US Power Metal

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

United States Power Metal, USPM for short and sometimes alternately called American Power Metal is one of the two main types of heavy metal music to use the term power metal, the other being European Power Metal. Like European Power Metal, the United States in the name refers to the genre's origins, rather than any specific requirement for artists to be from the US in order to play the style, though most USPM acts are, indeed, American.

USPM first appeared in 1983. It's development could be described as the American reaction to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. US bands wanted to go one better than their UK counterparts and so the sound that would become known as USPM began to take shape. They played faster and more aggressively, albeit not to the levels of thrash metal, though some artists would cross over with thrash as well as speed metal. Generally USPM bands were closer in style to their traditional heavy metal roots, especially when compared to the later European power metal sound, which is commonly called just Power Metal without the European prefix, with USPM used just to differentiate. It is because of these vast differences that some metal fans have trouble with recognizing the two forms of power metal as the same genre. They're not wrong either, but also not entirely correct. The best way to describe power metal as a whole is that it's a cross between traditional heavy metal and speed metal. US power metal acts kept the genre closer to traditional heavy metal while European power metal acts kept it closer to speed metal. The idea was to add power to the music that other heavy metal bands at the time didn't have. USPM acts just did it a different way to what is now more widely accepted as the (European) power metal sound.

Typically, the USPM term is used to label artists that sit somewhere between traditional heavy metal and thrash metal, with some artists leaning more towards one or the other and often completely crossing over with the other style. USPM vocalists tend to use high register singing, something which is also heard in European power metal, though it is not considered an essential ingredient in the USPM sound, with some vocalists taking the music in a rougher direction.

There is quite a level of variance within US power metal. Some artists are more hard hitting and thrashy, while others take the music in a slower, more melodic and progressive direction. The two types of USPM are commonly known as Blue-collar USPM and White-collar USPM respectively.

Blue-collar USPM artists feature the harder, thrashy sound. The artists Helstar (who eventually adopted a more thrash metal based sound), Jag Panzer and Riot are some of the more well known blue-collar USPM acts. Some artists in this style of USPM have been known to take the genre quite close to the European power metal sound, such as Iced Earth, further demonstrating the relation between the two types of power metal music.

White-collar USPM artists are less hard hitting, adding more melody and progressive elements to the USPM sound. The band Crimson Glory is considered a prime example of this type of USPM, while others would be Pharaoh and Heir Apparent. Certain acts more commonly known as progressive metal acts such as Fates Warning are also considered to be a part of USPM.

- Biography written by adg211288.

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Power Metal & Neoclassical Metal):
  • DippoMagoo (leader)
  • adg211288
  • Sisslith

us power metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

HELSTAR A Distant Thunder Album Cover A Distant Thunder
HELSTAR
4.62 | 19 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
HELSTAR Nosferatu Album Cover Nosferatu
HELSTAR
4.46 | 18 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
METAL CHURCH The Dark Album Cover The Dark
METAL CHURCH
4.34 | 43 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CRIMSON GLORY Transcendence Album Cover Transcendence
CRIMSON GLORY
4.27 | 42 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SANCTUARY Refuge Denied Album Cover Refuge Denied
SANCTUARY
4.36 | 12 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ICED EARTH Incorruptible Album Cover Incorruptible
ICED EARTH
4.38 | 11 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
RIOT ThunderSteel Album Cover ThunderSteel
RIOT
4.26 | 28 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CAGE Supremacy of Steel Album Cover Supremacy of Steel
CAGE
4.42 | 8 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ICED EARTH Night of the Stormrider Album Cover Night of the Stormrider
ICED EARTH
4.22 | 37 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
METAL CHURCH Metal Church Album Cover Metal Church
METAL CHURCH
4.22 | 35 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
LIEGE LORD Master Control Album Cover Master Control
LIEGE LORD
4.38 | 8 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SANCTUARY Into The Mirror Black Album Cover Into The Mirror Black
SANCTUARY
4.25 | 16 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

us power metal online videos

us power metal New Releases

.. Album Cover
The God Machine
Album
STEEL PROPHET
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Wars in the Unknown
Album
TWISTED TOWER DIRE
Buy this album from MMA partners

