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:
  • DippoMagoo (leader)
  • adg211288

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power metal Music Reviews

RUNNING WILD Death or Glory

Album · 1989 · Power Metal
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Warthur
By this fifth studio album, Running Wild had left their rough around the edges early speed metal releases in their wake, and had successfully claimed the uncharted power metal realm of Pirate Metal Island for their very own. Having done two studio albums and one live album in this full-on pirate-happy style, it's safe to say that by this point they'd settled into this new direction for the band and committed to it wholeheartedly, and it shows here with the confident set of songs.

Running Wild's pirate schtick seems to strongly divide audiences - some people love it, some people find their take on the subject cheesy, and some landlubbers just don't like pirates; I'm in the second category, but even so I have to acknowledge that this is a rather fun early power metal album which offers an accessible point of entry into Running Wild's particular aesthetic universe.

BLIND GUARDIAN Live Beyond the Spheres

Live album · 2017 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland


Blind Guardian have been at the top of the power metal game for quite some time now, having been formed as long ago as 1984, and they show no sign of slowing down just yet. A decision was taken to record all the shows from their 2015 European tour when they were promoting ‘Beyond The Red River’, and then from those gigs they selected the best versions of each song and have now released it as a triple CD set which is more than two and a half hours long! This is their third official live album, but is going to be viewed by many as their most complete due not only to its length, but that the setlist is one which includes virtually all the songs that any fan could want. Is “The Bard’s Song” on there? Of course, and “Mirror Mirror”, “And Then There Was Silence”, “Nightfall, “Wheel Of Time” – all up there are twenty-two songs on the set, all played as only Blind Guardian can play them, and performed in front of avid audiences who wanted to sing just as much as Hansi Kürsch.

These days the band may only be Hansi (vocals), André Olbrich (guitars), Marcus Siepen (guitars) and Frederik Ehmke (drums), with the line-up being completed by session musicians Barend Courbois (bass) and Mi Schüren (keyboards), but these guys are refusing to sit back and relax, and instead keep waving the power metal flag for everyone to see. When it comes to this style of music there is no-one who does it any better, and this album captures them in their native element, onstage in front of their fans. This album is simply indispensable if you like this style of music. www.nuclearblast.de

DARKTRIBE The Modern Age

Album · 2015 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Back in 2012 I reviewed an album called Mysticeti Victoria, the debut from French power metal band Darktribe. I remember being very torn about it at time, instantly impressed by the strong instrumental work and overall sound, but also a bit disappointed and frustrated, mostly due to the weak vocals and inconsistent songwriting. Nonetheless, I was excited when I discovered they had a new album coming out this year, titled The Modern Age, even more excited when I received my review copy, and that excitement had only grown by the end of my first listen, because this time around the band has taken a huge step forward, and delivered one of the most enjoyable power metal albums of the year.

The overall style of the album remains similar, though with subtle changes to the sound to improve things further. Like the debut, The Modern Age is for the most part a traditional European power metal album, filled with speedy songs, catchy melodies, and some extremely happy sounding choruses, though this time around the band has decreased the symphonic elements and instead replaced them with some very modern, at times electronic sounding keyboards. This is most noticeable in the surprisingly strong intro track “Humanizer”, but can also be heard throughout the album, often serving as a backdrop to the guitars. Speaking of which, this album has some surprisingly heavy guitar work for this kind of power metal, as well as some very good solo work, and a few tracks have subtle prog elements as well. But for the most part, this is some very catchy, ultra melodic power, which should easily please most fans of the genre. Another big improvement over the debut is the production, which sounds much clearer and more powerful compared to the debut. The guitars sound especially impressive.

Perhaps my biggest concern for Darktribe after hearing their debut, was that I didn't think Anthony Agnello was a good enough singer to carry the band. Boy was I wrong! Where before he often sounded a bit weak and unsure of himself, this time around his voice sounds much stronger, and he sounds much more confident. I think part of the problem from before may have been that he was uncomfortable singing in English, because it often sounded like he was mumbling on the debut, making it hard to comprehend the lyrics more often than not, but on this album his voice is very smooth and crystal clear the whole time, and the lyrics come through perfectly, so whatever problem he had before has clearly been dealt with. He now sounds like a perfect fit for the band, and on songs like “My Last Odyssey” and “A Last Will”, his vocals are the definite high point.

