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
4.50 | 117 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
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4.48 | 122 ratings
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SABATON Heroes Album Cover Heroes
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4.80 | 7 ratings
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
MINDMAZE
4.67 | 10 ratings
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ETERNITY'S END Unyielding Album Cover Unyielding
ETERNITY'S END
4.90 | 5 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
HELLOWEEN
4.45 | 97 ratings
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
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SEVEN KINGDOMS Brothers of the Night Album Cover Brothers of the Night
SEVEN KINGDOMS
4.72 | 7 ratings
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TRIOSPHERE The Heart of the Matter Album Cover The Heart of the Matter
TRIOSPHERE
4.71 | 7 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
ARMORY
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NIGHTMARE The Dominion Gate Album Cover The Dominion Gate
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4.80 | 5 ratings
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LOVEBITES Electric Pentagram Album Cover Electric Pentagram
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4.80 | 5 ratings
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power metal Music Reviews

BLIND GUARDIAN Beyond the Red Mirror

Album · 2015 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
This 2015 album was the tenth studio release from Blind Guardian, and the first since ‘At The Edge of Time’ some five years earlier and is a concept and sequel to 1995’s ‘Imaginations From The Other Side’. Although Blind Guardian made their name initially in the same speed metal area as fellow countrymen Helloween, over the years they had moved both into power metal and in producing bombastic albums with a series of guests. This is no different, in that outside the core quartet of Hansi Kürsch (vocals), André Olbrich (guitars), Marcus Siepen (guitars) and Frederik Ehmke (drums) they not only have a new session bassist in Barend Courbois but also have two orchestras, three choirs and more.

The result is something which is massively over the top, bombastic, but also for some reason feels quite compressed. There is a lot going on at times, but one does not really get the epic feel that Blind Guardian are looking for as instead there is the feeling of everything being squashed together. It can be quite smothering at times as there is just no space for movement. I have heard quite a lot of Blind Guardian over the years and while never being a huge fan have never really disliked their music either, and that is the case again with this one. It is interesting, but there just is not enough freedom in the music for it ever to be anything special as it has been produced to within an inch of its life. Some people have stylised this as symphonic metal, but it certainly isn’t that, it is bombastic power metal which is attempting to become ever more so. That it does not reach the heights it is reaching for is another matter altogether. Possibly looking at it from five years on as opposed to reviewing it after there had been such a long gap between albums had some impact on my feelings, but there again maybe not.

HELLOWEEN United Alive In Madrid

Live album · 2019 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
During conversations within Helloween about how to best celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band, it was apparent that it wouldn’t really be appropriate to have celebrations without the involvement of two key members, Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske. Now, founder guitarist Hansen left in 1988 while vocalist Kiske left in 1993, so what to do? Easy, invite them back and have a three-guitar twin lead singer set-up. It’s not the first time a band has ever tried to do this, as everyone who loves Yes will remember with the aptly titled ‘Onion’ (copyright Rick Wakeman). But there is some precedent for success; when Bruce was invited back into Maiden, he said he would only come back if Adrian could come as well, but what would happen to Janick? Easy, turn Maiden into a three-guitar line-up for the first time in their history and they are playing and recording better than ever. So, what would Helloween sound like?

Forget the comic book past, Helloween belong in one place, onstage. With great rock singers trading lines and challenging each to do better, three guitars filling the sound, one can only imagine bassist Markus Grosskopf and guitarist Michael Weikath pinching themselves that they were again sharing the stage with their old friends like they used to in the Eighties. There is no doubt that is an album which is indispensable for all their fans, as the band are out to have fun, and so are the crowd. With the right people onstage, they work though their whole career, having an absolute blast. The very first Helloween single I purchased, more than 30 years ago, was “I Want Out”. Here they tear it to pieces, and the crowd is with them all the way. If you want to hear what this is like, then check out the YouTube video of them ripping Wacken a new one.

