Power Metal

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Power Metal is one of the sub-genres of heavy metal music that first appeared during the 1980's, drawing influence from traditional heavy metal, especially the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and speed metal. The term power metal actually refers to two different but closely related metal styles, nowadays known as US/American Power Metal (USPM) and European Power Metal (or Melodic Power Metal), named after the geographic regions in which the styles originated. Artists from either place are not tied down to playing that particular kind of power metal of course, such as the US band Kamelot who play the European style, while there are also artists from other countries who play power metal such as Brazil's Angra and Japan's Galneryus. These days power metal bands come from many places and have many different styles, documented further on. This page primarily deals with the European brand of power metal, with USPM placed under its own child sub-genre.

European Power Metal

Though it developed a little later than USPM, in the late 1980's, specifically Germany, the European, melodic power metal sound is no doubt what most first think of when the term power metal is mentioned. Indeed it is more distinct in sound than USPM, but features the same basic influences, with the key difference to USPM being that European power metal draws more heavily on the speed metal influences rather than traditional heavy metal ones. Indeed in the late 1980's power metal was instead referred to as melodic speed metal.

European power metal is widely credited to have been started by Germany's Helloween in 1987 with the release of their Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I album. Prior to that, Helloween had been a speed metal band. Blind Guardian, another popular German power metal act, had similar roots while other bands such as Grave Digger started more in the traditional heavy metal vein. Others like Running Wild blended both before becoming power metal bands later in their careers. Compared to USPM European power metal acts often feature keyboards, catchy lyrics and are generally less hard hitting, though the German scene is quite notable for its additional heaviness. Popular power metal acts from other countries include Italy's Rhapsody of Fire, Finland's Stratovarius and Sweden's Sabaton.

Sub-genres of Power Metal

Aside from the standard USPM and European power metal styles, there are a number of different sub-genres, or hybrid genres in some cases, of power metal that have since developed.

Symphonic Power Metal: A style of power metal typically only applicable to the European sound, symphonic power metal increases the use of keyboards to create a symphonic backing, drawing on classical music. The use of symphonic elements in such bands can vary greatly with some artists using them as a main element of their sound, such as Rhapsody of Fire, while some merely use symphonic elements to flavour their music, such as Avantasia. Symphonic power metal releases are always placed under power metal on MMA.

Heavy Power Metal: Not to be confused with USPM, which is closer to traditional heavy metal to begin with, this refers to a hybrid of European power metal with traditional heavy metal. Bands are typically less speed orientated than pure melodic power metal acts. HammerFall is a heavy power metal act from Sweden while Nightmare are from France. Some artists which fall into this category featured a harder hitting, more aggressive sound, such as Grave Digger of Germany, but are still considered to belong to the European power metal genre rather than USPM. They are included under power metal on MMA, although some such artists have also made albums more directly rooted in traditional heavy metal and have those tagged accordingly. Some of the older heavy power metal acts, including Grave Digger and Nightmare, started as heavy metal acts before adding power metal into their sounds later in their careers.

Folk Power Metal: The folk metal as a genre can take its metal elements from almost any other metal genre going, including power metal. Elvenking and Falconer are folk power metal bands. They are typically included under folk metal on MMA, but with cases such as Falconer where folk influences are normally minimal per album, they are included under power metal instead. Additionally some power metal artists, especially Blind Guardian but also Grave Digger, have utilised folk influences in their music.

Power-Thrash: A hybrid of power metal and thrash metal, which can be considered sister genres due to both evolving from speed metal. The so called blue collar USPM can also be considered to be power-thrash but the term typically refers to European power metal mixed with thrash metal, although the early work of Iced Earth is considered to be power-thrash. The mix of elements can vary even within the same artist with some being primarily power metal and others primarily thrash metal. As well as Iced Earth, Dark Empire and Paradox have also released power-thrash albums, while some power metal bands have included thrash metal elements in their sound in smaller amounts, such as Seven Kingdoms and Persuader. Power-thrash artists are treated on a case by case basis on MMA, for example Tales of the Weird (2012) by Paradox is placed under thrash metal, but The Fateful dark (2014) by Savage Messiah is placed under power metal.

Progressive Power Metal: Drawing influences from progressive rock and metal music as well as power metal of either the European or US variety, these acts are typically included under power metal on MMA, such as Pyramaze and Kamelot. The exception is when an artist’s progressive influences become the most recognisable thing about their sound. Illusion Suite is an example of such a progressive power metal act. Vandroya and Wuthering Heights are progressive power metal bands, the latter of which also being classifiable under folk power metal.

