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

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
4.52 | 113 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
JUDAS PRIEST
4.49 | 117 ratings
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SABATON Heroes Album Cover Heroes
SABATON
4.80 | 7 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I
HELLOWEEN
4.47 | 92 ratings
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BLIND GUARDIAN Somewhere Far Beyond Album Cover Somewhere Far Beyond
BLIND GUARDIAN
4.47 | 51 ratings
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LOVEBITES Awakening from Abyss Album Cover Awakening from Abyss
LOVEBITES
4.61 | 11 ratings
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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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3 INCHES OF BLOOD Fire Up the Blades Album Cover Fire Up the Blades
3 INCHES OF BLOOD
4.68 | 8 ratings
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NIGHTMARE The Dominion Gate Album Cover The Dominion Gate
NIGHTMARE
4.80 | 5 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
ARMORY
4.68 | 6 ratings
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TRIOSPHERE The Heart of the Matter Album Cover The Heart of the Matter
TRIOSPHERE
4.67 | 6 ratings
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
MINDMAZE
4.52 | 11 ratings
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power metal Music Reviews

SABATON The Last Stand

Album · 2016 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
Just two years after their last studio album, Sabaton were back in 2016 with ‘The Last Stand’. Although not a concept album per se, all of the songs take inspiration from “last stand” military battles. The title song is about the Stand of the Swiss Guard , which took place during the sacking of Rome on May 6th, 1527, when the Pope's Swiss guards held off troops loyal to the Habsburgs long enough for Pope Clement to escape. “Rorke’s Drift” is, surprisingly enough, about the Battle for Rorke’s Drift while “Last Dying Breath” is about the Serbian defence of Belgrade. The album starts off as solidly as one would expect from Sabaton – there are rarely going to be many surprises, this band is Ronseal, they do exctaly what it says on the tin.

But, third track in, and I was just blown away by “Blood of Bannockburn”, as this is not only at a faster pace than quite a few Sabaton songs, but it is incredibly commercial with hooks aplenty. They are renowned for writing songs for fans to sing along with, but this is insane, and I love it! This high energy and pitch is then thrown into disarray with the next song being a spoken piece from an unknown soldier in World War II, with some music behind. This really throws the album into stark relief, almost as if Sabaton are saying that they know that the previous song was fairly light-hearted in its approach, yet war and battle is always something to be taken seriously, and puts the listener back down quite hard. Overall, this is yet another incredibly epic album from Sabaton, one that hits absolutely every single mark. This was the final release to feature Thobbe Englund, who left after its completion, but he departed after yet another amazing release. These guys are at the very top, and show no sign of falling.

SABATON Heroes

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
This 2014 release was the first since the stunning ‘Swedish Empire Live’ set the previous year. For me that was Sabaton at their stunning and pummelling best, so I was always intrigued to understand if they had managed to keep up the pace and power when back in the studio, but I needn’t had worried. In some ways Sabaton have a very simple formula, research battles or wars and use that as a basis for the lyrics, pit that against crunching power metal with a few keyboards and an over the top choir to provide backing vocals and that’s it. Simple, eh? Well, if it was that simple then they would have been copied for years, but as it is the Swedes are a long way ahead of any pack that are daft enough to try to chase them. Hannes Van Dahl is as solid as a rock at the back, but also knows how to drive the band forward in a manner not too dissimilar to the mighty Gene Hoglan. He ties in with Pär Sundström to create the foundation of the sound, a driving rumble that allows guitarists Thobbe Englund and Chris Rörland to either keep on the riff, solo independently or together. They are sometimes just keeping it tight and piledriver Judas Priest heavy, and at others they are playing around the melodies. Added to that are the keyboards and incredible vocals of Joakim Brodén, whose voice seems to be as broad as it is deep, so that one feels that one can saddle the notes coming out of his throat and go for a ride. Add to that the choir providing the perfect backdrop, and yet again this album is a real thing of beauty.

