Power Metal

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Introduction

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

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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
HELLOWEEN
4.51 | 115 ratings
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LOVEBITES Clockwork Immortality Album Cover Clockwork Immortality
LOVEBITES
4.71 | 10 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
JUDAS PRIEST
4.48 | 121 ratings
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SABATON Heroes Album Cover Heroes
SABATON
4.80 | 7 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
HELLOWEEN
4.44 | 95 ratings
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
ORION'S REIGN
4.85 | 5 ratings
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SEVEN KINGDOMS Brothers of the Night Album Cover Brothers of the Night
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4.72 | 7 ratings
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NIGHTMARE The Dominion Gate Album Cover The Dominion Gate
NIGHTMARE
4.80 | 5 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
ARMORY
4.68 | 6 ratings
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TRIOSPHERE The Heart of the Matter Album Cover The Heart of the Matter
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DARK MOOR The Gates of Oblivion Album Cover The Gates of Oblivion
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ETERNITY'S END The Fire Within Album Cover The Fire Within
ETERNITY'S END
4.66 | 6 ratings
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power metal Music Reviews

ANCESTRY Revelations

Album · 2011 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Formed in 2007 in Chihuahua, Mexico, ANCESTRY, founded by guitarist Luiz Monge would go through several lineup change before getting to the point where the band could craft enough material to release this 2011 debut REVOLUTIONS. Despite the turbulent origins, much of the material of this first offering was written in 2008 when ANCESTRY was performing live gigs with more international bands like Rata Blanca from Argentina.

The recording of this album took place in Mexico City throughout 2009 but due to the fact that the original vocalist, Lobo departed at the same time which left the band without a vocalist for about a year before Alex Gavilán would join on as the new vocalist. The entire fiasco caused a two year delay but REVELATIONS finally made its debut in March 2011.

Despite the claims on the band’s CD Baby page that his album is NOT a typical power metal album, in reality it really is. ANCESTRY takes the route of imitating its idols which in this case varies from the lightning fast metal of Angra and Dragonforce to the symphonic metal leanings of Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Helloween. The music is dynamic, melodic and showcases the extremities of Gavilán’s vocal range as well as the neoclassical shredding typical of power metal.

By this time the band settled into a sextet with the lineup of Alex Gavilán (vocals), César Castillo (bass), Eduardo Cuadros (guitars), Luiz Monge (guitars), Alan García (keyboards) and Edgar Salais (drums). Despite emerging from the northern region of Mexico where Tex-Mex traditional music reigns supreme, ANCESTRY displays no allegiance to its culture and instead completely crafts a musical specimen forged from the cauldrons of the European scenes.

In many ways, REVELATIONS is very much like a tribute album to the influences that inspired Monge to venture into the energetically delivered world of power metal. Guitar and keyboard workouts in tandem can remind of bands like Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom, Dream Theater and Symphony X and with music like this, it is imperative that the vocalist has the chops to bring the music to the higher levels and in that regard Gavilán delivers with ease. The musicianship is of the highest caliber which is what makes power metal so dynamic.

Perhaps my biggest gripe about REVELATIONS is that it never strays from hero worship and is too safe in keeping the music as closely associated with its influences without adding any sense of creative input into the ten tracks that include three instrumentals. You can expect t all the proper power metal boxes checked off, namely rampaging speed, symphonic contrasts all dressed up in epic performances with the usual fantastical adventures through storytelling.

Technical wizardry is the name of the game and ANCESTRY doesn’t disappoint in the harmonic tempos that culminate into sizzling guitar solos or the famous double bass drumming patterns that deliver vast quantities of sixteenth note frenzies. It’s hard to say anything bad about REVELATIONS as it’s a stellar power metal release other than it plays things too safe and finds ancestry trying to show they can play in the big boys’ club instead of crafting original music that stands out from the legions of imitators. In the end, a satisfying power metal album but not the most memorable one.