us power metal Music Reviews

SANCTUARY Into The Mirror Black

Album · 1989 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Into The Mirror Black" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US power metal act Sanctuary. The album was released through CBS/Epic Records in late 1989 (Europe)/early 1990 (US and Japan). Sanctuary were formed in 1985 and released their debut full-length studio album "Refuge Denied" in 1987. The album was quite successful and also received some additional attention as a result of Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) acting as producer. A few years down the line and Sanctuary were ready with a new batch of original tracks. This time they chose Howard Benson (Motörhead, Apocalyptica, Sepultura) to produce. It´s interesting to note that Joe Barresi is credited as engineering assistent on the album. Barresi later became quite prolific and has worked with artists like Tool, Isis, Melvins, Kyuss, Soundgarden, and Enslaved.

Stylistically the music on "Into The Mirror Black" continues the US power metal style initiated on "Refuge Denied (1987)". It´s quite hard edged, pretty heavy, and even thrashy at times, but ultimately still closer to power metal than to thrash metal. In addition to heavy riffs, blistering solo work, and heavy and more up-tempo rhythms, the music features the distinct sounding vocals of Warrel Dane. While the music is both well played and well written too, it´s the vocals which make the whole difference. They are the defining element of Sanctuary´s sound, and the feature in the music which makes Sanctuary stand out on the scene. Compared to the dominant use of high pitched vocals on "Refuge Denied (1987)", Dane´s vocals on "Into The Mirror Black" are a bit more varied with use of lower registers too. He still screams and sings in a very high register when that is called for though.

Sanctuary released a promotional video for "Future Tense", which is understandable as that particular track kicks off the album in great heavy power metal style and also is among the highlights of the album. It´s apparent from the get go that the band have stepped up in all departments. Songwriting, musicianship, and production values. There is great bite, aggression, and conviction in the delivery of the music and paired with the relatively powerful sound production the album comes off as a high quality product. The lyrics are also worth reading, dealing with both politics, organized religion, and more personal issues. So "Into The Mirror Black" is all in all a great quality sophomore album by Sanctuary. Sadly it would also be their last album before disbanding in 1992. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

ICED EARTH Alive in Athens

Live album · 1999 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
martindavey87
‘Alive in Athens’, released in 1999, is the first live album by American power metal band Iced Earth, and is an absolute marathon of a release, with a staggering duration of three hours split over three discs. Highly regarded by fans, ‘Alive...’ sees the band draw as much material as possible from their five previous studio albums and cram it into two nights of live music at the Greek capital. But is it really as good as people make it out to be?

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good album. The quality of the audio is fantastic, with some songs sounding nearly identical to their studio counterparts, and there’s a lot of incredibly strong material, from earlier hits such as ‘Iced Earth’, ‘Angels Holocaust’, ‘Cast in Stone’ and ‘Stormrider’ to later numbers such as ‘Burning Times’, ‘Watching Over Me’ and the ‘Something Wicked’ trilogy.

So what’s the problem, you ask?

It’s just so bloody long!

Simply put, that’s it. Iced Earth are a great band, but three hours in one go is a hell of a mouthful, with most songs sounding similar to the one before. The musicianship is fantastic, with every track performed to perfection, but there’s not really anything that stands out in particular. There’s nothing overly interesting in terms of crowd interaction, or adding anything new to the compositions. It literally is three hours of repetitive Iced Earth tracks, one after another, with crowd noises thrown in between.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t a terrible album, but the overwhelming duration is a huge detriment, and seeing as I’ve always preferred studio albums anyway, I can’t see myself choosing this over any of their studio releases.

HELSTAR Burning Star

Album · 1984 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Burning Star" is the debut full-length studio album by US heavy metal act Helstar. The album was released through Combat Records in 1984. Helstar were formed in 1981/1982 in Houston, Texas, and released a demo in 1983 before being signed by Combat Records for the release of "Burning Star".

Stylistically the music on the album is traditional heavy metal. Artists like early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are valid references but Helstar put an American twist on the sound. It´s not US power metal yet though, as it´s still rooted too much in traditional heavy metal for that. The band are very well playing, and I especially noticed the many incredibly well played guitar solos and the strong vocals by James Rivera. The latter has a strong voice and a commanding delivery. He sings raw heavy metal type vocals and spice it up with som piercing high pitched screams. The rhythms and the guitar riffs are fairly standard for the genre, but still of a high quality.