Neo-classical Power Metal: Melodic power metal that uses neo-classical guitar playing for its lead guitar parts. Magic Kingdom and Concerto Moon are neo-classical power metal acts, while other power metal acts such as Amberian Dawn and At Vance have incorporated aspects of neo-classical metal into their sounds. As there is no neo-classical metal sub on MMA all such acts are placed under power metal by default, while non-power metal based neo-classical acts are typically placed under traditional heavy metal, or sometimes progressive metal, with which there can also be crossover, as with Symphony X.

Extreme Power Metal: This particular sub-genre combines power metal with melodic death metal and covers artists such as Children of Bodom, the first album of Wintersun and to a lesser extent the first album from Seven Kingdoms. Extreme power metal typically features power metal music but with primarily growling vocals rather than power metal’s traditional clean singing. Such artists are treated with a case by case basis as to their placement on MMA. The genre is sometimes also called Power-Death.

Power Metal Inclusive Genres

Melodic Metal is sometimes included under Power Metal but usually under Traditional Heavy Metal. Melodic metal features a presence of melody akin to European power metal but lacks the focus on speed. Many melodic metal releases tend to use some actual power metal elements as well as hard rock and sometimes other genres. An example of a melodic metal release that is placed under power metal instead of traditional heavy metal is Arven's Black is the Colour (2013).

- Written by adg211288 (April 2013)

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with US Power Metal & Neoclassical Metal):
  • DippoMagoo (leader)
  • adg211288
  • Sisslith

power metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
4.48 | 130 ratings
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SABATON Heroes Album Cover Heroes
4.80 | 7 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
4.46 | 121 ratings
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ETERNITY'S END Unyielding Album Cover Unyielding
4.90 | 5 ratings
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
4.62 | 11 ratings
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
4.79 | 6 ratings
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SEVEN KINGDOMS Brothers of the Night Album Cover Brothers of the Night
4.72 | 7 ratings
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TRIOSPHERE The Heart of the Matter Album Cover The Heart of the Matter
4.71 | 7 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
4.64 | 8 ratings
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ETERNITY'S END The Fire Within Album Cover The Fire Within
4.68 | 7 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
4.39 | 99 ratings
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SABATON The Great War Album Cover The Great War
4.71 | 6 ratings
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power metal Music Reviews


EP · 2020 · Power Metal
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Time Signature
The future of metal?

Genre: modern metal / power metal / thrash metal

Japanese rock band Nemophila pretty much kicked Youtube's metal community's ass when they released a reheasal version of the track 'Oiran' whose heaviness and sheer brutality caused thousands of jaws to hit the floor all over the world. Eventually, the band released the three-track EP "Oiran" which, in addition to the title track, features 'Monsters' and 'Life'.

'Oiran' is a modern metal track that combines thrash metal with incluences from metalcore such as breakdowns and down-tuned guitars - and don't worry, we're not talking lame-ass trite breakdowns. Right from the get-go, we're treated to aggressive riffage, a superb rhythm section, excellent lead guitars, and absolutely magnificent vocals that combine aggressive screams with melodic rock belting. Seriously, this is probably one of the best - if not the best - metal track to emerge from the Jrock scene (a scene which seems to generally be thriving very well). The song is well-performed and well-produced. It's aggressive as hell and catchy as fuck.

'Monster's is more of a power metal track with modern synth elements. It's definitely a great track, while not as ass-kicking as the title track. It's well -composed and features some great guitar solos as well as what I interpret as direct influences from 80s Helloween.

'Life' is more of a ballad with considerable pop-leanings and a very epic feel. It's my least favorite track on the album, but I still enjoy it. There's just no denying that it's a well-crafted song, and, if pop leanings are to be inserted into metal, I think this is the way to do it.

Nemophila's great level of musicianshop shines through with Saki and Hazuki's rhythm and lead guitar work being very impressive, while Muratamu is one of the best drummers out there. Haraguchi-san's solid bass work binds everything together, and vocalist Mayu has an absolutely amazing voice: she can scream, belt and sing clean, and it all sounds great. Just check her out on 'Oiran'. The song owes 50% of its greatness to her voice. These ladies know their way around their instruments!

If you're up for a lesson in the versatility of metal, check out this release.