WINGS OF DESTINY Butterfly Effect

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
Wings of Destiny are a power metal band from Costa Rica, fronted by a Russian singer. This 2017 release was their third full-length album, and they recently released another, ‘Revelations’. This is the only album of theirs I have come across, and they have been heavily influenced by Angra and Stratovarius in particular. When the band are really moving, they are a sight to behold. These guys can play, and really show their stuff when they are in full flight and running up and down the frets, but while some of the slower more orchestral and keyboard-led pieces do well as a lead into heavier songs, some other ideas just fall flat. I have lost count of the amount of times I have heard someone moving through a radio station and hearing different snippets of songs before settling on the one from the album. This was already old hat in the Seventies, let alone in 2017. That sort of trick means there are times when momentum is lost, which is a real shame as here is a band with real promise.

There are parts of “Brave New World”, for example, which feels almost as if the band is just treading water, but there are others where the guitars fly and the keyboards provide the needed relief as well as taking lead roles, and one can almost imagine that Savatage are in the house. By the end of the album one knows that it is an enjoyable ride, but also that it could have been better with some judicious editing, and then there is “Time”. The very last song on the album is marked as an acoustic version so I did some digging and listened to the original version which is the title cut of their 2015 debut. It is hard to realise this is the same song, as here it has been slowed down, sung in a totally different manner, with acoustic guitars and orchestral symphonic keyboards. This song screams “class” to the rooftops, and means I ended up a little perplexed. I mean, a low score doesn’t seem fair and proper given there are some great songs and the guys can really play, but a high score also isn’t right as it’s not essential. I have a fight with myself and am still not sure who won, but do know I want to hear more from the band and isn’t it refreshing to find a group still dedicated to pumping out releases with four studio albums in five years?

VISION DIVINE When All the Heroes Are Dead

Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
I have a bit of a strange relationship with Italian power metal band Vision Divine. Unlike many, I was never too impressed by their earlier works, with the acclaimed album The Perfect Machine, in particular, failing to grab my attention. Also unlike many, the album that finally hooked me in and got me to take note of the band was 9 Degrees West of the Moon, a very light and melodic album, with some outstanding choruses and vocal melodies, as well as some nice progressive arrangements.

Following that album, the band released Destination Set to Nowhere, a heavier, more modernized album with a strong progressive feel to it. That release, in particular, impressed me and stands to date as my favorite release by the band. When I heard they had parted ways with Fabio Lione and had brought in Derdian vocalist Ivan Giannini, I was excited to see how their sound would change with him as a vocalist, as he’s become one of my favorite Italian singers in recent years. Late in 2018, the band released a single titled “Angel of Revenge”, which instantly blew me away, and raised the bar for any future releases, as well as my expectations. Now, the band is set to release their eighth full length album, When All the Heroes Are Dead, and while it falls a bit short of what I was hoping for, based on the single, it’s still an excellent album, and stands as one of the band’s better releases, for sure.

Compared to Destination Set to Nowhere, When All the Heroes Are Dead feels like a slightly more straight-forward release. It does still have traces of the prog elements found on its predecessor, as well as the occasional use of symphonic arrangments, but the songwriting is generally fairly simple, with no song going much beyond the 5-minute mark, and there aren’t any huge surprises. Instead, it’s a heavy-hitting, largely guitar-driven power metal album, with some nice sounding modern sounding keyboards, that certainly brings later Stratovarius to mind. That comparison holds up particularly well on many of the speedier tracks, which are fun, melodic and very catchy in ways that bring the Finnish band to mind, while the slower tracks are generally solid but a little bit lacking, by comparison.

The entire album is high energy, with excellent performances all around, both from long-time members like guitarist Olaf Thörsen and bassist Andrea Torricini, as well as the two new members, Ivan Giannini and veteran drummer Mike Terrana, with the latter sounding excellent no matter what band he’s with, and this album is certainly no exception. Ivan also sounds great, as always, alternating nicely between some very powerful, gritty vocals and much lighter, soaring power metal vocals, as well as singing very softly on occasion. He fits the band perfectly, and especially excels on some of the more explosive choruses, though he sounds great on softer sections as well, of course. Production is also superb, with everything sounding clear and powerful, and that is no surprise, seeing as DGM’s Simone Mularoni is responsible for mixing and mastering.

