Power Metal

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Introduction

Power Metal is one of the sub-genres of heavy metal music that first appeared during the 1980's, drawing influence from traditional heavy metal, especially the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and speed metal. The term power metal actually refers to two different but closely related metal styles, nowadays known as US/American Power Metal (USPM) and European Power Metal (or Melodic Power Metal), named after the geographic regions in which the styles originated. Artists from either place are not tied down to playing that particular kind of power metal of course, such as the US band Kamelot who play the European style, while there are also artists from other countries who play power metal such as Brazil's Angra and Japan's Galneryus. These days power metal bands come from many places and have many different styles, documented further on. This page primarily deals with the European brand of power metal, with USPM placed under its own child sub-genre.

European Power Metal

Though it developed a little later than USPM, in the late 1980's, specifically Germany, the European, melodic power metal sound is no doubt what most first think of when the term power metal is mentioned. Indeed it is more distinct in sound than USPM, but features the same basic influences, with the key difference to USPM being that European power metal draws more heavily on the speed metal influences rather than traditional heavy metal ones. Indeed in the late 1980's power metal was instead referred to as melodic speed metal.

European power metal is widely credited to have been started by Germany's Helloween in 1987 with the release of their Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I album. Prior to that, Helloween had been a speed metal band. Blind Guardian, another popular German power metal act, had similar roots while other bands such as Grave Digger started more in the traditional heavy metal vein. Others like Running Wild blended both before becoming power metal bands later in their careers. Compared to USPM European power metal acts often feature keyboards, catchy lyrics and are generally less hard hitting, though the German scene is quite notable for its additional heaviness. Popular power metal acts from other countries include Italy's Rhapsody of Fire, Finland's Stratovarius and Sweden's Sabaton.

Sub-genres of Power Metal

Aside from the standard USPM and European power metal styles, there are a number of different sub-genres, or hybrid genres in some cases, of power metal that have since developed.

Symphonic Power Metal: A style of power metal typically only applicable to the European sound, symphonic power metal increases the use of keyboards to create a symphonic backing, drawing on classical music. The use of symphonic elements in such bands can vary greatly with some artists using them as a main element of their sound, such as Rhapsody of Fire, while some merely use symphonic elements to flavour their music, such as Avantasia. Symphonic power metal releases are always placed under power metal on MMA.

Heavy Power Metal: Not to be confused with USPM, which is closer to traditional heavy metal to begin with, this refers to a hybrid of European power metal with traditional heavy metal. Bands are typically less speed orientated than pure melodic power metal acts. HammerFall is a heavy power metal act from Sweden while Nightmare are from France. Some artists which fall into this category featured a harder hitting, more aggressive sound, such as Grave Digger of Germany, but are still considered to belong to the European power metal genre rather than USPM. They are included under power metal on MMA, although some such artists have also made albums more directly rooted in traditional heavy metal and have those tagged accordingly. Some of the older heavy power metal acts, including Grave Digger and Nightmare, started as heavy metal acts before adding power metal into their sounds later in their careers.

Folk Power Metal: The folk metal as a genre can take its metal elements from almost any other metal genre going, including power metal. Elvenking and Falconer are folk power metal bands. They are typically included under folk metal on MMA, but with cases such as Falconer where folk influences are normally minimal per album, they are included under power metal instead. Additionally some power metal artists, especially Blind Guardian but also Grave Digger, have utilised folk influences in their music.

Power-Thrash: A hybrid of power metal and thrash metal, which can be considered sister genres due to both evolving from speed metal. The so called blue collar USPM can also be considered to be power-thrash but the term typically refers to European power metal mixed with thrash metal, although the early work of Iced Earth is considered to be power-thrash. The mix of elements can vary even within the same artist with some being primarily power metal and others primarily thrash metal. As well as Iced Earth, Dark Empire and Paradox have also released power-thrash albums, while some power metal bands have included thrash metal elements in their sound in smaller amounts, such as Seven Kingdoms and Persuader. Power-thrash artists are treated on a case by case basis on MMA, for example Tales of the Weird (2012) by Paradox is placed under thrash metal, but The Fateful dark (2014) by Savage Messiah is placed under power metal.