[review originally posted at ProgFreak]

VIATHYN The Peregrine Way

Album · 2010 · Power Metal
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Viathyn's debut album, when pitted against the sophomore release, seems in lack when you read the reviews of the newer album. "The production on 'Cynosure' is an improvement over 'The Peregrine Way'." "The music of 'Cynosure' sounds less derivative." "Tomislav Crnkovic vocals have improved."

"The Peregrine Way" still earned plenty of favourable remarks out there in the Internet land of album reviewers and critics, but the general opinion seems to be that "Cynosure" was an improvement all round. But I have found that I really like this album and that some of the reasons why I like it are less prevalent or even absent on the second album.

First of all, regarding the production and the quality of the vocals, if Cynosure's were really good then The Peregrine Way's are rather good. My ears don't discern a large difference. However, one of the characteristics of Viathyn's music is the use of folk melodies in a metal band. That crops up often enough on the second album, but I hear it much more on the debut. Many of the melodies played on lead guitar could be Irish jigs and reels transposed for electric guitar. And while there was a noticeable symphonic element to many songs on 'Cynosure', that seems less pronounced here on the debut and instead we can hear a woodwind instrument once or twice, a sole violin here and there, and an accompanying female vocalist on three or four tracks.

Another point is that this here debut album has more clean guitar moments than the sophomore album, which I think adds more majesty to the album atmosphere. The second album as I described it seems mostly to be a soundtrack to rising into the storm and fiercely and confidently believing that any obstacle will be overcome. "The Peregrine Way" for it's gentler and sometimes a little melancholic moments gives us a moment to reflect on rural settings in fantasy tales.

So while "Cynosure" sounds better and is overall an improvement over "The Peregrine Way", the debut has some standout features that are reduced or eliminated from the band's approach to their second album.

My point being this: though the majority see "Cynosure" as the stronger album, I can find things to love about "The Peregrine Way" that are stronger on this album. Therefore, I award both albums with the same score of four stars!

VIATHYN Cynosure

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
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The second album by symphonic power metal band, Viathyn, this album appears to have a few strong reviews out there praising it not only for sounding awesome musically but also having a better production sound than their debut.

The album kicks off with a grand opening replete with symphonic instruments (I don’t believe they are actual instruments but they sound good enough) warming us up for something grand. Then - BOOM! - here’s the band and man do they power along! Listening to this opening track is like watching all parts of a high-end engine moving at a charging pace. The guitar sound is full and packs a heavy wallop, the drums thunder, the bass fills the low end, and the vocals, though not soaring or operatic, deliver quite nicely. The lead guitar work is scorching as you’d expect from a power metal band, but I also appreciate hearing the bass come forward in many places.

I wondered if this was a concept narrative, but in the Wikipedia article on the band the members state that each song focuses on a character who is caught in the chaos of the world with a greater meaning that all our petty squabbles and endeavors are so small in the grand scale of the universe.

The article also mentions more than once Viathyn’s penchant for including folk melodies in their songs. This is most prominent on “Three Sheets to the Wind” which is, as you can guess, a song for enjoying the benefits of a good social drinking event. Is also one of the most rousing songs on an album that doesn’t permit very much time for rest and contemplation.

Viathyn’s lyrics are also said to have a strong focus on nature. The song “Shadows in Our Wake” seems to be from the perspective of trees. It makes sense that folk influences and nature should go together. The more down-to-earth vocals seem very suitable in this light.

There is little to criticize here and if there are any criticisms I think it’s more of a matter of personal taste. As for me, power metal ranks a little ways down on my metal subgenre preferences, so I don’t have a large experience base against which to compare this album. However, I agree the music sounds great. There are no “meh” moments or snoozers. The band don’t spent the entirety of the album whipping up a storm; they take time to slow down here and there and offer a brief moment of respite before casting off confidently and with Godspeed into the gale. Overall, you will probably feel that you can conquer pretty much anything the forces may throw against you.

Viathyn are unfortunately in the midst of taking an indefinite break, but a third album has been promised someday. Expectations will be high!

EXENEMY The Choir of the Martyrs

Album · 2016 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
So what are the most metal nations on the planet? Surely the Scandinavian nations are up there with more metal per capita than probably any other region on Earth but then again metal is huge pretty much everywhere in the world these days but power metal seems to be mostly a European and US thing with less bands from far flung places taking up the classic sounds of Helloween, Blind Guardian and Running Wild but there are always of course exceptions. Now here’s a strange one. EXENEMY comes from one of the last places i’d expect to hear a European power metal band and that would be the nation of Bangladesh.