I remember saying in 2012 that the band seemed to have a hard time putting full songs together, instead having the occasional memorable section thrown into otherwise mediocre and forgettable songs for most of the album. Well, that's yet another area where they've greatly improved, because the songwriting on The Modern Age is excellent the whole way through, with no less than enjoyable tracks. There's still a ton of big highlights, though, starting with the opener “Red House of Sorrow”. This track starts off with slow and surprisingly heavy section that instantly impresses, and while the rest of the song is mostly more upbeat, the instrumental part in the middle brings back the heavy guitars from the start, and that section is perhaps my favorite moment of the entire album. The following track “My Last Odyssey” is a much more melodic and more traditional Euro power metal song, with a more noticeable keyboard presence, and a fantastic chorus, where the vocals really shine. That's probably my favorite of the speedier tracks, though other highlights include “No Train to Earth”, which sounds like it could have come from the 90's, “Rainwar” and “Anthem for a Planet”.

The first slower track on the album is actually the title track, more of a mid tempo song, which again features more keyboards, to go along with the occasional heavy riff. It's definitely one of the more progressive tracks, though the most progressive is probably “Wild Call”, which has a calm extended intro, and then it fluidly blends together fast and slow parts as it moves on. Closing track “Darkside of Imagination” is similar, except much heavier and with a darker tone. The lone ballad of the album is “Holy Water Day”, a nice enough vocal showcase, although it seems to end before it can really get going. Perhaps the oddest track is “A Last Will”, a very calm and melodic track, where the vocals really dominate. I wouldn't quite call it a ballad, though it's definitely one of the softer tracks, and I think it would sound great on the radio, so it makes sense that the band chose it as the first single. The guitar solo in the middle is absolutely fantastic, though the chorus is the highlight, and it really demonstrates how much Anthony has improved over the past three years.

When I first heard Mysticeti Victoria, I thought Darktribe had potential to be a great power metal band, but I knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. With their second release The Modern Age, they have stepped up their game in a huge way, and delivered one of catchiest and most enjoyable power metal albums of 2015 so far. Highly recommended for fans of melodic power metal, with occasional prog elements.

Note: An old review that somehow never got published, so I decided to dig it up and publish it myself.

ALTAIR Descending: A Devilish Comedy

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Sometimes I’ll hear an album from an up and coming band and think to myself that I’d better take note of them now and keep them in mind for if and when they release future albums, to make sure I’m constantly up to date with their music. One such band is Italian power metal band Altair, who released a pretty solid debut in 2013, titled Lost Eden. That album was a case where it was clear the band still had some work to do when it comes to distinguishing themselves from other bands in their field, but otherwise it was a very strong album in all areas, with solid vocals, catchy songs, great instrumental work and it had a nice variety, mixing in symphonic and prog elements to go with their main sound. After hearing that album, while I wasn’t blown away, I enjoyed it enough that I was curious to hear anything the band would do in the future, and so when I unexpectedly saw I had access to a promo for their sophomore effort, Descending: A Devilish Comedy, I was excited and immediately jumped at the opportunity to review it. Suffice to say, the band has delivered in a big way, with an album that builds on everything they had going on their debut and expands on it greatly while presenting a more clear direction for their music that helps them stand out a bit more

On Lost Eden, the band played a more traditional brand of power metal, very much focused on the melodies, and while it did have some progressive sections and some heavier parts, it never strayed too far from what fans of the genre would expect. This is not so much the case with Descending. Not much has changed with their lineup in between albums, with the only change being guitarist Gianluca Ferioli departing and being replaced by Albert Marshall, while another guitarist Gianmarco Bambini remains, to keep the dual guitar attack in place. I’m not sure whether this one change is responsible or not, but either way this is definitely a much heavier, more guitar-driven album, and while there are moments where the keyboards stand out, such as on the chorus of “Flame of Knowledge”, it’s definitely the guitars that lead the way most of the time. While the power metal elements from their debut are fully intact and there’s certainly plenty of speedy sections throughout, this time around the band has gone for a much more progressive sound, in the vein of a band like Symphony X, especially with how some of the lead riffs and solos sound. Make no mistake about it, this album features some excellent guitar work, with everything from the leads to the solos all being very impressive and there’s a ton of great extended instrumental sections. At the same time, the band has remained very good at writing songs, and there’s a nice variety here, as well as a good balance between more challenging songs like “Seven” and closer “A Lesson Before Ascending”, which requires multiple listens to fully open up, and more accessible, catchier songs like opener “Path of Worms” and lead single “Seed of Violence”, which are more immediately engaging.