Sabaton have proved to be incredibly consistent since they released their debut back in 2006, taking power metal, blending it with some symphonic elements, and then mixing it into a whole new level. Simply put, there is no-one else quite like Sabaton, and that in itself is quite a statement. It may have taken me too many years to get across this album, but I am so very glad that I did, and if you enjoy metal then you should too.

RHAPSODY OF FIRE Legendary Tales

Album · 1997 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Known as the pioneers of fusing power and symphonic metal into epic fantastical journeys, Luca Turilli and Alex Staropoli created their progressive neoclassical driven band all the way back in 1993 in Trieste, Italy under the moniker Thundercross before finally changing it to the more familiar RHAPSODY, only then to be altered once again to RHAPSODY OF FIRE in 2006 due to trademark issues. Really? It took someone ten years to figure out they didn’t deserve the name? Geez.

Riding in the wake of power metal bands like Helloween, Running Wild and Blind Guardian, RHAPSODY was all about fantastical voyages into the world of mythical creatures, wily wizards and the eternal battle of good and evil and their debut album LEGENDARY TALES the band began the lengthy and never-ending epic journey into their high fantasy musical world of “The Emerald Sword Saga” which spanned over five albums ending with “Power Of The Dragonflame.”

Fantasy and mythology are nothing new in metal of course and traverses throughout the entire metal universe with bands like Summoning devoting their entire subject matter to Tolkien inspired themes. RHAPSODY took a similar approach only changing things around a bit to create their own mystical folklore that finds the similar Middle Earth approach between the battle of good and evil in a glorious bravado.

The album takes the frenetic energy infused riffing of power metal and applies rich symphonic and emotionally dense segments that include flutes, recorders, harpsichord, violins, cello, mandolin and a rich eight piece choir (tagged as the Choir Of Immortals) along with the expected metal instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and classic operatic over-the-top vocals. The sheer scope of the journey is performed with technical wizardry and easily takes the listener to the epic lands far away from the reality we experience in the here and now.

Yeah, power metal can be a bit cheesy at times but when it’s done right, it is grand and intense. The problem usually arises in that the band in question doesn’t quite have the chops to pull off their visions. RHAPSODY is chock full of virtuosic talent focused on Luca Turilli’s speed-drenched guitar wizardry, Alex Staropoli’s keyboard gymnastics and excellently constructed compositions that focus on all aspects of the music without any particular style or genre stealing the show. These guys have mastered the art of musical foreplay and climax like few others in the metal world yet deliver all the metal goods in ample doses.

While the metal riffs are primarily based on 80s Manowar taken to more ambitious extremes, the neoclassical solos reminisce of Yngwie Malmsteen’s classically charged shred wankery. The keyboards on the other hand exist in a neo-Baroque universe that compliment the guitar segments but often find moments of expressing unadulterated J.S.Bach glory. Mountains of melody emerge through carefully constructed flute and recorders while choirs caress the soundscape with harmonic bliss.

RHAPSODY’s debut LEGENDARY TALES truly took metal’s most virtuosic and ambitious aspects to new heights with outstanding musical performances within perfectly drawn out journeys that fleshed out emotional depth with a stellar performance by vocalist Fabio Lione whose vocal range shatters glass when on fire and yet carries a perfectly calm demeanor when poetic prose is in order. It’s no wonder RHAPSODY has been so successful starting from this not so humble beginning. All the elements have already gelled with the band’s vision having been crystal clear by mapping out a complete five part saga for their debut.

The excellent performances are even more stellar with the superb production job from Gate-Studios in Wolfsburg, German with Sascha Paeth of Heaven’s Gate and Angra fame at the helm. This is a stunningly rich collection of ten outstanding tracks that contain no samples or synthesizers. All instruments heard are the real deal. While i am blown away by LEGENDARY TALES it falters only in the more tightly composed epics that follow but consistency has been one of RHAPSODY (OF FIRE)’s strengths and this debut is certainly no exception.