It is hard to fault this album. Helloween may not have really stood up to the promise of their first three or four albums, but they kept at it over the years, and it is in the live environment where they really shine. With the introduction of a second top quality rock screamer, and becoming a three-guitar line-up, Helloween appear rejuvenated and the crowd are certainly lapping it up. This live album (and Blu-ray) captures a band in their element on tour back in 2017, headlining Wacken, Rock Fest Barcelona and Masters of Rock, as well as with Iron Maiden at the Sweden Rock Festival and Firenze Rocks. The only reason they have yet to go back into the studio is because they were asked to step in for Megadeth when Mustaine’s ill health caused them to drop out of some shows. The next studio album will show if the new version can produce a return to major form, but until then, this is a live set and line-up fans never thought could happen.

HELLOWEEN My God-Given Right

Album · 2015 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
I still remember the impact Helloween’s debut album ‘Walls of Jericho’ made back in 1985, and when they followed it up with the ‘Keeper’ albums the world literally was their oyster. They may have produced one of the worst album titles and covers of all time, ‘Pink Bubbles Go Ape’, but they have been incredibly consistent in both output and line-up (although they did misplace two key members in Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen). When this album was released in 2015 it still featured two founder members, and everyone involved had been in the band for at least 10 years. This is one of those Helloween albums when it does exactly what it says on the tin, namely one expects cheesy over the top commercial power metal with plenty of fast passages, strong vocals and an impression that the band and the fans are sharing the same joke. It is as if grunge never happened, with black, thrash and death metal all taking themselves way too seriously and instead they are going to repeat “We’re going to stay crazy” (in “Stay Crazy”) until everyone else finds themselves doing exactly the same thing.

It is comic book, commercial, and everything one expects from Helloween. Will it set the world alight like their first three albums? No. Will it gain them any new fans? Only if they haven’t heard anything else so newbies use this as an introduction and work backwards. Will it please their fanbase? Oh yes, this is Helloween through and through. After playing it I can’t remember any of the songs, but while it was on I was smiling and it was an enjoyable romp. If I am going to choose any Helloween from the groaning racks it will be the early albums as opposed to this, but it certainly sits in well with their output over the years.

MOB RULES Beast Over Europe

Live album · 2019 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
Named of course after the Black Sabbath album, in some ways it is strange to think that Mob Rules have now been going for more than 20 years, with ‘Savage Land’ coming out in 1999. Recorded on the ‘Beast Reborn’ tour, this is the band’s first live album, capturing their new guitarist Florian Dyszbalis. Apart from some niggly issues with the second guitarist role, the band has been incredibly stable over the last ten or so years, while of course singer Klaus Dirks has been there since the very beginning back in 1994. It must be said I prefer my live albums to sound as if they were all recorded straight from the desk, no overdubs or corrections, with audience sound captured on ambient microphones, so I can imagine myself there in the crowd. Yes, I know there are very few live albums released like that, but I can live with knowing bad notes will have been corrected in the studio (and in the case of ‘Live & Dangerous’, one of the truly great live albums of all time, there are still arguments over how much of that was truly live, with producer Visconti saying 75% of it was in the studio), but I hate live albums where there are fades between songs. Guess what we have here…

Putting that to one side, Mob Rules are on form, with singer Dirks in very fine voice indeed. Although they are a power metal band, they use keyboards more than many, but never to the extent to move them out of the genre. The real issue with Mob Rules is rarely in the performance but more often in the quality of the songs themselves, and such is the case here. It is an enjoyable listen, well recorded and produced, but there is little or nothing here which makes me want to come back to it time and again. The album makes me smile, and I enjoyed listening to it, and would certainly go and see the band if they were ever in my area (somewhat unlikely even before the coronavirus), but can’t imagine turning back to it time and again through choice. Fan of the band and of the genre itself will undoubtedly get a great deal from this, but it veers more to the “okay” end of the spectrum than “essential”

DYNAZTY The Dark Delight

Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
With some albums, my expectations going in, based either on early release singles, previous releases from the band, or a combination of both, can end up being either a bit too high or a bit too low, with the resulting album either blowing me away beyond expectation or falling a bit short. And then there are albums like, The Dark Delight, by Swedish melodic metal band Dynazty, where I immediately have a feeling something special’s coming, and the end result ends up being everything I was expecting, and more! To be fair, this is hardly my first rodeo with Dynazty, as I’ve been a fan of the band since their outstanding fourth release, Renatus, and also greatly enjoyed their two most recent releases, Titanic Mass and Firesign, so just knowing they had a new album coming this year was enough to get me excited. As soon as I heard the lead single, “Presence of Mind”, though, I immediately had the feeling this could be their best album to date, and after giving The Dark Delight several listens, I can safely say: I was right!

