We choose to go to the moon.

-- Aquilla --

Stijn Daneels

Album genres:
heavy metal
Album artists:
Pete Slammer Drums
Blash Raven Vocals
Hippie Banzai Bass
Kris Invader Lead guitars
Chris Scanner Rhythm guitars

Review written by David Hardy.

Dear friends, I've been listening to this album for almost a week now and... frankly I have to start with a little warning. Chances are my review here won’t be totally objective because this particular album has completely put me back to the time that I was discovering heavy metal! And it feels great to listen to something new in a style that made me the metalhead I am today!


Aquilla’s debut album “Mankind’s Odyssey” starts with an intro monologue... which puts you in the right mood with the narrator telling the story of mankind leaving Earth in search of a new planet to settle. A short little aperitif  is always good and it’s good that the album’s real starter, “Arrival” didn’t take long to arrive.

And “Arrival” is a song that has pretty much everything that I want to hear in an old-school heavy metal act. Energetic beats, soaring guitar solos, operatic vocals, catchy lyrics and a more than solid pacing. In other words, nothing is missing in terms of composition, rhythm, technicality, sound, everything is totally on point! In fact, with this particular song alone you already get the impression that Aquilla’s a group of guys who have known each other for a long time and that they are well-tuned to one another! From the beginning, you feel that there is no room for amateurism, and even more so when you move forward in this “Mankind’s Odyssey” album, wherein, I'll tell you right away, at each track I said to myself "I like this track more than the previous one"... and then when I listen to it again, I said the same thing again. So yeah, never a dull moment here in Aquilla’s debut album.

Next up is “Pathfinder,” after an iconic catchphrase from 1980s icon Robocop the song explodes with screaming vocals and crazy riffs a fast and brilliant song that stays in your head and it fills me, an old-school headbanger, with pure happiness. Then comes “Scarlet Skies,” a slower and overall less exceptional a track but it doesn’t bore at all. It’s a joyful and classic 80s rock tune and is therefore clearly necessary to have a rhythm in the album. We will retain the solo. The next tune, "The Awakening" has some hints of the Rolling Stones’ iconic tune "Paint It Black" but far enough away that it’s creamy. Once again the song is so well constructed that it never bores!  At times the speed goes up or goes down, at times it’s more powerful and at other times it’s more melodic... the song has everything for us to keep on listening from beginning to end, all 6 minutes long! In fact, ... I'm more worried about whether Aquilla can deliver a technical and fast track without failing ... wondering if they will last until the end.

"Rapt in Darkness" is an example of what I said at the end of the previous paragraph, the song starts off with some menacing samples and then we slide to super melodic with a vocalist who shows that he is a talented singer and who shows that he can do more than two notes and that his range is really perfect for metal. Maybe too perfect? In any case, the rough energy and technical finesse of this particular track gives it a necessary and very welcome relief to this “Mankind’s Odyssey” album.

"Intersection" is the track that makes me feel bad about vocalist Blash Raven. It's probably a very personal opinion but, as I said above, he has a melodic and flexible voice... which makes that for me, in this track in particular, his bursts into head voice as in the 1:18 minute mark are too ... smooth, not rough enough to be integrated in a metal song. Mind you, that's fair, it would be great for a Bee Gees song, but in metal it's too clean. Probably that’s the downside of having a voice you can control so perfectly! It's very special when you hear him in full voice and he suddenly switches to head voice.

Next up is "Saviors of the universe.” What I retain from this song, without a doubt, are the two guitar parts: the first one at 2:40, which has the necessary effect that puts the song in the right place and prepares the second part wonderfully. The solo guitar part between 3:32 and 3:59 prepares for the third part and it all shows that even in the parts that could be considered "filler" Aquilla does manage to give a sense, an atmosphere and a style totally unstoppable. "New Dawn of Evadera" is the typical 1980s low budget sci-fi movie closing credits track! Vintage synth sounds reminiscent of that time period’s style all wrapped up and ready to be served for the good cause! Seriously, if you would have heard it in the soundtrack of a "Stranger thing" you would have found it perfectly normal! While totally different compared to the other tracks, this ending tune does perfectly fit with the rest of the album because it adds to the cohesion and the purpose. It just shows that Aquilla is a band that has understood everything about sci-fi themed heavy metal and that they are capable of much more! Very clever to put this particular track as an outro!

"Zero" is more of a bonus track, a bit like a "buy 9 tracks, get a 10th track for free". It's actually a re-recorded version of a track from their 2017 EP "The Day we left earth", but in a 2021 version. You can understand why they did it again when you hear the difference in recording/mastering between the 2017 and 2021 version.


A must have album if you like old-school sci-fi themed metal! So why do I say that? What do we ask from music? To make us travel, that we don't get bored, that we have fun, and here, it's really the case! You really have to see this album as one of the rare albums that is really designed to be listened to in its entirety, a bit like a movie with its many different scenes! There’s rhythm, energy, calmer moments warming up towards the superb upswings. It has everything to keep the spectator on the edge of his/her seat from the beginning to the end. But, better than that, we want more! This is not the kind of album that you listen to once and leave in the glove compartment until you sell the car! Quite the contrary! An album full of maturity, sewn with golden thread from the beginning to the end at all levels! Frankly, the only drawback, but it remains very personal, is the "too" mastered and harmonious flights of the singer at certain moments (not all the time). ... Seriously, to find a downside on this kind of detail, you really have to want to look for the little tidbits! Highly recommended!