While the album has some fantastic musicianship, vocals are still very important, and thankfully Simone Mala can definitely hold his own along with his bandmates and does a great job throughout the album. He has a very deep and powerful voice and can be very animated at times, adding some extra power and emotion to the songs. He also has a very impressive range, sometimes able to go much lower than a typical power metal vocalist, while at the same time also being able to hit some very high notes, and many of the songs are well written to fully take advantage of his capabilities.

The album begins with the title track, which is a fairly typical intro, using a mix of orchestral sounds, guitars, and drums. It does a nice job of building up the tension until opening song “Path of Worms” kicks in, and immediately we get some very heavy guitars, which carry on throughout the song. The track moves at a fairly fast pace throughout, and is a great introduction to the band’s new sound, as it has a mix of great riffs, powerful vocals, and an excellent chorus, as well as having some nice keyboard effects, symphonic elements and a very impressive solo section where the musicians really get to shine. On the whole, it’s a fairly straightforward track, but it does show signs of the more progressive direction the band has taken on this album. The next track “Limbo” is a bit more complicated, using some interesting keyboard sounds that help establish the theme of the track and fit in well with the dark tone of the album, and while it’s still a fast-paced track, it’s definitely a bit more complex than the opener, and it has some great instrumental work once again, as well as some more progressive arrangements.

Things get really interesting with “Seven”, easily the most complicated track on the album. Simply put, there’s a whole lot going on here, as the track starts off with a fast paced riff, before slowing down for a section where it feels like a ballad, with Simone going very low with his voice for a nice atmospheric section, and this carries on for a while before the guitars kick in and the tracks get heavier for a mid-paced section which leads into the closest thing the song has to a chorus. As the song continues on, there are several tempo changes throughout as well some great instrumental passages, with the highlight being a brief speedy section in the middle. This track does an excellent job of showing the band moving into more of a prog direction, while still maintaining some of the band’s power metal elements, and it’s definitely a highlight, though one that may take listeners a few listens to fully appreciate, due to how much is going on. After that is “Godless”, more of a mid paced track, which is full of some very heavy guitar work and is again a very progressive track, with some of Simone’s most powerful vocals on the album, and it has a very nice chorus.

Next, we have a group of more straight-forward tracks, starting with “Seed of Violence”, which is probably my favorite on the album. It starts off with a complex instrumental section, which gives way to a very heavy, super speedy first verse, and on the whole, this is a very accessible, super fast track with great lead riffs and a great chorus. This track feels like a more straight-forward power metal track, while still having some of the heaviness and prog elements of the rest of the album and it’s definitely a great pick for the first single. Similarly, “Frozen Graves” might be the heaviest on the album, with some pretty thrashy riffs, and it’s another super fast paced, fairly accessible track with an excellent chorus and some great instrumental work. In between those is “Flame of Knowledge”, a slightly calmer, more mid-paced track that still moves at a pretty good pace throughout, and is certainly the most keyboard driven track on the album. It still has some great guitar riffs though and still has a slight Symphony X feel at points during its instrumental sections, while the chorus has Simone singing some of the highest notes he sings on the entire album, and he does an excellent job as always. All three of these songs are very catchy and I think placing together like this in the middle of the album is a smart move, as it gives listeners a bit of a break in between the two complex tracks that come before them, as well as the more progressive closing track, “A Lesson Before Ascending”.