Progressive Power Metal: Drawing influences from progressive rock and metal music as well as power metal of either the European or US variety, these acts are typically included under power metal on MMA, such as Pyramaze and Kamelot. The exception is when an artist’s progressive influences become the most recognisable thing about their sound. Illusion Suite is an example of such a progressive power metal act. Vandroya and Wuthering Heights are progressive power metal bands, the latter of which also being classifiable under folk power metal.

Neo-classical Power Metal: Melodic power metal that uses neo-classical guitar playing for its lead guitar parts. Magic Kingdom and Concerto Moon are neo-classical power metal acts, while other power metal acts such as Amberian Dawn and At Vance have incorporated aspects of neo-classical metal into their sounds. As there is no neo-classical metal sub on MMA all such acts are placed under power metal by default, while non-power metal based neo-classical acts are typically placed under traditional heavy metal, or sometimes progressive metal, with which there can also be crossover, as with Symphony X.

Extreme Power Metal: This particular sub-genre combines power metal with melodic death metal and covers artists such as Children of Bodom, the first album of Wintersun and to a lesser extent the first album from Seven Kingdoms. Extreme power metal typically features power metal music but with primarily growling vocals rather than power metal’s traditional clean singing. Such artists are treated with a case by case basis as to their placement on MMA. The genre is sometimes also called Power-Death.

Power Metal Inclusive Genres

Melodic Metal is sometimes included under Power Metal but usually under Traditional Heavy Metal. Melodic metal features a presence of melody akin to European power metal but lacks the focus on speed. Many melodic metal releases tend to use some actual power metal elements as well as hard rock and sometimes other genres. An example of a melodic metal release that is placed under power metal instead of traditional heavy metal is Arven's Black is the Colour (2013).

- Written by adg211288 (April 2013)

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

power metal top albums

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4.72 | 10 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
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SABATON The Great War Album Cover The Great War
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
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ETERNITY'S END The Fire Within Album Cover The Fire Within
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power metal Music Reviews

MANTICORA Dead End Solution

EP · 1997 · Power Metal
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UMUR
"Dead End Solution" is an EP release by Danish power metal act Manticora. The EP was independently released in October 1997. Manticora formed in 1996 under the Manticore monicker but changed name to the current one in 1997. "Dead End Solution" was originally released under the Manticore monicker, but it is seen as the first release by Manticora and subsequent re-issues of the EP have been under the Manticora monicker.

Stylistically the material on the 5 track, 24:38 minutes long EP is energetic, powerful, and melodic power/heavy metal with a predominantly mid-range lead vocalist in front. He can sing in higher pitches but honestly he sounds a little strained when he does. The instrumental part of the music is very well played, but the vocals aren´t that great in this release. It has something to do with the vocal production too, so it´s not necessarily because lead vocalist/guitarist Lars Larsen isn´t a skilled singer, but on this release the vocals are definitely the weak link.

While "Dead End Solution" is a power metal release, it´s in the harder edged end of the scale with influences from both traditional heavy metal and even occasionally thrash and speed metal. As mentioned above the vocal production isn´t that well sounding, but other than that, "Dead End Solution" is a fairly well produced release. A little rough around the edges, but decent enough in terms of production values. Upon conclusion it´s a promising start to a career, but I´m not blown away by what I hear on this EP. Still a 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating isn´t all wrong.

HELLOWEEN Helloween

Album · 2021 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Wow, what a dream come true. After the fan fantasy Pumpkins United tour, the astounding live-album United Alive and the killer one-off single “Pumpkins United” it is finally time for the long-awaited new full-length studio album from the German Power Metal icons Helloween.

