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

STRATOVARIUS Fright Night

Album · 1989 · Power Metal
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martindavey87
Like so many other early power metal bands from the 80's, it took Stratovarius a few attempts to truly find their sound, leaving this, their debut, as nothing more than a by-the-numbers speed metal album.

Credit where credit's due, band leader Timo Tolkki shows some incredible skill on the guitar with his fast-paced neoclassical runs and galloping riffs, and to handle the lead vocals on top of that is quite impressive. Sadly, the song-writing itself isn't really anything inspiring and the vocals certainly aren't kind to the ears either. A+ for effort though! I can barely play and sing 'Wonderwall' without messing up!

Lacking the keyboard-driven compositions of later releases, 'Fright Night' is really "just there". It's nothing to shout home about, and really doesn't feel like the same Stratovarius that would one day go on to conquer the genre. Still, it's a good effort that shows a band in their early stages who have yet to fully develop their own style.

Highlights include 'Future Shock', 'Witch Hunt' and 'False Messiah', although I wouldn't be upset if these were excluded from future compilations, all are about as memorable as the album itself.

SEVEN KINGDOMS Decennium

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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adg211288
American power metal act Seven Kingdoms have certainly left it a long time to come up with their fourth full-length album Decennium (2017). The follow-up to The Fire is Mine (2012), the album release marks the ten year anniversary of the band. I believe I read somewhere a few years back that the band were aiming for their next album to be released to coincide with the milestone. Don't quote me on it however, though I do have a recollection of feeling great disappointment at finding out that there were still years to wait for the follow-up to the excellent The Fire is Mine. Most bands would probably have been able to make their fourth album in the meantime and then lined up their fifth for the ten year anniversary rather than wait a whole half of their existence to release a follow-up. Finally the ten year anniversary of Seven Kingdoms is upon us, and the long wait, no matter its actual reasoning in case I dreamt that last bit, means that a lot is riding on Decennium to deliver.

Whether it does or not will really depend on what each listener is expecting or wanting to hear from it. If more of the same as The Fire is Mine sounds good to you, then Decennium is just that. It's polished yet guitar driven melodic power metal, topped off by Sabrina Valentine's excellent vocals. As far as a straight up power metal album goes you can do far, far worse than what Seven Kingdom's have served up here. It's basically like The Fire is Mine Part II, it's that similar in style. It's the kind of sound that makes me smile and it's undeniably a cut above the norm for the genre, with tracks such as In the Walls, Castles in the Snow and Neverending quickly establishing themselves as highlights. They also never resort to any balladry or slower songs, which is an area where many power metal albums trip up and lose their momentum. Just fairly hard yet melodic power metal from start to finish. In many cases for this genre, it's exactly what the doctor ordered.

However if you recall that over the course of their first three albums Seven Kingdoms were able to produce releases that each had their own identity from each other then Decennium may instead come across as a stark disappointment, as you'll find that trend has come to an end with this album. I shouldn't really be too surprised by this outcome as the band's sound has most certainly become more streamlined power metal since the debut album Brothers of the Night (2007), which featured male vocalist Bryan Edwards, gradually losing influences from melodic death metal and thrash metal, but I supposed a part of me hoped that I'd be proven wrong that this would be the case when album number four eventually arrived, especially given the amount of years the band have made their fans wait for Decennium. It leaves me with a single thought: 'they made us wait five years for this?'.

Or you could be in the middle group, which is where I find myself, where you acknowledge that both the above arguments have merit. I have to give credit where credit is due, because Decennium is a very well made power metal album, but I also have the unshakeable unfulfilled expectation of it being something more, preferably adventurous (this feels very safe) but at least something with its own feel once again. It's excellent, though perhaps a bit less memorable overall than The Fire is Mine due to the songs tending to blend into each other more. I'd even go as far to say that for a straight power metal album Seven Kingdoms have delivered a benchmark release for 2017 that others will have to beat, but that doesn't change that I've heard all their prior work and know that they can and have done better albums.