ELVENSTORM The Conjuring

Album · 2018 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
One band I’ve always been aware of but never fully been invested in, up to now, is French power metal band Elvenstorm, who I first discovered in 2011 with their debut Of Rage and War. I remember at the time thinking it was a pretty solid album, with a very classic speed metal sound to it, as well as having some rather unique and somewhat unorthodox vocals, but otherwise the release didn’t really stick with me over time, and I never really spent much time with the band’s seconds release Blood Leads to Glory when it released in 2014. With the band largely going under the radar for me over time, I certainly wasn’t aware they had a new album coming any time soon, nor did I expect to have much interest in it when it arrived, but now that their third release The Conjuring is here, I’ve given the band another chance and this time I’ve come away much more impressed than I did before, to the point where it makes me want to revisit their previous albums again to see what I was missing before.

Despite what their name might suggest, Elvenstorm aren’t a fantasy power metal band at all. In fact, even their lyrics are much darker than fans of the genre would expect, with this album in particular having some very dark themes. Musically, though, they’re even further from what fans may expect, as instead of having a modernized, symphonic or folk influenced sound, they play a very classic speed metal influenced brand of the genre, coming much closer to the likes of Grave Digger and early Running Wild than to any modern power metal bands. They have a very direct, hard hitting style with no symphonic elements, no modern elements or no nonsense: They just play classic metal, the way it’s meant to be played, and they do an excellent job of it! For the most part, the songs are very fast paced, with verses building up in intensity while the choruses go full throttle, though there are the occasional slower sections, as well as some excellent galloping riffs and more melodic guitar work at points. Musically, this is an excellent classic power metal album, with some amazing riffs, great solos and the instrumental sections are definitely the highlight of the album. The overall songwriting is consistently strong, though I find the album starts out with a few killers right out of the gate and while the second half is still very good, nothing towards the end of the album can match the highlights of the first half. The production is solid, having a bit of a raw sound, but everything comes through clearly and powerfully, and it manages to sound authentic, while still being a bit more polished than most albums from the period the band is clearly emulating.

One potential turn off for some folks could be the vocals of Laura Lombard F, who has a very unique approach to her vocals that certainly takes some time to get used to. She has a very raw and aggressive approach, sounding somewhat like a mix between Dora Pesch and Marta Gabriel, except somehow managing to sound even more wild than either of them at points. Her lower register is very powerful and generally quite effective, and thankfully she tends to use it the most throughout the album. On the other hand, her higher register can be a bit irritating at times, and she tends to go a bit over the top and sometimes leans towards shrieking and screaming, which comes off as a bit unpleasant, especially when she does it during some of the more melodic choruses, which contrasts badly with the music. Most tracks have some backing vocals and these are well done and help add some melody into the choruses, which takes a bit of the sting away from some of the more irritating vocal moments, so that’s a good thing. Overall, I’d say Laura does a good job and she’s definitely very fiery energetic, but sometimes she gets a little too carried away and that can be rather unpleasant to listen to.

While the vocals are a bit inconsistent, the songwriting is luckily very good throughout, with no less than great tracks, though as I mentioned earlier, my favorite tracks happen to come towards the beginning. After a brief voiceover filled intro, the album gets off to an incredible start with “Bloodlust”, which begins with some classic heavy metal flavored melodic guitar leads before speeding up after a while and going full throttle with some pummeling riffs during an opening verses that showcases Laura’s strong lower register. The chorus is very fun and energetic, even if a bit basic, as Laura provides powerful vocals on top of some epic gang vocals, which are used very effectively. As with many tracks on the album, the instrumental section is the highlight and again brings a very classic metal sound to the table, in the best way possible. Next is “Ritual of Summoning”, a slightly more restrained track by this album’s standards, though it’s still pretty intense. The verses are as close to mid paced as any of the vocal tracks get, and the guitars have a nice rhythm to them, while Laura sounds very intense and powerful during the verses, but unfortunately she gets a bit carried away with higher notes during the chorus, which sinks the track just a bit. The faster paced section before he chorus and instrumental section in the second half are the highlights of the track. My favorite track on the album is the very heavily Running Wild influenced “Into the Night”, which gives listeners a full throttle speed metal assault from start to finish. The guitar work sounds almost uncannily similar to the aforementioned band in their early days, especially during the instrumental section, and even the chorus is more epic and melodic than normal, and while Laura’s vocals are a bit irritating again, the backing vocals more than make up for that and help make the song a classic.