The sound production is unpolished and raw, which is to be expected from a heavy metal album release from 1984. The sound suits the material well. All material on the 8 track, 35:05 minutes long album are well written, powerful, and cathy and upon conclusion "Burning Star" is a strong debut album by Helstar. The average age of the band members were supposedly around 19 years at the time, which makes the album an even more impressive release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is well deserved.

FIFTH ANGEL The Third Secret

Album · 2018 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
In Seattle in 1984, high school friends Ted Pilot (vocals) and Ed Archer (guitar) teamed up with lead guitarist James Byrd, completing the line-up with Ken Mary (later Alice Cooper, House of Lords) and bassist John Macko. Their debut album was self-released and self-funded, was picked by Roadrunner in Europe, before the band was signed by Epic Records for a seven album $21 million deal. A second album followed in 1989, but due to a new musical phenomenon also coming out of Seattle, the band soon called it a day. Fast forward to 2010 and they were asked to headline the Keep It True festival in Lauda-Koenigshofen, Germany. Gathering many of the core members and adding Heir Apparent vocalist Peter Orullian, (Ted Pilot is now an endodontist practicing in Seattle and was not able to sing for the reunion). The band was also writing new material which finally reached Nuclear Blast who signed them up for the band’s third album, nearly thirty years on from the last one.

The line-up these days is guitarist and lead vocalist Kendall Bechtel (who appeared on the second album), bassist John Macko and drummer and backing vocalist Ken Mary, which is certainly going to be interesting going forward as these guys sound like a standard twin-guitar five-man line-up instead of a trio. I haven’t heard the earlier albums, so can’t say how this compares, but what I can say is what we have here is classic power metal heavily influenced by Dio-period Sabbath. Bechtel is a fine guitarist, but where he shines is definitely in the vocal department as here is a guy who can really sing. He has all the power and timbre one could wish for in this style of music, which is heavy, fast, and one can imagine them suddenly switching into “Mob Rules” at any moment.

There is the obligatory power ballad of course, but these guys shine best when they are in full flight. There are strong hooks, great performances, and overall this is quite a comeback album. It will be fascinating to see where they go from here, but whatever happens Fifth Angel are very much back.

ICED EARTH The Blessed and the Damned

Boxset / Compilation · 2004 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
martindavey87
‘The Blessed and the Damned’ is a 2004 compilation album by American power metal band Iced Earth, and was compiled by their former record label, Century Media, after the band had left to sign with SPV. Consisting of highlights from all the bands albums between 1990 and 2001, including the ‘Alive in Athens’ live album, this is a solid release which still holds up pretty well today, and is a great summary of the bands first eleven years, serving as a great starting point for newcomers.

As is always the case with these types of collections, there’s always going to be a couple of tracks missing and a few I’d have excluded, but none-the-less, all the major hits are here. From the early days with ‘Iced Earth’, ‘Written on the Walls’ and ‘Angels Holocaust’, to later, more polished tracks like ‘Burning Times’, ‘Wolf’, ‘Watching Over Me’ and ‘Burnt Offerings’, there’s a good, varied track list here to please most fans.

In particular, I’m happy the earlier releases were featured here, as the band re-recorded most of their early tracks with third vocalist Matt Barlow on 1997’s ‘Days of Purgatory’, but to be honest, I actually prefer the original versions, so it’s great to see them get some love.

While there’s a good variety of songs, from fast, intense and aggressive to melodic and epic, a lot of the songs do sound pretty similar, and this can be a little tiresome if listened to in one sitting, especially at just over two hours in duration. But regardless, ‘The Blessed and the Damned’ is a good compilation that does the band justice, and is great as a starting point for new fans or as a collectible for old ones.

us power metal movie reviews

ICED EARTH Live in Ancient Kourion

Movie · 2013 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Live In Ancient Kourion is a live concert Blu-Ray from the American Power Metal band Iced Earth. It was filmed at the ancient Kourion Theater in Limasol, Cyprus (a site with a 6,000-year history according to the liner notes) in 2012, in support of the Dystopia album. The line up features Jon Schaffer, Brent Smedley, Troy Steele, Luke Appleton and then-new singer Stu Block.