The only area where the album doesn’t fully meet expectations is the songwriting. There aren’t any weak songs here, to be sure, but I find aside from a couple of particular highlights, a lot of the album is just lacking some kinda spark, some special quality to make it stand above the pack. I mentioned “Angel of Revenge” earlier, and that song has that special something. It’s a very epic, speedy symphonic power metal track, with some very epic orchestral arrangements, heavy guitar work at times, and it’s a very bombastic track, but it also alternates nicely between some very soft sections and heavier sections, which is something it does wonderfully. Verses alternate between slow and mid-paced sections, while the chorus goes full speed ahead, and is absolutely incredible, with some very epic vocal melodies, where Ivan goes all out and sounds spectacular, especially during the final chorus, while the instrumental sections are equally excellent, with a wonderful guitar/keyboard solo sequence in the second half, and overall, it just feels like everything really came together to help make it quite possibly my favorite Vision Divine song ever. Unfortunately, that track is only a Digipack bonus, so some versions of the album don’t even have it at all, which I consider a big disappointment, as while there are some other excellent tracks on the album, nothing else quite reaches the levels of perfection that song does.

Usually I’d save the bonus track for near the end of a review, but in this case, I felt I had to bring it up early, both because of how good it is, but also because it feels like other tracks on the album try to match it, without quite getting there. In particular, “On the Ides of March” feels very similar, with some nice keys and it alternates between soft and heavy passages nicely, but it just doesn’t quite do it in a memorable way as “Angel of Revenge”. It does have an excellent, speedy chorus, though, and is still a great song, overall. Other songs that don’t quite reach the level I expect from the band are “Fall from Grace”, a solid but unspectacular mid-paced track, with more nice keys and fairly heavy verses. It’s a nice track, overall, with the verses being quite fun, but the chorus feels a bit weak, and overall, the song doesn’t leave much of an impression. Likewise, the two ballads on the album “While the Sun is Turning Black” and closing track “The Nihil Propaganda” are both nice tracks, with some big vocal moments from Ivan, but neither of them quite come together as well as they should, with the former in particular having a nice guitar solo and some great vocal moments, but it just never fully takes off and lacks anything really impressive, while the latter is a light piano ballad, which feels like it gets cut off a bit too quickly, so it isn’t really given enough space to fully develop, though what’s there is pretty nice, with some particularly soft and deep vocals from Ivan.

Moving back to the positive side of things, following a nice intro track, “The 26th Machine” is an absolute killer of an opening track, with more epic symphonic arrangements, blistering fast-paced verses, hard-hitting riffs, and an amazing chorus, with some of Ivan’s absolute best vocals on the album, while the solo section towards the end is fairly brief, but also quite excellent. Overall, it’s an extremely fast, fun and very addictive track and is probably my favorite main album track here. If that one isn’t my favorite, then it’s “300”, the second last track on the album. This one starts with some nice acoustic guitar work and nicer modern keys, before fully speeding up in time for the first verse. This is another very explosive, very heavy guitar-driven track, with some of the best riffs on the album, as well as another epic chorus, where Ivan shines, and a very fun instrumental section, where the keys bring Stratovarius to mind.

Sticking with the highlights, lead single “3 Men Walk on the Moon” is another high energy, speedy power metal track with some very melodic guitar work, as well as more nice modern keys. It slows done slightly during the verses, for more of an atmospheric feel with the keys, but then fully speeds up during the chorus. I love the instrumental work and the verses, but I find the chorus lacks any real memorable hooks, which is why I couldn’t quite put the song on the level as the above-mentioned highlights, even though it is still an excellent track, overall. In similar territory are the “almost” title track “Now That All the Heroes are Dead” and “The King of the Sky”, which are both excellent speedy power metal tracks, with great choruses. The former again goes for some softer sections during the verses, and does a nice job, but it doesn’t quite have the same magic as “Angel of Revenge”, while the latter is perhaps the most straight-forward track on the album, just going all out with heavy riffs, frantic drum patterns, epic modern keys, a fun solo section, and a very strong chorus. It’s another excellent track, that falls maybe a slight step below the best on the album, but it’ll please anyone looking for some fun, classic power metal. Lastly, while I find most of the slower tracks on this album to be solid, but unspectacular, “Were I God” is an exception to the rule. It’s a rather light, slower-paced track, with a heavy reliance on some rather melancholy keys, and it has some very downbeat verses, with a huge, catchy chorus, where Ivan provides some of his best vocals on the album. The lyrics are dark but fit the music well, and it’s very catchy, if bleak, track overall, and is a big step above all other slow-paced tracks on the album.