After such a strong start, the rest of the album unsurprisingly takes a bit of a downturn, though the remaining tracks are all still very good. Next is “Devil Within”, a longer track which has a soft and very dark extended instrumental section, which leads in nicely to another fast and furious track, with some of the most intense verses on the album, while the chorus is also quite good, and one of the rare times where Laura’s higher vocals don’t bother me in the slightest. After that is “Chaos from Beyond”, one of the shorter and more direct tracks on the album, which has a slightly more melodic sound than usual, though it still has some hard hitting riffs and still very fast paced and fun, with a very catchy chorus, only slowing down during a nice instrumental section in the middle. Speaking of instrumental sections, the one curve ball on the album comes in the form of “Stellar Descension”, a full length instrumental track which is very slow paced throughout, as well as being very atmospheric. The track has a slight doom metal feel to it, and is certainly very dark and ambient, in a nice way. It’s very well done, and serves as a nice change of pace.

The final run of tracks kicks off with “Evil’s Dawn”, another track with classic heavy metal flavoring, while being very fast paced and hard hitting, as usual. The chorus is a bit more restrained than normal and Laura sounds a bit less intense, but still quite good. It’s a fun and simple track, which gives way to the longest and most complex song on the album in “Cross of Damnation”. This one starts off slowly, with some nice acoustic guitar work, before settling into a nice groove with some more melodic guitar work, before finally speeding up and becoming the kind of super speedy, aggressive power metal track found throughout the album, except with several twists and turns throughout, as well as a great chorus and some of the best and longest instrumental sections on the album. It’s definitely the strongest track on the second half, and is quite excellent overall. After such an epic track, it makes sense that the album would end with a more straight-forward, all out aggressive track, and that’s exactly what “Dawn of Destruction” is. The Running Wild influence is again strong throughout this track, and the chorus is very fun and melodic, while the instrumental work is great always and even Laura is consistently great throughout.

Overall The Conjuring is excellent, speedy and very hard hitting album from Elvenstorm, which continues with their classic power metal sound and takes it to the next level. Fans of classic metal are sure to love this album for its raw intensity and pure metal sound, while fans of the genre looking for a heavier, more guitar driven album with some fittingly intense vocals are also highly recommended to give this album a go. The vocals take some time to get used to, but are pretty good overall, and everything else about the album is top notch and very easily recommendable.

Originally written for Myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2018/07/14/elvenstorm-the-conjuring-review/

CRYONIC TEMPLE Deliverance

Album · 2018 · Power Metal
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DippoMagoo
Before 2017, Cryonic Temple was a band I had enjoyed in the past, but I had never even come close to considering them a favorite. I was introduced to them with their third album, In Thy Power, which is generally considered their best and that one and its predecessor, Blood, Guts & Glory definitely impressed me, but they never quite blew me away. Obviously, their fourth album, Immortal, was a total disaster, which led to the band going away for quite some time, but even those more acclaimed albums, while being consistently entertaining, never quite hit me in the way any of my favorite power metal albums do. Everything changed in 2017 with Into the Glorious Battle, which saw the band returning from their long hiatus with a renewed focus, as well as changing to a more melodic but still epic and intense sound. I was instantly blown away by the melodies throughout the album as well as the more dynamic and versatile songwriting compared to their past albums. Now with their latest album, Deliverance, the band has only taken things further, producing by far their most varied, yet also their consistently engaging album to date, making it a slight step above even its amazing predecessor.