The career-spanning set contains 27 songs from all eras of the band’s history, in a concert that lasts around 2 hours and 35 minutes. Its pretty great value for money in that regard.

The performance is very strong indeed, with all band members putting down solid performances with no weak links. Stu capably handles the material of previous singers Matt Barlow and Tim Ripper Owens in a suitable but distinctive way. He fits the band perfectly and is immensely talented. Elsewhere; the dual guitar lines and solos are sublime and the drumming is powerful and rock-solid. If you like Iced Earth then this is a really strong and representative example of what they are all about.

Highlights include strong performances of ‘Burning Times,’ ‘Wolf,’ ‘Declaration Day,’ ‘Days Of Rage’ and ‘Dantes Inferno.’ ‘Boiling Point’ and ‘Damien’ are also especially energetic and exciting here – if you were wondering if you’d enjoy this release, then I suggest trying those two tracks out.

The stage design and the simple, tasteful lightshow in conjunction with the well-integrated use of smoke and pyro perfectly complements the band’s meaty, honest approach to Metal music. The crowd get into it and both clap and sing along on many occasions. Sometimes not only singing the words but also the guitar melodies. The concert really shows a confident band delivering their best to an appreciative crowd.

The camerawork and editing are absolutely solid, the audio recording quality and live mix are spot-on and overall this is a very strong release on both the audio and visual fronts. Sometimes you’ll get a DVD with way too many flashy transitions and cheesy editing choices, or the bass guitar missing from the mix, but a lot of care has obviously gone into making this a tasteful and musician-friendly affair. Admittedly I have seen concert Blu-Rays with better picture quality (Sabaton, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius and Hammerfall spring to mind) and here it can be a tiny bit grainy, soft-focus or washed out at times depending on the lighting conditions in the venue at the time however just because better examples exist, it doesn’t mean the picture here is anything to complain about.

In terms of bonus features there are photo galleries (4 minutes of very high resolution photos of the band and the beautiful Cypriot landscape), a 9-minute world tour story (breaking down the logistics involved such as how many guitar picks and flights the band went through) which mixes photos and graphics with interview footage, as well as the 31-minute Documentary feature “The Making Of Live At Ancient Kourion.”

The version I got comes with a slipcase in a digibook-style box which contains booklet featuring photos, credits and liner notes from bandleader Jon Shaffer. It houses the Blu-Ray version, DVD version and CD version of the concert for maximum flexibility.

The Blu-Ray specs are as follows: Region 0, Format 16:9, Audio comes in a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or DTS HD Surround 5.1.

Overall; Live In Ancient Kourion, especially this edition, is a very worthwhile release and I whole-heartedly recommend it to fans of the band, or fans of Traditional Heavy Metal and Power Metal in general.

ICED EARTH Festivals of the Wicked

Movie · 2011 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
666sharon666
There's a lot of value for your money in this DVD package. Three full festival appearances are included, two with singer Matt Barlow and one with singer Tim "Ripper" Owens. There's also the seemingly customary documentary and all the band's music videos with the exception of the older Desert Rain back from the Night of the Stormrider era, as well as the advert for the Ten Thousand Strong video and photo slideshows. For the price this seems to retail at (I bought it for just £9.99), this is a very worthwhile package for any Iced Earth fan. The one catch is that it in reality looks more than it is, as both the Barlow fronted shows feature a completely identical setlist. It's still a very good value package to get despite this, but 4 stars is all I feel inclined to award it because of the amount of repetition. Still for the very reasonable price, if you like this band, buy it anyway.

(I originally posted this hastily written review here: http://bit.ly/pafvQh )

Artists with US Power Metal release(s)

us power metal Index

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Power Metal
HELLOWEEN
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Saint Vitus (2nd eponymous album) Traditional Doom Metal
SAINT VITUS
Buy this album from MMA partners
No More Hollywood Endings Heavy Metal
BATTLE BEAST
Buy this album from MMA partners
Crypts, Coffins, Corpses Brutal Death Metal
MEATHOOK
Buy this album from MMA partners
Illimitable Dolor / Promethean Misery Death-Doom Metal
ILLIMITABLE DOLOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
Leaden Light Death-Doom Metal
ILLIMITABLE DOLOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Darkestrah - Sary Oy
DARKESTRAH
Tupan· 23 hours ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online