Formed in 2012 in the capital city of Dhaka, this band definitely demonstrates that exquisitely designed power metal with nice technical skills doesn’t have to come from a nation where you freeze your ass off in the winter much like Brazil’s fiery Sepultura took the thrash world by storm during the day. Starting out as many bands do as high school chums who want to make some noise, these guys took their passion all the way and so far have released one small EP titled “Overture” followed by this 2016 release of the band’s debut full-length THE CHOIR OF THE MARTYRS which is dedicated to the martyrs who died fighting for the nation’s independence in 1971.

The first thing you can expect when putting on THE CHOIR OF THE MARTYRS is that this band means serious business and offers a ferocious attack of the senses for its ten track run that just misses the 55 minute mark. The album hosts both rampaging power metal fury in the vein of speed-frenzied Dragonforce but also crafts beautiful ballads and all the territory in between as it narrates its heroic tale of rebellion and national unity. EXENEMY consists of two strong guitarists, a skilled bassist and drummer as well as a full time keyboardist. Slower parts have some flute sounds as well as classical piano rolls. The band are quite gifted at crafting heavy duty power metal tracks that borrow heavily from the European scene but still manage to sound like something different.

Perhaps the weakest link of this fine lineup are the vocals of Emran who does a decent job most of the time and has no problem with the operatic parts but often sounds a little goofy. Sometimes he’s a dead ringer for Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch but other times can sound a bit like Dexter Holland of the pop punk band The Offspring or even Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta. While he mostly makes the mark, at times it seems he struggles a bit to make the quicken transitions that the speed of the guitar, bass and drum triumvirate forces him to keep up with. The guitar work is perhaps the most amazing aspect of THE CHOIR OF THE MARTYRS but the entire album is actually pretty strong and a true surprise coming from one of the last places on Earth that i would expect such an album to emerge from.

THE CHOIR OF THE MARTYR’s is a passionate tribute to the nation’s history and EXENEMY does an excellent job of narrating this tale in musical form. The tracks are distinct, the pacing is perfect as some tracks rampage at high tempos whereas other glide on slo-mo. While Emran’s vocals are the aspect of the album i like the least, they aren’t actually that bad with the exception of some of the slower parts like on “The Unnamed Soldier” where he sounds a little too airy fairy for my tastes but overall this is a personal preference and shouldn’t be projected on a singer is quite capable of delivering a strong power metal performance. This is actually an album that is strong in every way. Nice compositions fueled by outstanding musical interplay with a few tricks and trinkets in the technical department thrown in now in again to arouse the wow factor. A true surprise! There is power metal brewing in Bangladesh!

RUNNING WILD Death or Glory

Album · 1989 · Power Metal
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Running Wild are one of the earliest Power Metal bands around, starting as Speed/Heavy Metal but moving closer to true Power Metal by the end of the 80’s. With each release, they sailed further from mediocracy to uniquely speedy melodic pirate metal with delicious riffs and gruff but talented vocals. Death or Glory is the peak of their 80’s material and often cited as their magnum opus.

The opening track “Riding the Storm” is indeed possibly the finest Power Metal song that had been laid to record by 1989. The guitar leads weave melodic, infectious riffs around a constantly pummeling rhythm section that keeps the song at full energy the whole ride through. The vocal performance is just awesome. Never a dull moment in the epic rocking of over 6 minutes. The title track “Death or Glory” captures this in a similar vein. Though much shorter, the atmosphere is just as epic and powerful, and that chorus stands against the best. Two prime examples of what a perfect Power Metal song should be.

Unfortunately, while the rest of album is great, there’s nothing else that can really hold its own against the aforementioned tracks. It mostly just blends together as strong but unmemorable material. It’s also a bit of a problem when the album starts on its highest note and ends on its lowest (the slower “March On” leaves a bit to be desired and sounds like an arena rocker). Truly, Running Wild wrote some of the best Power Metal songs of all time, but Death or Glory as an album doesn’t quite match such standards.

