New Jersey power metallers Everdawn – formerly the artists known as the somewhat-maligned Midnight Eternal, if that rings any bells – are here with their first album under this particular banner, and very pleasing it is too.

Although the band has been lumped in with the symphonic metal end of the metal spectrum, there’s not a great deal of orchestration in the general sense of the term – Boris Zaks‘ keys tend to augment and adorn rather than direct proceedings, for a start, which leaves the band generally heading in a more Delain-styled direction than say, Epica.

That’s right, Everdawn have a female singer! And, in the shape of Alina Gavrilenko, they have a rather fine one, capable of the usual soprano warblings yet, you suspect, possessing a real power to her vocals that allows her to slot in with the riffier material rather than just screeching in fragile fashion over the top. So, heavy, double-bass powered power rockers like Lucid Dream (which actually reminded me of Austria’s Edenbridge) hold no fears for this gal, who really could be one of the vocal finds of the year if this album is anything to go by.

After a slight misstep with opener Ghost Shadow Requiem, which sounds strangely like Nightwish attempting to write a theme tune for a seventies sports-based gameshow, the band hit their stride rapidly and don’t look back for the rest of the album;  Your Majesty Sadness is a pomped up number that features Therion/Candlemass alumnus Thomas Vikstrom in duet with Gavrilenko, but for my money the band don’t really need any celebrity intervention to help capture the hearts and minds of listeners when they have material as good as Infinity Divine and Heart of a Lion up their sleeves…

Guitarist Richard Fischer adds some nice clean vocals – and some fine lead work, too, especially on penultimate track Rider of the Storm – and of course bass player Mike LePond (yes, THAT Mike LePond) never puts a foot wrong, although he’s sometimes a little buried in the mix for my taste; his partnership with drummer Dan Prestup is the rock on which Everdawn flourishes, and it would be nice to hear him given a leg-up sonically, as it were. But that really is my only quibble concerning this album, which has quickly cemented itself into my computer and looks like being a listening favourite for the forseeable future.

Cleopatra releases on February 5th.