Helloween are one of my all-time favourite bands, and I like all eras of the band. They started off in the early ‘80s on their early EPs and first album Walls Of Jericho as a heavier and thrashier proposition, fronted by Kai Hansen (who would later take a back seat but stay on guitar for the following two albums, before leaving and forming the equally excellent band Gamma Ray). After the early EPs and debut album, world-class singer Michael Kiske joined the band in the late ‘80s and helmed their two most beloved albums, the genre-defining Keeper Of The Seven Keys Parts 1 & 2, which are utter indisputable classics of the Power Metal genre and form much of the band’s live setlist even to this day. Kiske also presided over the next two less-popular, increasingly commercial and increasingly un-metal albums before leaving the band. In the early-mid ‘90s after a period of turbulence, declining popularity and declining band morale, singer Andi Deris joined the band and has been with the band ever since as they rebuilt, endured and produced some of their finest work along the way.

Each singer has their own fans. Kai is the original and heaviest, Kiske is the most popular and best technical singer, and Andi is the longest-serving and best showman/performer. This new album, like the wicked live album that precedes it, features all three singers on it, sometimes alone or usually mixed together. They are cleverly blended on this record; without a proper analysis it feels broadly like about Andi probably doing 55%, Kiske doing about 40% and Hansen doing about 15% which seems appropriate given their relative longevity in the band, and their relative commercial appeal. Interestingly too, as a tribute to the late Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, current drummer Daniel Löble actually recorded his drum parts using Ingo’s old drumkit. Nice touch!

Although there must have been some temptation to just dive back into a retro ‘80s sound musically and sonically now that Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske back in the fold and Ingo’s old kit is being used, the results are actually decidedly more modern. While there is clear influence from the ‘80s it is not a simple rehash or retreading of old ground. Shameless fan service is in low supply and they’ve made a concerted effort to blend modernity and nostalgia in a classy way. The production (courtesy of Charlie Bauerfeind & Dennis Ward) is slick and modern, feeling much more like the most recent Derris Era Helloween albums, My God Given Right and Straight Out Of Head in terms of actual sonics. Even album art evokes simultaneously their classic Walls Of Jericho, Keeper Of The Seven Keys and Time Of The Oath album artworks all at once, which again feels like a clever blending of the three eras.

The song-writing does sound like recent Helloween albums first and foremost, not too much like the ‘80s and not overly like Hansen’s work in Gamma Ray or Kiske’s work in Unisonic. This is not a rejection of all the progress the band have made over the years, this isn’t just the Helloween of the ‘80s back in an anachronistic inappropriate revival cash-in. The three singers, numerous guitar players dynamic does help it stand apart from recent albums too though. It isn’t just business as usual with a cheap gimmick on the top either. What this actually is, is a new hybrid-Helloween, bringing a best-of-both worlds approach, injected with extra energy and enthusiasm. It is a good record, in fact a very good record, and a brilliant payoff for fans who like more than one era of the band. I highly recommend it.

However; while it would be tempting to get carried away for the sake of the story and say that it is their best album to date, or even their best album since 1990 or whatever, that would be incredibly unfair to some of the amazing albums the band have been releasing all along. It is a good album, easily in the top half or even top third of their discography, but to say it tops everything since the Keepers’ would be an inaccurate nonsense. This album is good, but let’s not forget some of the other great work they’ve made for the sake of a good hyperbole-filled headline. I genuinely hope people who come back to the band because of the reunion vibe now go back and check out killer albums like 7 Sinners and especially Time Of The Oath and see how strong the band can be without Kai or Michael as well.

Ok. Soapbox moment done. Album highlights include the 12-minute album closer “Skyfall,” (varied and triumphant), as well as the majestic 7-minute album opener “Out For The Glory” and the shorter/punchier “Cyanide” (both premium modern Power Metal) and the more Hard Rock number “Mass Pollution” which has some of the most memorable guitar moments.