Unsurprisingly, some folks were a bit disappointed with Into the Glorious Battle, as while it was an unarguably better effort than Immortal, some missed the more epic, heavier sound of their first three albums. At this point, I think it’s safe to say those days are over and they aren’t ever coming back, though, as the band has clearly moved towards a more modernized and more melodic sound, as well as breaking new lyrical ground with a multi-part Sci-Fi concept, which started on the previous album and continues with Deliverance. For those like me who loved the previous album, this one is sure to be an absolute treat, as it continues with the same melodic, guitar-driven sound, while at times getting slightly heavier and more intense, as well as occasionally being a bit more fun and pop-ish, with a couple tracks, in particular, having some pop melodies to them, as well as being more driven by keyboards and orchestras. In fact, the orchestral elements are in full force throughout this album, showing up on many tracks, and especially being noticeable during the two ballads, as well as on some of the lighter tracks. The best thing about the previous album was how it had a perfect balance between speedier tracks, slower, more melodic tracks, ballads and some nice, melodic mic paced tracks, and if anything this album is even more varied, never falling into predictable patterns and instead constantly finding ways to surprise, all while being consistently excellent the whole way through. There’s definitely a few excellent speedy tracks that should please classic power metal fans, as well as a couple ballads and a ton of surprises.

The area where I’m most pleased with this new era of Cryonic Temple is the vocals. While I enjoyed their first three albums and thought Glen Metal did a great job, I always found his vocals to be just a bit too over the top for my taste, while current singer Mattius Lilja has a softer and much more restrained voice, which puts extra emphasis on the melodies and really allows the choruses to soar, the way a great power metal vocalist should. At the same time, he does get a bit more intense at points on this album and does a great job of that as well, so it’s safe to say he fits the band’s current sound perfectly. I also notice some rather different sounding vocals at a few points on the album, which I’ll go into detail about below, but these are generally done quite well and I assume they’re done by other members of the band, as they certainly don’t sound like Mattias. Either way, though, the album has some amazing vocal melodies throughout, and they’re all performed perfectly.

After Into the Glorious Battle managed to be such a strong album in the songwriting department, I was excited to see what the band would do with a follow up, especially one that came so shortly after Thankfully, while the band has clearly continued with the sound they established on the previous album, they have managed to take things to the next level here, coming up with some even better songs than before including a few that stand out as sounding rather surprising and very different from anything they’ve done in the past.

The album gets off to an unsurprisingly strong start, with a nice intro track making way for “Rise Eternally Beyond”, which starts off with some soft guitar work before the rest of the band kicks in, along with the orchestra, and the track quickly turns into the kind of fast and fun power metal anthem fans would expect from the band. It’s a very fun and energetic track, which would have fit in perfectly on the last album, complete with verses that feel quite similar, though once the chorus hits it proves itself to be best and most melodic part of the track, with huge, soaring vocal melodies, to help kick the album off in an amazing way. The instrumental section is strong as expected and shows off the kind of excellent, very melodic guitar leads that have become an important part of the band’s sound in their current form, with some excellent leads and solos throughout the album, and this track is a great example of that. Next is “Through the Storm”, a more surprising track, with a slight cinematic feel to it. The intro to the song is quite interesting, with heavy keyboard effects as well as some rather eerie sounding voiceovers, and the song itself is much more relaxed than the opener, moving at a more laid-back pace, while still having some heavy riffs, but it feels more driven by keyboards and orchestras, especially during the chorus where we enter into pop territory but in an amazing way, with some truly epic vocal melodies. The track is quite surprising, being somewhat heavy but also fairly laid back and extremely catchy and melodic. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the album.

A more typical track follows in “Knights of the Sky”, a fast-paced guitar driven power metal track, where the excellent melodic leads are on full display. It’s another very energetic track with a strong and very catchy chorus while having more power to it than the previous track. It’s probably the most traditional power metal track on the album, and it has another great series of solos in the second half. Next is the slightly unconventional title track, which moves along at a fairly upbeat tempo, but it has more of a classic heavy metal feel to it, with some of the heaviest guitar work on the album. It’s the chorus where the song really gets weird, though, as the smooth vocals of Mattias are replaced by some wild falsetto vocals, which I initially found off-putting, but over time they’ve grown on me quite a bit, and I find the track to be quite fun overall. One of the biggest strengths of the previous album was how well written the ballads were, as it had three of them and yet all of them were excellent and served as a change of pace, without stalling the momentum at all. This holds true for both ballads on this album, the first of which is “The Loneliest Man in Space”, a nice piano-driven ballad with some added orchestral elements and soft guitars. It moves along nicely during the verses, with some strong vocals, but it’s the chorus where Mattias really shines, delivering a powerful and emotional performance, which really brings the lyrics to life. The solo in the middle is very emotional and well done as well, and overall it’s simply a very well written track, which can’t always be said about ballads on a power metal album. And yet, this is actually the slightly lesser of two on this album, which I’ll get into a bit later.