CRYONIC TEMPLE Into the Glorious Battle

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Less than four months into 2017, we already have a very strong contender for the comeback of the year! Swedish power metal band Cryonic Temple has been through some troubling times recently, after showing a ton of promise early in their career. Their first three albums were all great examples of epic power metal done right, with their 2005 release In Thy Power, in particular, showing how much potential the band had in their early days. Unfortunately, vocalist Glen Metal left the band in 2008 and was replaced by Magnus Thurin, which led to the band trying out a more aggressive, thrashy power metal sound on their fourth release, Immortal, that didn’t work well at all, and Magnus in particular stuck out like a sore thumb. I’ll be honest: I almost never dislike power metal albums, but Immortal is a rare example of such an album I really can’t stand to listen to the whole way through, due to both the vocals and lackluster songwriting. Suffice to say, I had no expectations for the band going forward, and so I’m both shocked and happy to report that roughly eight and a half years after their downfall, the band has not only returned with their fifth release, Into the Glorious Battle, but they have produced possibly their best album to date!

It’s clear the band needed some time to regroup and plan out exactly what they wanted to do after their fourth release bombed so hard, as Into the Glorious Battle feels like a different band entirely when compared against any of their previous releases. Obviously, fans of the first three albums may be disappointed, but I think it’s clear the band felt they had gone as far as they could with their old sound, which led to them experimenting and failing big time on Immortal, and so, by comparison, this album feels like they decided to rein it in a bit and go for a much more relaxed, melodic power metal sound. There’s certainly still some moments where the music gets pretty epic and there are some really impressive vocal melodies, but on the whole, this album is definitely more restrained and feels like a more traditional power metal album compared to their previous work. The guitar work is very strong throughout, though there aren’t too many heavy riffs, as the guitars are mostly used for melodic leads and solos, which are pretty much fantastic all around. This is some of the most melodic guitar work I’ve heard on a metal album in quite some time, and it’s certainly a refreshing change of pace after how rough Immortal sounded. Keyboards are also used very effectively, mostly in the background serving as atmosphere, though they do come to the front of the sound at times and sound very nice. There’s a good variety of the tracks here, with the expected up-tempo power metal tracks, as well as some more mid-paced tracks and a few ballads, and everything works out great, with all but one track fitting in perfectly, which makes sense as this is the band’s first concept album, focusing on a futuristic setting.

Obviously, the one element that had me the most nervous was the vocals. Glen Metal was a huge reason for why the band’s first three albums were so good, while Magnus Thurin was one of the main reasons why their previous album was such a failure, instantly making me wish Glen Metal was back, and so I was a bit scared the same thing could happen with new singer Mattias L. Thankfully, that is not the case. Compared to both his predecessors, Mattias has a much more relaxed vocal approach, mostly staying in mid to low range, and while he can add a lot of power when he needs to, he has a much smoother delivery than either of his predecessors, and he’s actually a big reason why this new sound works out so well. He especially excels on the calmer tracks, with his performance on the ballads being especially impressive, though he does sound excellent on the speedier tracks as well. I actually think he’s my favorite Cryonic Temple vocalist to date, though that’s more a matter of taste. In any case, he’s certainly the perfect singer for this new version of the band.

After a solid intro track, opener “Man of a Thousand Faces” kicks in and is an absolute killer track. The song has a brief orchestral intro before the excellent guitar leads kick in and the track speeds up and turns into one of the heavier, more intense tracks on the album, with great riffs during the verses, and then when chorus comes Mattias gets to show off his great voice, especially when the incredible full version of the chorus comes about 2 minutes into the song, immediately casting away any doubts that the band still has the ability to write great songs.

Next is “All the Kingsmen”, which starts off with a nice acoustic melody before the riffs take over and it turns into one of the heavier tracks on the album. It starts off mid-paced for a bit, but when the chorus kicks in it speed up and turn into a more traditional power metal track, and one that should definitely please fans of the genre. Other speedy tracks include “Mighty Eagle”, a brief but amazing track with one of the best choruses on the album, the title track, “Flying Over the Snowy Fields”, which is probably the fastest and most classic power metal sounding track on the album, “Can’t Stop the Heat” and “Heavy Burden”, which starts off as a slow, calm track before speeding up after a bit and turning into another stand out. All these tracks are excellent, with an emphasis on the great guitar work and vocals. One more somewhat speedy track that feels a bit different to me is “Mean Streak”. This is the one track of the album where melodic guitars aren’t really present, as it instead has a more classic heavy metal feel to the riffs and the chorus seems very simplistic compared to the rest of the album It’s a fun and solid track, but it feels very different. I immediately thought it was a cover track, that’s how out of place it feels, but I haven’t found anything to confirm that. Either way, it’s the one track on the album that doesn’t quite fit for me.