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HELLOWEEN United Alive

Movie · 2019 · Power Metal
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Imagine a Judas Priest show with both Tim Ripper Owens and Rob Halford singing together. No wait… Imagine a Sepultura show with both Max Cavelera and Derick Green singing. No wait, that’s not even it. I’ve got it… Imagine an Iron Maiden show with Paul Dianno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bailey all singing. Well, maybe, if Dickinson had left after four albums and Blaze had been there ever since. Ok, Now swap out the zombie mascot for some comedy pumpkins and you’re approaching the situation here. Helloween, one of Germany’s biggest and most important bands, one of the most iconic Power Metal bands in history, with one of the most impressive family trees (Gamma Ray, Masterplan, Freedom Call, Unisonic, Iron Savior etc) make one of the most anticipated decisions in the history of the genre.

Who is your favourite Helloween singer? Is it Kai Hansen, the heaviest singer and the original? Is it Michael Kiske, the most technically accomplished and the one from their most iconic record? Or is it Andi Deris, their best frontman and the singer on the most albums? – Turns out, now you don’t have to choose. United Alive, the live video from the Pumpkins United tour sees all three join the stage together, cracking out a career spanning mixture of material from the earliest thrashiest material to the modern gems, with all the iconic genre defining masterpieces from the peerless Keepers’ era sprinkled in too.

There are over 20 tracks here (some are intros and solos, and some are medleys/combinations, but still…) that’s a lot of Helloween. All three singers take it turns to sing. Sometimes not even a song each, but rather dividing it up section by section inside each song, or all at once. It is very welcome to hear them back on some of their own tracks like ‘Heavy Metal Is The Law’ after not hearing it on the other live videos, or ‘Dr. Stein’ after having heard only Deri’s take on it previously. Conversely it is very interesting to see Kai or Kiske sing on some of the big commercial ‘90s/’00s hits like ‘Perfect Gentleman’ or ‘If I Could Fly.’

There are often 7 members on stage at the one time (or 8 if you count the keyboardist, Eddy Wrapiprou). There’s Weikath and Grosskopft on guitar and bass as always. Sascha Gerstner and Daniel Löble on guitar and drums like the last several albums. And the three aforementioned singers (with Kai also playing guitar).

There’s a mix of footage, ranging from headline shows in Madrid, Spain to festival appearances at Wacken and in Brazil. Sort of like they did already on their previous ‘Legacy World Tour 2005/2006 DVD.

Normally I really prefer a concert DVD to come from one single show, rather than complied from a series of different dates in different places with different lighting, sound and camera work, but given that the band itself is now a compilation of past and present members and some of the songs included are medleys, I don’t know why but it just works here.

The band put on a great show. There’s a lot going on. There’s video screens, a big pumpkin stage set piece around the drum kit (which has 4 kickdrums for some reason, just to add to the over-the-top feel of it all), a light show, and a few cheesy moments like members coming out dressed in a top hat and cane, or raining pumpkin balloons.

Deris, ever the consummate front man is great at revving up the crowd, and then the different members get spotlights for certain tunes and join up on others, there’s prolonged solo segments, a tribute to late drummer Ingo Schichtenberg, its all very diverse and entertaining. They even do a stripped-down bare bones version of the ballad ‘Forever And One’ straight after a super heavy Walls Of Jericho/EP medley, which pretty much shows both polar opposites of the band’s varied discography.

There’s multiple different ways you can buy it. DVD, Blu Ray, combinations thereof. Versions with CDs. The version I got it two Blu Rays. One with the concert and one with a load of extra footage. There’s a few extra songs (Including the underrated ‘Kids Of The Century’ from the oft maligned Pink Bubbles Go Ape album). There’s a bunch of behind the scenes footage looking at various aspects of the tour and production. It comes in a nice shiny digi-book with some brief liner notes and a glossy photo booklet. You know, just as if it wasn’t value for money enough already with an almost three-hour concert of a Helloween fan’s wildest fantasy line-up.

As a concept you really have to hand it to them; its quite a clever move to reuinite with past members without losing current members as some fans never got over Kiske leaving the band or only ever even tried the Keepers albums. Some fans really love the Kai era and you never get to see Helloween play much material from it anymore (you only really get the chance if he chucks one in to a Gamma Ray show some time). Its a great idea to reel them back in and show them how great the Deris era can be too. Come for ‘Halloween’ and ‘Future World’ but stay for ‘Sole Survivor’ and ‘Power’ then learn to love the Deris era if you don’t already.