At this point, Dynazty has their current sound completely mastered, now four albums into this phase (as well as being seven albums into their career), so fans of the previous few albums should have a good idea of what to expect. The same mix of hard-hitting guitars, uplifting melodies, and huge, catchy choruses is still fully intact, with Rob Love Magnusson delivering some of his grooviest riffs to date, with the lead melodies and solos particularly impressive. That’s not to say Love has all the fun as Mike Laver is also very prominent on this album, the pairing between the two works very very well.

There’s great use of the keys as well. They had already been used a lot on Firesign, and if anything this album places a bigger emphasis on them, with a lot of the tracks having some strong trance beats and melodies, as well as the occasional use of more ambient keys. And of course, Nils Molin’s vocals are every bit as smooth, powerful and epic as always, with him slaying it on some of the band’s best choruses to date. His performance alternates between calm, emotional and very intense throughout the album, and he does so fluidly and perfectly, as always.

One element that has been reduced quite a bit on this album is the band’s power metal sound. There are still traces of it at times, most notably on “Paradise of the Architect” and “Apex”, but a lot of the tracks fall on the slower side. Usually, I’d consider this a disappointment, but the songwriting still manages to be varied enough, with a mix of some very heavy tracks, some softer tracks, many that blend both together seamlessly, and even a couple more surprising tracks. More importantly, though: Every track is fantastic. On Firesign, it felt like the heaviness had been dialled back a bit, but that isn’t the case this time around, as this has some of the band’s heaviest material yet, while also having some of their best melodies and choruses, as well as some excellent calmer sections. While the power metal elements are reduced, they’re still fantastic whenever they show up, so I feel the band has struck a perfect balance between all aspects of their music. The sound production is perfect, as always, and performances are amazing across the board.

While Dynazty albums always deliver when it comes to the overall sound and performances, The Dark Delight is especially impressive when it comes to the actual songs. There are no songs here I wouldn’t consider perfect, so much so that even trying to pick favourites is nearly impossible, with one exception. Kicking things off in style is lead single “Presence of Mind”, which opens up softly, with a brief tease at its killer chorus, before the guitars kick in, and the song settles into a nice groove, with some very heavy guitar work, and a nice rhythm, The verses are very fun and go by quickly, while the chorus is awe-inspiring, with a combination of excellent lyrics, incredible melodies and of course a flawless vocal performance from Molin. Even the narration in the middle is interesting enough to keep my attention, and the solo section that follows is quite epic. Overall, this song is incredible, and the first time I heard it, I just had a feeling this album had a strong chance of being my favourite yet, from Dynazty.

Thankfully, the rest of the album very much lives up to that stunning opener, with the following track “Paradise of the Architect” in particular picking up the pace, and delivering more of an epic symphonic power metal sound, with some nice symphonic keys, speedier tempos, more hard-hitting riffs, and another unbelievably catchy chorus, with some excellent vocals melodies, and nice use of trance keys. Next is “The Black”, a slow, but very hard-hitting track, with more epic keys, especially during the rather calm, slow-building verses, while the chorus is once again spectacular. The highlight, though, comes from some spectacular guitar work in the second half, with one of the band’s heaviest riffs to date, followed by a beautiful, very technically proficient solo section. Initially, “From Sound to Silence” seems like a fairly typical track, moving at a moderate pace, with a nice mix of atmospheric keys, hard-hitting guitars and a very melodic and catchy, if slightly subdued, chorus, but the second verse features some very intense and powerful growls, which add an element of surprise and help lift an already great track to new heights, while the solo section has a slight folk feeling and is also quite epic. The lone ballad on the album is “Hologram”, and as expected from Dynazty, it’s fantastic. It alternates between some very light keys and some beautiful acoustic guitar work, with Molin leading the way with some very soft, yet also very emotional and powerful vocals. He starts calmly and gets more intense as the track goes on, with the bridge, in particular, featuring some fantastic high notes, while other parts of the track have him singing at his lowest, and so the track does a perfect job of demonstrating his huge range. There’s also a gorgeous guitar solo in the second half, while the final run through the chorus is stunning.