On the softer side, the album has three ballads in “Heroes of the Day”, “The War is Useless” and “Freedom”. Even on these tracks, there’s some great melodic guitar work, with each of them having some great solos, especially the latter as it’s a near 8-minute epic that closes the album. All three are excellent tracks and have some great vocal work from Mattias, but “The War is Useless” especially stands out for me, as it’s more of a piano led track, with some symphonic elements as well, including a lengthy orchestral section in the middle that is very nice, and it also has my favorite chorus of the three ballads. My favorite chorus on the whole album, though, is on “Prepare for War”, a mid-paced melodic metal track that speeds up a bit in an epic section towards the end. I mentioned that this album has some of the most melodic guitar work I’ve heard in quite some time, and that statement is especially true for this track, as the guitar work is just incredibly beautiful and melodic, with some of the best leads I’ve heard on a power metal track in a very long time. Easily my favorite song on the album, and probably my favorite Cryonic Temple song ever.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but needless to say Into the Glorious Battle has proven to be not only an amazing comeback from a band I once thought might be gone for good but also feels like it could be the start of a new era for Cryonic Temple. I sure hope so, as it’s a nice change into a new, more melodic sound that works great for the band, and it has some of the best guitar leads I’ve heard on a power metal album in recent memory, as well as some great vocals. Highly recommended for fans of the band who thought they were done, and for any power metal fans, especially those who prefer the lighter, more melodic side of the genre.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/04/02/cryonic-temple-glorious-battle-review/

ALDARIA Land of Light

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Back in 2001, there was a huge game-changing release that made a major impact on the power metal landscape, and ended up being a major influence on future releases: That release was The Metal Opera, created by Edguy frontman Tobias Sammet as the beginning of his own special project, Avantasia, which has gone on to be just as big a name as his main band, if not even bigger. Obviously, there had been many rock operas released before that one, and there had been many metal albums with guest appearances, but that release showed what could happen when someone brought many metal singers and musicians together and made them part of a narrative experience, without losing any of the energy or catchiness of power metal. Needless to say, the album was very well received and since then there have been many similar projects trying to recreate that success, such as Heleno Vale’s Soulspell, which remains my personal favorite, Marius Danielsen’s Legend of Valley Doom and Timo Tolkki’s Avalon. Some of these projects have been successful, while others haven’t, but suffice to say Avantasia remains the most popular and is still going strong over 16 years later.

At this point, the field has become rather crowded, with any new project needing something special to stand out. The latest artist to attempt this feat is Frode Hovd, guitarist of the lesser-known Norwegian act Memorized Dreams, with his new project Aldaria and its debut release, Land of Light. But has Frode managed to deliver something on par with his clear main inspiration, or has he fallen short? Well, the answers to that are a bit mixed, but in short: Land of Light is certainly not the game changer The Metal Opera was (nor do I think it was intended to be) and I wouldn’t quite rank it up there in terms of quality, but it’s still a damn fine release with some great guest work and some fun songs.

First off, comparisons to Avantasia are absolutely unavoidable in this case, as everything from the naming scheme to the way certain songs sound to the overall concept and even some individual lyrics, all feel like obvious nods to the German project. Perhaps the most blatant example of this comes early on, as the opening track “Another Life”, otherwise a really fun track and an excellent opener, has the line ‘Reach out for the light” as the opening of its chorus, and obviously anyone who’s heard The Metal Opera will know why that feels like more than a mere coincidence. There are obviously many other similar lyrics throughout which, intentional or not, definitely made me think of a certain album.

