyland. Given that necromancy has become a core part of a metalhead's journey, Holy Knights returned ten years after their debut with "Between Daylight and Pain." The record merely expands on the fundamentals of this bombastic, exploding picture of power metal using much of the magic we've come to expect from their aforementioned competition and counterparts, perhaps both a strength and weakness of Holy Knights’ return.
"Between Daylight and Pain" pours all the succulent cheese you can muster and floors you in a fiasco deeply dependent on hyperactive riffs as other instruments—including the sparkling keys power metal fans gush over—match the predetermined pace. Dario Di Matteo's vocals are typical for this kind of thing, and the combined efforts of these knights create eight anthems of poignant, passable power metal usually blasting by the universe, totally fast and without concern. And the secondary components are all in place, including catchy choruses, softer instrumental sections, and so on. As you see, I'm not horribly enthusiastic about "Between Daylight and Pain." Yea, it's definitely a listenable effort and I typically enjoy a release as such like an obese kid balls-deep in a pit of cinnamon rolls, but it has its flaws. It’s a power metal album, but not much more.
Most of the songs aren't necessarily bad, yet none of them are blatantly excellent. The only exception happens to be the opening "Mistery," which fires rifling riffs and hammering drums at sonic speeds, and the chorus is jovial and addictive. "11 September" and "Beyond the Mist" are quite memorable as well despite failing to achieve the obvious mastery showcased on the album's opening chapter, but both anthems prove Holy Knights can act emotive, majestic, aggressive and charming. However, I find myself scathing "The Turning to the Madness," which acts horribly as a closing theme; the song itself is a bunch of orchestral arrangements and lame vocals thrown over tame guitar work, with no percussion at all or any of the riveting features in sight. Fantastic way to lifelessly waste six minutes. "Wasted Time" slumps down a bit as well, mainly because the whole faux-ballad postulate looks tedious and misplaced.
I feel “Between Daylight and Pain” gradually decreases as it marches on, beginning with a stellar opening staple, and then churning out dull, counterproductive songs which completely derail what made its introduction so enjoyable. So, Holy Knights’ return to the power metal landscape makes a sizeable impact of sorts, although it seems the band was truly capable of so much more. Some of the exterior qualities of the album—the production, mixing, arrangements, etc.—are admirable, but the compositions could use a little work, especially the ending numbers. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, a decade under the sheets would make anyone a bit rusty. Maybe something to investigate if you need Rhapsody of Fire or Fairyland like a junkie on smack, but otherwise proceed with caution. Maybe you'll enjoy it, perhaps not. That’s all on you.