Speaking of which, that track is the most symphonic track on the album, using some orchestral elements throughout to help give it an epic feel, and it begins with an epic instrumental section, before giving way to another softer section that sounds a bit like a ballad, though this time Simone’s vocals aren’t nearly low as they are on “Seven”. It’s a mostly mid-paced track throughout, with more great instrumental passages and some excellent arrangements as always, and it has an excellent chorus as well as an excellent instrumental section near the end, which leads to a calm closing section where the orchestral elements become the main focus. It’s an excellent track overall and a great way to end the album, for sure.

Overall, Descending: A Devilish Comedy is an excellent album which takes the melodic power metal sound Altair had established on their debut and adds in some extra heaviness and a more progressive direction, to help set itself apart more from the competition. It’s a big improvement over the band’s solid debut, and has a great mix of more accessible songs and complicated songs, and is sure to please fans of prog and power metal looking for something a bit heavier and more guitar driven than the norm. I’m definitely excited to hear anything else the band does in the future.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/06/30/altair-descending-devilish-comedy-review/

ORDEN OGAN Gunmen

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Sometimes a band can change their sound in such a subtle way, that it only truly becomes noticeable over a long period, and multiple albums later. For example, when I first heard Ravenhead, the fifth full-length album from German power metal band Orden Ogan, I thought it felt like a direct continuation of their previous album To the End, and yet found myself a bit surprised to realize I was liking it slightly less. Over time, the album actually grew on me a little bit, but at the same time I came to realize that the band’s sound had indeed changed in ways that took time to notice, that I had briefly hinted at in my own review of the album two years ago, but listening to the band’s latest effort, Gunmen, due for release in July of 2017, has helped confirm that the little changes I had been noticing were indeed not my imagination, but signs of the band moving in a slightly different direction, while still keeping most of their classic elements intact. The result is another album I wouldn’t quite put up there with my all-time favorite, To the End, but it’s definitely another excellent album in a long line of them, and I think fans of Ravenhead, in particular, are going to absolutely love it.

First off, yes Gunmen is still largely the same kind of epic power metal Orden Ogan has always played, with a huge emphasis on vocal melodies, insanely epic choruses, and symphonic arrangements, so fans don’t have to worry about any major changes to the sound. In fact, I’d describe the album as falling somewhere in between the more complex sound of Easton Hope and the more straight-forward approach of Ravenhead, as it certainly has songs that are longer and more complicated than anything on the latter, but at the same time it’s also much catchier and more accessible than the former. Where the changes come in, though, more has to do with the intensity level. This is something I was noticing on Ravenhead, that at the time I had hoped would only be a temporary thing, but basically while that album still had a few of the classic, driving riffs found on albums like To the End and Easton Hope, I found that overall the tempos were a bit more restrained and the riffs weren’t hitting as hard as normal, with the band instead often relying more on mid-paced chugs that simply lacked the same power. Well, with Gunmen the band has taken this even further, as the majority of the songs here are more mid-paced throughout, mostly alternating between melodic leads, rhythm guitars and those chugging riffs, with truly killer lead riffs being few and far between. There certainly are bursts of speed on some tracks, but for the most part, the verses are rather uneventful this time around and move along at a rather plodding pace compared to some of the band’s past albums. As a result, while I love the choruses on every song, as well as the huge symphonic arrangements, choir vocals, and killer melodies, only a couple songs manage to keep me excited the whole way through, the way the band is capable of doing when they’re at their absolute best. At the same time, I can definitely understand what the band is doing here, as it feels like they’ve gone all in with the melodies and epic feel of their music, while toning down the intensity a bit, so I think it may even sound more distinct than past releases, but I guess it’s just a matter of preference, as I personally do miss the speedier tracks and higher intensity level found on To the End.

One area where the band thankfully hasn’t changed at all is the vocals. Needless to say, Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann’s singing has always been one of my favorite aspects of the band’s sound, as he has a very deep and powerful voice that stands out among power metal singers, while at the same time he’s amazing at adding in a bit of touch and pulling off some of the most melodic and epic sounding choruses ever written. Obviously, the band’s biggest strength throughout their entire career has been their ability to write some of the best choruses ever, and Seeb is a master at pulling these off. As always, there are some excellent choir vocals used throughout the album, as well as one memorable guest appearance, which I will talk about in more detail a bit later in the review.