But anyway, aside from the obvious comparisons, there is some great music here. As expected, there’s a great variety of the tracks, with some very speedy power metal tracks, some more mid-tempo and melodic tracks, a couple ballads and a huge epic length title track to close it off. The songwriting is consistently strong all around, choruses are almost all catchy and fun, every track has memorable moments and huge vocal sections, and the overall concept, while cheesy, works out fairly well. Really, the only thing I can say about the songwriting quality is that it does at times feel very familiar, but for what Frode’s doing, he’s done a very good job of it and everything sounds great. There are some great musicians involved on the release, including keyboardist Mistheria, former Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow, Symphony X bassist Mike LePond and many others.

Obviously, vocals are very important on a metal opera, and that’s the area where Aldaria does not disappoint. There is a really huge group of guest singers on this album, far too many to list in a review, but even those I don’t recognize all sound quite good here, and obviously more well known vocalists like Rick Altzi (Masterplan), Mathias Blad (Falconer), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire) and PelleK all sound great and many songs feature several singers together, which sounds impressive. As far as metal opera casts go, Land of Light has a pretty damn solid one.

After a brief and rather cheesy intro, opening track “Another Life” kicks in, starting off with a nice classic metal riff before slowing down a bit and letting Rick Altzi carry the track for a bit. After a while, the track speeds up and we’re treated to the chorus, and while the aforementioned line is a blatant reference, the chorus itself is very epic, very catchy and gets the album off on the right track. I’m not sure who sings the chorus there, but whoever it is, he does an excellent job. There are many great vocals and instrumental sections throughout the track, and it’s a great upbeat power metal track that gets the album off to a great start. Next is “Guardians of the Light”, a more mid-tempo track with some great keyboard work. This isn’t one of my favorites on the album, though it’s still solid overall and the chorus is very fun. I don’t recognize any of the singers here, but the singer during the chorus is very animated and brings a lot of the energy to the track, and there are some pretty cool sounding death growls in there as well.

Focusing on the speedier side, some highlights include “Lost in the Darkness Below”, a very fast-paced track where PelleK and a very nice sounding female vocalist lead the way through the verses and chorus, and the track overall is a great power metal track with awesome melodies, “Test of Time” which has one of the best choruses on the album and some great vocals from Tommy Reinxeed Johansson, mostly showing his lower register, which is a nice change of pace from his normal vocals and sounds great, “Where Reality Ends” which has another great chorus and perhaps the best vocal section on the album and “From the Ashes”, which has some of the more animated vocals on the album and another excellent chorus.

On the softer side, we have two ballads in “Sands of Time” and “Trail of Tears”. Both are very nice tracks with some great vocals and nice melodies, the former being a duet between Vasilis Georgiou (Black Fate,) his soft and expressive voice reminding me a lot of Roy Khan as usual, and Mina Giannopoulou, who has a very pleasant voice that fits the track wonderfully, while the latter is sung entirely by Falconer frontman Mathias Blad, sounding brilliant as always with his ever smooth and wonderful theatrical style. Lastly, “Answers in a Dream” is a fairly light mid-paced keyboard driven track, which serves as a nice lead-in to the grand finale, the near 12-minute epic title track. As expected, this track goes through many stages, starting off fairly slow and calm with an excellent chorus sung by the ever prolific and always great Fabio Lione, There are many other great singers on this track including Dragony’s Siegfried Samer and Dragonland’s Jonas Heidgert. The track speeds up a bit as it goes along and there are certainly some very memorable passages to be found. It’s a great song overall, making great use of its many guests and it certainly serves as a worthy finale for the album.

Overall, Land of Light is a very strong debut, with some excellent guest vocalists and musicianship, plenty of fun and memorable tracks, and it serves a nice start for Aldaria. Hopefully, Frode Hovd will continue with this project in the future and work towards separating it just a bit more from the competition, as my only real criticism here is that while everything sounds great and the songwriting is consistently solid, there really are a lot of times where it reminds me of other metal operas. Still, for fans of this style and for power metal fans in general, this is an album I can easily recommend.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/03/27/aldaria-land-light-review/

STORMHAMMER Welcome to the End

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Even as a huge fan of the genre, there are always going to be some bands I miss along the way, one such example being German power metal band Stormhammer, who I hadn’t heard of until their 2015 release Echoes of a Lost Paradise, despite the band being around for over two decades up to that point, and having released four albums previously. That release was fairly solid, if a bit standard at times, and I found the heavier moments were generally the most interesting, and that proves to be even more the case on their upcoming sixth full-length release, Welcome to the End, another solid release that shows potential towards being excellent at times, but doesn’t quite get there.