Overall, When All the Heroes Are Dead is another great album, which takes Vision Divine into a slightly more straight-forward, heavy-hitting direction compared to its most recent predecessor, largely cutting back on the prog elements, while fully doubling down on their classic power metal elements. This results in an album that doesn’t quite have enough memorable or special moments to make it stand out from the pack, but it’s still a consistently entertaining release, with all songs varying between solid and amazing. Fans of the band should be pleased, as Ivan Giannini fits in perfectly and does a wonderful job, while newcomers looking for some fun, speedy melodic power metal with a bit of an edge, should also find a lot to enjoy. I think Destination Set to Nowhere remains my favorite from the band, but this release isn’t too far behind, and I get the feeling they’re still capable of eventually topping that release, in the future. I just hope that next time around, the best track isn’t cut from the main album.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2019/10/20/vision-divine-when-all-the-heroes-are-dead-review/

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Rain Of A Thousand Flames

Album · 2001 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
For the 4th installment of “The Emerald Sword Saga,” RHAPSODY continued its epic fantastical medieval themed soundtrack metal (as they call it) and started a new more progressive phase in its compositional style. RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES differs from its three predecessors in that it recounts a parallel episode in the tale which took place shortly after “Dawn Of Victory” where while the Warrior of Ice is away, Akron ravages the lands with the coveted Emerald Sword. The album is rightfully conveys a sadder tone with more contemplative passages and tales of loss.

RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES also engages in longer classical meanderings with massive choirs that convey emotional tones and colors before the main vocals of Fabio Lione triumphantly narrate the saga at hand. RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES also utilizes themes from other bands’ works such as the near 14 minute epic sounding “Queen Of The Dark Horizons” based on the main theme from Italian prog soundtracks superstars Goblin’s main theme from the horror picture soundtrack “Phenomena.” Likewise “The Wizard’s Last Rhymes” is based on “New World Symphony” composed by Antonín Dvořák.

While the album is considered somewhat of a side story, it still approaches the 42 minute mark and primarily is composed of two main tracks: “Queen Of The Dark Horizons” and the four part “Rhymes of a Tragic Poem - The Gothic Saga" which consists of the four tracks: Tears of a Dying Angel" (6:22), "Elnor's Magic Valley" (1:40), "The Poem's Evil Page" (4:04) and "The Wizard's Last Rhymes" (10:37)” but together are almost 23 minutes in duration. The album is a lot more progressive with more varying themes and stylistics changes. While certain styles had been used for individual tracks in the past, RHAPSODY successfully infuses sprawling choral sections, classical compositional melodies, power metal heft and medieval folk flavors seamlessly into massive sprawlers.

While the symphonic power metal is still the dominant species on this album, RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES is more similar to the band’s debut “Legendary Tales” where there are more deviations from the neoclassical speed and pure folk jubilees although pure folk can still be found especially in “Einor’s Magic Valley” which is based on an Irish traditional jig called “Cooley’s Reel” which is simply a section of the “Rhymes of a Tragic Poem - The Gothic Saga,” the most sophisticated and intricately designed epic complex on the album. Throughout the four suites, many new avenues are explored such as new vocal styles, more cinematic soundtrack themes and incessant stylistic shifts including a passionate spoken narrations that reminds me of films like “Lord Of The Rings.”