Songwriting is the one area where I mentioned having some slight issues with the album, so let’s get to it. First up, we have the title track, which is actually a perfect opener and a much better title track than Ravenhead. It’s a western themed track which opens up with some huge orchestral arrangements, before the guitars kick in and the track speeds up, moving along at a brisk pace throughout the verses and keeping the intensity going with some great riffs, while of course the slowed down chorus is the best part, and is one of the most epic choruses the band has ever written, which is obviously saying a lot. The solo section is also really good, and overall it’s simply an amazing song that really raised my expectations for the album. The other song that really impresses me the way through is “Come With Me to the Other Side”, which opens up with a soft acoustic section featuring the beautiful voice of guest vocalist Liv Kristine, and while at first it feels like a ballad, something the band has always been great at, it quickly speeds up and becomes the fastest song on the album, with very speedy and fun verses, as well as probably the single best choruses on the entire album. Even the solo section feels particularly inspired, and overall it’s easily my favorite song on the album.

Compared to those two tracks, the rest of the album is still solid, but I find most of the other tracks to be lacking a bit in the energy department. The second single from the album, “Fields of Sorrow” is a great indication of what to expect from the album, as right from the start it opens up with some mid paced chugs, which dominate most of the track, as it’s a more restrained track that’s more about the epic feel of the music than it is about being fast or heavy. The chorus is absolutely stunning, though, and it’s a nice track overall. Likewise, tracks like “Forlorn and Forsaken”, “Ashen Rain”, and “One Last Chance” are fairly plodding during their verses, but once the huge arrangements and choruses take over, they become a ton of fun. I will single out “Ashen Rain” in particular, for being a track where I really struggle with the chugging during the verses as it can get really repetitive and boring in a hurry, yet at the same time, I really can’t fault the track become of how damn brilliant that chorus is! Really, my biggest complaint about this album is that the band just can’t quite put enough full songs together that works for me, the way they were able to on To the End and in the middle of Ravenhead and this frustrates me to no end, because I know they’re capable of doing it, but it’s like they just chose not to for some reason. The biggest example of this is the near 9 minute closing track “Finis Coronat Opus”, which starts off slow and remains mostly plodding throughout the first half, before opening up with a beautiful soft vocal section towards the end, and between this and the opening of “Come With Me to the Other Side”, I can’t help but feel the album could have used a ballad to break up some of the tedium between all these mid-paced tracks. Overall, though, the song, like the rest of the album, is solid but definitely not as strong as the band is capable of.

Moving back to the positives, “Face of Silence” is fairly fast and fun during its verses, and while I wouldn’t quite put it on the same level as the two best on the album, it’s an excellent track overall with another unforgettable chorus. Likewise, “Down Here” is a fairly paced track, with another memorable chorus, though at just over 3 minutes it does feel like it ends a bit too early. One last highlight is “Vampire in Ghost Town”, another track which stays mid-paced throughout its verses, though I find this one a bit more fun than the rest and once it speeds up for its epic chorus, it becomes a favorite. Again, not quite as strong as my two favorites on the album, but still an excellent, incredibly addictive track, and if the whole album was even as strong as that one, ignoring those two masterpiece songs, I’d be very happy.

Overall, Gunmen is probably the weakest of the last few Orden Ogan releases for me, as it has too many mid-paced tracks where I struggle to find excitement during the verses, and I miss the faster, heavier riffs of past albums like To the End and Easton Hope, but it’s still a great release overall and is sure to please fans of the band. The symphonic arrangements and choruses are as awesome as ever and the production and performances are as strong as always, so despite my complaints about the songwriting, I’d still say it’s a very high-quality release. To be honest, this is a case where if it was a different band I’d probably be more positive, but just knowing how good the band can be I feel the need to be a bit harsh, especially in a case like this where there are two songs that show the band at their absolute best, and then the rest just can’t quite measure up to those two. Still, an easy recommendation for any power metal fan looking for some great melodies and some truly spectacular choruses.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/06/22/orden-ogan-gunmen-review/

power metal movie reviews

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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