Thankfully though, its not just the concept that’s good. The whole package is good. The sound, footage, editing and bonus material. Most importantly though, the performance. It doesn’t come across as a novelty cash grab, it really feels like a jubilant celebration. As they say in the opening track ‘Halloween’ ”There’s magic in the air.” This may be cheesy to say (but hey, if you like Helloween, you better be used to cheesy) but it really is a heavy metal dream come true. Buy it!


Movie · 2016 · Power Metal
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A year ago Beto Vazquez Infinity met its 15 years ... And gave us a feast with joy, good music and diversity. And now we have the fruit in a DVD accompanied with 2 CDs with all the live sound of this recital. The show presented in this DVD contains a section of his classics, then a middle section where all played more Prog Metal and left many open mouths and an end to all motor either energizing. The DVD and limited edition cd show impeccable quality. Everything is divided as follows: The first part of the show was the memories, issues conodcidos discography BVI, renewed and with new energy, with the voices of Caro Guedes, Vero Libre, Casti and Pereyra on a solid band. The band shows with ease, stressed this fact with good camera movements. The sound and picture quality gives a good sense of what was experienced in that reecital of celebration of 15 years. Then began the most difficult part in stage movement, instrumentation and personnel. Metal Prog most part, higher flight, which leaves more than one amazed. Flutes game, rhythm guitars, harp, saxophone and a chorus that vibrated in states of metal, prog and Ethnic ... The third part returns to the strength of metal with Devil Vision by Caro flawless interpretation of Guedes and choirs Nadia Mancini, a soprano who gives the exact support. A material that is worth having, especially if you want to discover Beto Vazquez Infinity, risky in a scene (the Argentina) where it is very difficult for independent bands to achieve, first that recital that is documented, much less achieve DVD + CD unsupported's the big distributors.

ANGRA Angels Cry: 20th Anniversary Tour

Movie · 2013 · Power Metal
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Angels Cry 20th Anniversary Live is a 2013 concert Blu-ray by the Brazilian Progressive/Power Metal band Angra. It features the line-up with Italian singer Fabio Lione (ex-Labyrinth, Rhapsody of Fire) on vocals performing material from all eras of the discography passionately – with some interesting guest appearances including Tarja Turunen (ex- Nightwish), Uli Jon Roth (ex-Scorpions), Amilcar Christófaro (Torture Squad) and the Familia Lima string section.

This set has quite high production values. Visually; the thing is an absolute gem. Top notch image quality, great camera work with tasteful editing, and the actual stage show contains interesting video screens with eye catching imagery. Its all just great for the eyeballs, which is why you’re getting a video recording and not an audio recording anyway, right? Well this is totally worth every penny in the visual department.

Sonically, the recording is crystal clear. You can hear every single note, every different drum and cymbal. Its like a Rush concert or something – brilliant clarity and definition. The only thing that’s not absolutely perfect is that in the stereo mix, the rhythm guitar is not as heavy as some of the studio versions, but it is still a brilliant mix nonetheless. Best of all; The performance is beyond stellar; Fabio nails it recreating the band’s different singers’ work well and injects some of his own flair into the proceedings. The guitar solos are out of this world and the tireless drumming of Ricardo Confessori sounds great. Listening to and watching the interesting music is an absolute joy.

Highlights include the fantastic renditions of ‘Evil Warning,’ ‘Nothing To Say’ and the fantastic set closer ‘Nova Era.’ The enthusiastic São Paulo audience seem really into it.

Overall; Its an absolutely great concert DVD on a technical level, and better still it’s a great concert in and of itself. The line-up is strong, the setlist is great and the guest musicians add an extra layer of interest. I highly recommend this to fans of the band, fans of this end of the musical spectrum, and fans of good quality concert recordings. It would be an unquestionable treat for existing fans but would also work really well as a first purchase for newcomers

STRATOVARIUS Under Flaming Winter Skies - Live in Tampere

Movie · 2012 · Power Metal
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Under Flaming Winter Skies, Live In Tampere is the first official concert Blu-Ray by the legendary Finnish Power Metal band Stratovarius. It was filmed in Tampere, Finland on the Jörg Michael farewell tour and as such the crowd interaction is in Finnish (with English subtitles) and Jörg gives the crowd a farewell speech. In part, the setlist is built around him, such as the inclusion of `Speed Of Light’ because it was the first song he ever played with the band… although to be fair they’d have probably played that anyway. The main feature lasts around 1hr 52mins and contains 22 tracks, which works out as 17 songs when you discount the intro, guitar solo, bass solo, keyboard solo and speech. There’s a Deep Purple (`Burn’) and The Who (`Behind Blue Eyes’) cover in there, as well as all the fan favourites you’d expect like `Eagleheart’ `Kiss Of Judas’ `Hunting High And Low’ `Paradise’ `Father Time’ `Black Diamond’ etc

The picture is absolutely fantastic, clear and sharp. Its helped a lot by a great but subtle stage show with intelligent use of lighting, and not too much dry ice as well as a tasteful and sensible editing job that is fast and contains enough movement to keep your interest but is slow and still enough so that you can appreciate the actual musicianship (of each member, as none are overlooked.)