Next up is “Pain and Pleasure”, perhaps the heaviest and most intense track on the album. It’s another very fast paced track, but the riffs have a slight thrash edge to them and the vocals throughout the track are more animated and slightly wild, especially during the epic and super catchy chorus. The vocals are quite surprising compared to the rest of the album, but they’re very well done and fit the more aggressive tone of the song perfectly, which helps to make the track another instant highlight. A softer track is next in “Temple of Cryonics”, which of course comes close to being a self-titled track. Either way, it’s the most epic and cinematic feeling track on the album, with a heavy use of orchestral elements. It’s a rather soft and slow-paced track, but I wouldn’t quite call it a ballad as it has some slight heaviness to it at points, and it’s also a bit more epic and eventful than what you’d expect from a ballad. It has another strong chorus, as well as an excellent guitar solo in the middle, and while it’s not one of my personal favorites on the album, it’s an excellent track and shows how dynamic the band has become in their current form. My favorite track on the album is next in “Starchild”, an extremely fast-paced, incredibly melodic track which blazes through its verses at a frantic pace, setting the tables one of the catchiest and most melodic power metal choruses I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s seriously so damn fun and energetic, it brings a smile to my face every time, and is definitely a perfect example of the genre at its finest. The guitar solo is very melodic and well done as expected, and overall the track is simply pure power metal perfection from start to finish.

Speaking of songs with insanely fun and catchy choruses, next is “End of Days”, which has an almost dance-like beat from the keyboards at the start, and is a very upbeat track, with a slight metal edge to it. It’s a fairly fast-paced and very melodic track, with a huge chorus that has a slight pop feel to it, but it’s so damn fun and catchy I certainly can’t complain about it! Another instant highlight and one of my favorites on the album, though it certainly sounds a bit light and more modern than anything the band has done before, so some folks may hate it. The second ballad on the album is next in the form of “Swansong of the Last Emperor”. It’s mostly led by soft guitars and pianos again, though its vocal melodies and lyrics are the most inspiring elements, for sure, as it’s a very emotional track with an insanely good chorus and an excellent performance by Mattias, which takes it to the next level. Both ballads on the album are great, but this one feels just a bit more epic and more inspired. Shifting gears once again, we have “Under Attack”, a fast-paced and aggressive track, with some of the roughest riffs on the album, as well as another fun and catchy chorus. It has a great use of the orchestras in the second half and is certainly a very fun track overall. The last main track on the album is also my least favorite, that being “Blood and Shame”, a slower paced and very hard hitting the track. It has a heavy metal edge to it, for sure, and while the verses are energetic and fun enough, the chorus gets a bit rough for my tastes and lack a real melody or hook, making it the weakest on the album. It’s still a good track overall, but it’s certainly not on the level of any of the other tracks here. Lastly, there’s a bonus track called “Insomnia”, which starts off with a very Iron Maiden influenced acoustic guitar intro, before picking up speed and turning into a fun, speedy power metal track with slight traces of classic heavy metal. It’s definitely a better note to end the album on than the previous track, so I’m glad the band included it as a bonus.

Overall, Deliverance is an amazing power metal album, which shows Cryonic Temple picking up where they left off on Into the Glorious Battle, and continuing their resurgence as one of the best current bands in their genre. It has a mix of everything fans of the previous album would expect, with some of the most varied and dynamic songwriting in the band’s career, while still delivering tons of great speedy and melodic power metal. It slightly edges out its predecessor to become my favorite Cryonic Temple album to date and is definitely one of my favorite power metal albums of 2018 so far.

Originally written for Myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2018/07/15/cryonic-temple-deliverance-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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