Perhaps one of the most ambitious RHAPSODY albums, RAIN OF A THOUSAND FLAMES truly takes on the cinematic soundtrack metal characteristics that the band has always been associated with. Everything on this one is on steroids and the dramatic themes lend to great subject matter that allows the musical deliveries to take on myriad heavy-handed roles that are constructed to convey the story in more fascinating constructs than the previous albums. This is obviously music that will hit you as cheesy from the getgo or dynamic and drama driven with epic tomes that recount the greatest medieval themes that are so popular these days. While nothing new under the sun, RHAPSODY nevertheless adds a passionate take on these themes with some of the most stunningly precise musical performances that bring life to these tales. Personally i think this one is generally under appreciated in relation to surrounding albums.

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Dawn Of Victory

Album · 2000 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
RHAPSODY continued its five volume album series that thematically covered an overarching tale called “The Emerald Sword Saga” which exemplified a classic good-vs-evil tale that narrated fantastical lands of myth and monsters. DAWN OF VICTORY is the third installment in this universe and once again crafted by the powerhouse compositional team of Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli. While it may seem the early RHAPSODY albums sound very much alike, it might be helpful to remember that the five chapter series that composes five separate releases could in reality be considered a single massive project that is broken down simply for the sake of marketing and not overwhelming the fanbase.

DAWN OF VICTORY continues the classic symphonic power metal prowess that not only displays the epic fantasy themes but also showcases the extraordinary musicianship that is unleashed. Turilli once again delivers an incessant display of guitar virtuosity complemented with lightning fast neoclassical wizardry and Starpoli exemplifies the same fiery passion on keyboards. The music is once again a mix of not only symphonic power metal but also features many brushes with pure European folk music most obvious on tracks like “The Village Of Dwarves” and while not quite as metallic as, say, Ensiferum or Korpiklaani, still packs a power metal punch at key moments but are heavily dependent on violin and flute sounds.

For the most part, RHAPSODY heeded the criticism of the band’s debut when it allowed sprawling symphonic parts to carry on with no metal bombast. DAWN OF VICTORY continues this correction that was achieved on “Symphony Of Enchantment” and continues to keep an extremely fast power metal guitar rampage throughout most of the album with only the lesser folk focused tracks deviating from the formula. While it’s not obvious, DAWN OF VICTORY also saw the debut of Alex Holzwarth as the new drummer but the style is so similar and in line with the musical deliveries that there are really no idiosyncratically stylistic changes that will give him away as a newbie as his percussive precision is as top notch as all of the other musicians involved in this fascinating project.

I can understand why this style of metal is considered too cheesy and over-the-top for some however the classical underpinnings keep this a highly melodic adventure with the metal emphasis keeping it in the head banging zone. Fabio Lione’s vocals are absolutely perfect for this operatic tale of fantasy worlds and the mix of keyboards and guitars ensures an interesting mix of metal bombast and atmospheric emotional tugs. While most tracks hover around the four to six minute range, the finale “The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord” charges its way up past the nine minute mark and offers one of the most progressive and diverse tracks as it narrates the final chapter in this musical tome of the series. The track is also probably the most successful at summing up the many stylistic shifts of the album as it displays both the symphonic power metal and folk aspects in tandem.

While not substantially different from the previous albums, RHAPSODY does a good job at mixing things up just enough to sounds like its retreading previous musical explorations. For example there are always new approaches to riffs which are mostly crafted through time signatures, riffing styles and dynamic shifts otherwise the folk, classical and power metal elements remain staunchly in place. With music this beautifully designed it’s hard not to love the hell out of it and when thought of as merely phase 3 in the 5 part series, it would be a disservice to deviate too far too fast from the formulaic approach. RHAPSODY is one of the most consistent bands in power metal and the third album DAWN OF VICTORY does not disappoint in that regard one little bit.

power metal movie reviews

HELLOWEEN United Alive

Movie · 2019 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
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!

BETO VÁZQUEZ INFINITY 15 Years Alive LTD Edition

Movie · 2016 · Power Metal
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m3g52
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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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