The sound is even better with an absolutely crystal clear mix in which you can hear every stoke of every drum, each key get pressed (without the keys being too loud and overpowering the Metal) and every note the bass plays. The vocals are impressive and the crowd noise doesn’t overpower them, even though they sing almost every word and best of all, it all actually seems to be live and not obviously mimed or overdubbed (or indeed out-of-sync). In general, its just one of the best concert audio mixes that I’ve heard so far and very solid visually as well.

The biggest thing in this concert’s favour however is the sheer enthusiasm of the performance; the band are so into it and absolutely deliver on all levels. They are very interactive with the crowd, they interact with each other, Jörg twists and throws his sticks around, the guitars and mic stands are enthusiastically moved around and generally the band just look like they love being there.

In terms of extras; the booklet has a lot of high-quality photos and a little written interview with Jörg. The disc has a bonus 5.1 mix of the track `Elysium’ and there is a 29 minute documentary called `Rewinding From The Past To 2012.’ In terms of Blu-Ray Statistics; the screen format is 1080i/29,97/16:9(1,78:1) and the audio format is DTS HD MA 2.0/5.1 (although the documentary is only available in stereo), the disc format is BD-50 and the region code is: A/B/C.

Overall; this is an excellent, well made and masterfully performed concert Blu-Ray and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s into this sort of thing.

HELLOWEEN Helloween - High Live

Movie · 1997 · Power Metal
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High Live is a concert DVD by the legendary German Power Metal band Helloween, recorded in Milan, Italy (and Gerona, Spain) in 1996 on the Time Of The Oath tour.

The main feature is a scorching 84-minute concert, in which an energetic and totally on-form band blast through a lot of material from Master Of The Rings and Time Of The Oath to an enthusiastic crowd. Just going off the performance, this is an absolute 5-star live album.

Songs like “Sole Survivor,” “Before The War” and “Power” sound absolutely blistering here, and I’d highly recommend checking it out on that basis. Andi’s vocals on his own material are absolutely excellent on this release, and Uli’s powerful, understated drumming absolutely kills.

There are a few downsides to the overall product however, such as the picture being a little soft and not the sharpest. The sound is pretty great in one way, and you really get that “live feel,” but you have to turn it up fairly loud for it to become clear, as things can sound a bit muddy on low volumes. Nothing show-destroying though.

The other potential downside is that at the end of some songs, it stops, when they cut to the other concert (eg. from Italy to Spain) and the transition isn’t perfectly smooth, which may interrupt the flow a little. Luckily this never happens in the middle of songs or anything outrageous like that, and for the most part isn’t actually too disruptive.

Apart from that, this is a pretty great main feature all round, and shows the band proving why they are still one of the biggest names in Power Metal. In terms of bonus features: There is a text “History” feature, a discography feature and a photo gallery. All your standard ‘90s DVD extras that don’t add too much really, but look good written on the back of the box.

There is also a five minute “review” feature by Malcome Dome, which is a brief Metal Evolution style history lesson with a mixture of archive footage of the band and talking-head footage of Dome. The dialogue is a bit stiff and the audio is a bit muffled, but as a free extra its still worth a watch.

The track-listing for the main concert is:

1. We Burn 2. Wake Up The Mountain 3. Sole Survivor 4. The Change 5. Why 6. Eagle Fly Free 7. Time Of The Oath 8. Future World 9. Dr. Stein 10. Before The War 11. Mr Ego 12. Power 13. Where The Rain Grows 14. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat 15. Perfect Gentleman 16. Steel Tormentor

Overall; If you like the band, especially if you like the Deris era, then it’s a pretty worthwhile purchase. It shows the band at their Europe-conquering best, dripping with enthusiasm and playing like they mean it. The sound and editing are a tiny bit imperfect, but the band themselves more than make up for it. Comment

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