After some slower tracks, the band speeds things up again with second single “Heartless Madness”, a very trance infused, up-tempo track, which also happens to be quite possibly the catchiest metal song I’ve ever heard! It moves along at a fast pace throughout, with the keys and vocals leading the way through the verses, while the chorus has a very bouncy, slightly pop-infused feel to it, but it’s just so damn catchy, while also being incredibly melodic, and having some outstanding vocal melodies. The highlight of the track, though, is the seamless transition from the second chorus, straight into a very nice melodic guitar solo, which features some of the best guitar work on the album. Overall, this track is by far my favourite song released in 2020, so far, and one of the absolute best melodic metal songs I’ve ever heard.

While the first two singles were absolute barn-burners, the third single “Waterfall” is slightly more laid back, but still awesome, in its way. It’s a fairly slow-paced, very melodic track, and it places a huge emphasis on trance keys, which are very much the driving force throughout the track. The verses are very quiet and calm, while the chorus opens up a bit, with more outstanding melodies, and while it’s one of the more laid back choruses, it’s still excellent, as always. The keys are the main focus here, as well as the unsurprisingly excellent guitar solo in the second half. Another very keyboard-driven track is “Threading the Needle’, the longest track here, clocking in at just under 6 minutes. It has some very light, atmospheric keys during the verses, which are slow and methodical, while the chorus is quite loud and epic, as usual. The song is excellent throughout, though the solo section is the highlight, with more outstanding riffs, as well as a great extended guitar solo. Another lighter track is “The Man and the Elements”, though this one is actually very guitar-driven, with some excellent lead melodies, which give the track slight a folk feeling, while the keys have a very symphonic feeling, which helps give the song an epic feel, especially the during the chorus, where the pace picks up slightly, without fully speeding up. It’s a fun track throughout, with the chorus, in particular, being very epic and catchy, and the instrumental section is quite awesome, as usual.

Moving towards the end of the album, one of the most intense tracks here is “Apex”. It again has a strong trance feel to it, with some very modern sounding keys, but it also has some very dark, sinister-sounding guitar work, as well as some crushing riffs. It’s a pretty fast-paced track, with the chorus alternating between a fast, very melodic buildup, followed by an equally fast, but very aggressive and powerful ending, which very much brings some of the best tracks from Renatus to mind. From heavy to soft we go, with “The Road to Redemption” being easily the most unique track on the album. It starts out very calmly, with some very light, but beautiful guitar work during the verses, as well as having a unique vibe, falling somewhere between country and southern rock. The pace picks up slightly during the chorus, though, which is very epic, and there are some heavy sections towards the end, during both a very epic bridge, with some stunning vocals, as well as an equally impressive final run through the chorus. While I suspect some fans may be turned off by the first half of the track, I actually quite love it, as it’s a very welcome change of pace, and I think the band pulled it off perfectly. Overall, it’s yet another perfect track. Closing out the album is the title track, and it’s yet another track which alternates wonderfully between some heavy, dark guitar work, and some very light, trance infused keys. It’s a fairly mid-paced track, with subdued verses and a very epic, powerful chorus, with Molin getting especially intense towards the end, closing the album out in spectacular fashion.

When I first heard Renatus, I was simultaneously blown away, while also a bit nervous about whether or not Dynazty could top that, or even match it. While their previous two releases didn’t quite reach those same heights, they were still excellent, and now with The Dark Delight, the band has delivered another masterpiece, with some of their absolute best songs to date. Fans of the band are almost guaranteed to be pleased with this release, while anyone looking for some excellent melodic metal with a mix of heavy guitar work, excellent use of trance keys, slight power metal elements and a spectacular vocal performance, is highly recommended to give this a listen, as I don’t see any similar bands putting out a better album than this any time soon!

Originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2020/03/29/dynazty-the-dark-delight-review/

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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