I don’t remember too much about Echoes of a Lost Paradise, except that it was a fairly heavy power metal album at times, and that the riffs tended to be the most memorable parts of the tracks. Welcome to the End is similar in that regard, though I find it does have more memorable songs overall and it has a nice variety between tracks. This is very much on the harder hitting side of power metal for most of the album, and it also has occasional elements of classic heavy metal on some tracks, and obviously there’s quite a bit of thrash influence in the guitar work at times. The vocal melodies are solid, though I find the best tracks are the ones that strike a nice balance between the thrash riffs and big melodic power metal choruses, and those tracks tend to be excellent. Otherwise, the instrumental work is solid all around and the production is solid, though not a lot stands out on the slower and less aggressive tracks.

Vocally, Jürgen Dachl does a pretty solid job throughout and he can vary his voice quite a bit. He usually sounds a bit rough, but with a powerful voice that fits the music well, and he can do a very good job of carrying the more melodic sections and choruses. Sometimes he sings with a really deep voice that sounds a bit cheesy, though it still works in a weird kind of way. There are also many sections where he reminds me a bit of Hansi Kürsch, except his voice sounds a bit rougher and not quite as smooth. I especially notice this on “Watchmen”, which is probably my favorite track on the album, and the track where I think Jürgen sounds at his best.

The songwriting is where the album struggles a little bit, though it’s still mostly good. Opening track “Northman” is a solid track that I wouldn’t call overly speedy, though it moves along at a decent pace and it has some good thrashy riffs and powerful vocals. Next is the title track, a rather slow to mid-paced track which has more of those thrashy riffs during the verses and very deep vocals, though for me this track kinda drags for the most part, with only the fast paced and fun chorus being particularly enjoyable. Following that is “The Heritage”, one of the more heavy metal influenced tracks on the album. It starts off with a calm, slower passage before speeding up a bit and leading to a section with solid backing vocals from guest Natalie Pereira dos Santos, and then the chorus has a very melodic guitar line that feels straight out of a classic heavy metal track and is actually the highlight of the track. A very solid track on the whole, with some obvious Iron Maiden influence.

The rest of the album mostly varies between the three different styles, though the power metal elements are the most prevalent throughout. Some of my favorites include “Watchmen”, a mostly mid-paced track with some very thrashy riffs during the verses and a very catchy addictive chorus, “Soul Temptation”, one of the faster paced tracks and one where the thrash elements dominate during the verses and the chorus is very melodic, and the speedy, classic power metal tracks “Road to Heaven” and “The Law”. The latter of these is the longest song on the album and has a very epic feel to me, as well as one of the best choruses on the album. The only track I’m not overly fond of is “My Dark Side”, a power ballad where Jürgen uses his deeper vocals, but while they work fine elsewhere, here they sound comically bad and feel terribly out of place, which brings the track down. The chorus is actually quite good, but those deep vocal sections are just very strange and off-putting. The rest of the tracks are solid, if unremarkable, with “Black Dragon” in particular being a little bit underwhelming for a closing track. It has a nice chorus, but otherwise, it just feels a bit bland and forgettable.

Overall, Welcome to the End is a solid album which features a nice blend between speedy, melodic power metal and some aggressive thrash riffs, along with occasional heavy metal elements. It has a couple weaker tracks and I wouldn’t consider it an album of the year contender or anything, but it’s still a solid album overall and one I’d recommend to power metal fans looking for something a bit heavier and who don’t require all songs to be really fast. Hopefully, Stormhammer can develop this sound further on future releases and produce something even better in the future.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/03/22/stormhammer-welcome-end-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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