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

KAMELOT Dominion

Album · 1997 · Power Metal
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martindavey87
The band’s debut 'Eternity', despite being nothing more than standard 90's power metal, had some pretty cool moments in there. Unfortunately their follow-up album, 'Dominion', is more-or-less the same thing, only with all-round weaker and less memorable songs.

However, with that said, there are two highlights for me, which is 'Song of Roland' and 'We Are Not Separate'. At this point both of these songs are stronger than anything else Kamelot recorded on this album or its predecessor. Sadly they're just not enough to save the whole album from being anything more than "good".

An all-round good power metal album, not really for anyone other than Kamelot diehards though. The best is yet to come.

3 INCHES OF BLOOD Battlecry Under a Winter Sun

Album · 2002 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
With heavy galloping guitar riffs right out of the 80s came Victoria, BC’s answer to 80s power metal for a new millennium leaving no influential rock unreturned and shamelessly tethering it to their underbellies to unleash the anthem metal fury of a time gone by. While heavily fortified with every New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound possible with Maiden-esque guitar gallops, dungeon and dragon fantasies of early Dio, US power metal gusto reminding me of Brocas Helm or Manilla Road, the feisty band 3 INCHES OF BLOOD meant business taking their passion for the art to points of well…. ridiculousness!

Forming in 1999 and unleashing their debut BATTLECRY UNDER A WINTER SUN in 2002, the band quickly found a newfound niche in cleverly crafting their NWOBHM approach with the unexpected lo-fi production values and occasional demon shrieking of black metal courtesy of the duo vocal machines of Jamie Hooper who handles the demon parts and Cam Pipes who does his best intermediate version of Rob Halford and King Crimson.

The duo succeed in screaming their throats out as the duo guitar attack and bass and drum punishment tackle the epic battles in fantasy lands worshipping everything 80s epic with a more darkened image update in a punkish black metal lo-fi approach. Approaching this album left me with a less than lackluster expectation as this band seems to get little respect, is rated rather poorly and after all, hasn’t there been enough genuine metal from the 80s without a need for nostalgic retread?

Well, lo and behold i was quite surprised how easily i digested this little raucous romp through the feisty curiosos as they channeled the greats of yesteryear. While this is hardly the most original amalgamation of sounds ever composed it certainly has a decent entertainment value as it brings to mind various great bands of the past but yet doesn’t sound exactly like any of them.

Pockmarked with pummeling speed and power metal gallops, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD’s debut album is a retro stampede into the world of Orcs, chaotic thrones and blazing fires. Laced with addictive riffs and screaming dueling vocalists often rendered audibly inseparable, BATTLECRY UNDER THE WINTER SUN is a surprisingly listenable journey into the retro promised lands that deliver all the expected skeletal onslaughts and curses of lighthouse keepers.

CHRIS CAFFERY W.A.R.P.E.D.

Boxset / Compilation · 2005 · Power Metal
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martindavey87
Chris Caffery is back with his (sort of) second solo album, which perfectly demonstrates why I consider him one of the most underrated metal musicians in the world.

Boasting 15 tracks, of which only six can be truly considered new, nine of these songs were already released on the ‘God Damn War’ bonus disc included with Caffery’s debut release, ‘Faces’, the previous year. Do not despair, however, for these six new songs (the actual "new" ones) alone more than make this album a worthy purchase.

Offering up some ultra-brutal guitar riffs and spiteful lyrics, 'W.A.R.P.E.D.' picks up right where its predecessor left off, delving further into hate-filled misanthropy and anti-war sentiments than before. Each composition gives a firm, middle finger to the world leaders who are more intent on endless, senseless violence. And it's this anger that has lent inspiration to some true gems, such as 'God Damn War', 'Election Day', 'Edge of Darkness', 'I', 'Head of the State' and the title track.

Criminally underrated as a guitarist, a vocalist and a songwriter, Caffery has once again delivered a metal album that packs a punch (or a kick to the balls), and shows what fans of the "mainstream" are missing out on. Nobody truly knows what heavy metal is until they’ve heard a Chris Caffery album.

KAMELOT Eternity

Album · 1995 · Power Metal
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martindavey87
This is a fairly decent debut album by Kamelot, who at the time were nothing more than a generic power metal band. Progressive elements seen in later albums are rare and discreet, and the band are yet to develop a lot of the more exotic flavors heard in their later songs. But overall, there are still some great compositions on this record.

There are very few keyboard parts and the musicianship is nowhere near that of most prog/power metal bands, but that doesn't prevent a few memorable riffs popping up, such as 'Eternity' and 'The Gleeman', and 'Etude Jongleur is a nice, though short, melodic passage.

There isn't really much else to say about this album to be honest. If you're a fan of Kamelot then it's worth getting, and I think it's generally worth picking up for anyone if you can find it cheap somewhere. Kamelot didn't really hit their stride until keyboards became a more primary instrument and with the addition of vocalist of Roy Khan (who, if you're already a Kamelot fan prior to buying this album, you'll definitely notice his absence), but this still holds up well as a look at a young band who will definitely go on to better things.

GAMMA RAY Majestic

Album · 2005 · Power Metal
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adg211288
Often overlooked next to the albums released between 1995 – 2001, Majestic (2005) is the eighth full-length studio album by German power metal act Gamma Ray. Bringing to a close what had been the Kai Hansen led group's longest stretch between studio albums, it is probably fair to say that Majestic isn't quite the genre classic that Land of the Free (1995), Somewhere Out in Space (1997), Power Plant (1999) and No World Order (2001) are, but it's easily the band's next best album.

Hansen and co get the album going full throttle right off the bat with My Temple. Fast, heavy power metal riffs that are well produced and full of energy; just the thing that fans of the genre expect to hear. Like many power metal albums there are some heavy metal elements too that add some variation to the tempo, but overall Majestic is close to being a pure power metal release. Hansen's distinctive vocals are instantly recognisable, as usual perhaps a bit of an acquired taste, but by this point it really wouldn't be Gamma Ray without his signature style, no disrespect meant to the work of Ralf Scheepers on the first three Gamma Ray albums of course. And he serves up many memorable choruses on Majestic that keep the album's tracks stuck in your head upon its conclusion. My Temple is just the first of these. There's also Hell is Thy Home and Condemned to Hell, to name a couple.

It's definitely a fair conclusion to call Majestic a typical sounding Gamma Ray album, but why try to fix a winning formula that isn't broken? That's right, there is no point. It's also true that this album doesn't serve up tracks that will go down alongside the likes of Rebellion in Dreamland, Beyond the Black Hole, Land of the Free and Anywhere in the Galaxy as Gamma Ray's very best songs, but what the album does have is ten very good songs that consistently deliver all the classic Gamma Ray elements for about fifty-five minutes. What more to you really want from a power metal album? More to the point, at the time of Majestic's release it had been fifteen years since the debut Gamma Ray album Heading for Tomorrow (1990) and twenty years since Kai Hansen fronted the first Helloween album Walls of Jericho (1985) yet here he is turning out hard hitting power metal with his group in such a fashion that most young bands can only hope to match. He's not called the Godfather of Power Metal for nothing!

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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