Overall; 2021’s Helloween is a very noteworthy album that manages to live up to its potential, with killer songs, killer sounds and a killer premise. I’m pretty over the moon about this album and I hope you will be too.

PS. I’ve already got tickets to see them live, postponed due to the pandemic from before the album was out, and now I really hope they drop a few tunes from this album into the set too.

X JAPAN Jealousy

Album · 1991 · Power Metal
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SilentScream213
Jealousy has always been a hard album for me to rate. The dilemma starts with the fact that a lot of X Japan’s most mediocre material is on this album. That’s not to say any of it is bad – most is actually still great, considering this is X we’re talking about – but this album is not consistent.

I will disclose that nostalgia has rendered many of these more mediocre songs incredibly enjoyable for me now, but there’s no denying the weaknesses here. Desperate Angel and Joker are kind of odd rockers, kind of commercial but lacking any real hooks or staying power. There are 3 instrumentals here, the first track being a beautiful example, but the others are rather take or leave. And then there’s Voiceless Screaming, a beautiful acoustic track which is a very fine song, but most will probably find it about 3 minutes too long.

There’s about half an album left now…

Miscast is an all-around solid track with some fantastic riffs and solos. It’s not their most unique song, but it’s just really good for what it is; a hard rocking melodic riff fest. Stab Me in the Back, on the other hand, is some much-needed energy and aggression for the album. Apparently written years earlier, this track is straight up Thrash Metal, up there with Orgasm as their heaviest and fastest material yet. For fans of their earliest work, this song is a highlight.

So what could possibly hold this all together and warrant such high marks?

Bookending Jealousy are not just the best songs on the album, but (for me at least) among the greatest songs ever written, bar none. Silent Jealousy is one of the earliest (and still most well-done) marriages of actual classical string composition and fast, aggressive metal. Silent Jealousy somehow manages to sound like both a ballad and a thrashing speed metal masterpiece. It is quite simply one of the most powerful displays of sorrow there ever has been, as the track laments about Jealousy, yes, but more specifically what seems like unrequited love. Every musician plays along at lightning speed, breaking their back for over 6 minutes straight, yet the entire song carries a tone of melancholic beauty. This is true catharsis, the exorcising of pain through sweat and art, finally turning it into beauty.

The first time I listened to this album way back when, I remember hoping the closer would be some energetic thrasher or something because the album had been so slow. Beautiful, but slow, and lacking the edge of their previous albums. Well, I didn’t get what I wanted, because Say Anything is an 8 minute ballad finishing off with that theme of unrequited love. Even now, I struggle to find the words for this song. X Japan have written many ballads, almost all of them being top class, heart-rending beauty that plays off that Japanese cheese so well. This one is my favorite of them all, and I could never do justice to it trying to explain the eloquence of the actual compositions. What I can say, is that it captures this feeling of “unrequited love” better than any other song, better than any attempted explanation of the phenomenon in any medium I’ve yet found. Elegant, lovely, fragile, vulnerable, painful. The song is a masterpiece on its own, but for anyone who has experienced this feeling, it is a flawless embodiment of one of the most painful experiences a human can go through.

Closing statement: “I believed if time passes, everything turns into beauty If the rains stops, tears clean the scars of memory away Everything starts wearing fresh colors Every sound begins playing a heartfelt melody Jealousy embellishes a page of the epic Desire is embraced in a dream But my mind is still in chaos and...”

NIGHTWISH Wishmaster

Album · 2000 · Power Metal
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lukretion
By many considered one of the best albums of the Finnish band, Wishmaster is an album that I found somewhat disappointing in relation to the expectations that I had formed about Nightwish after listening to their first two albums. Don’t get me wrong, Wishmaster is a more assured and mature album than any of the preceding two records and there are clear signs of progress in the band’s songwriting and arrangement abilities. But these improvements feel more like baby steps rather than giant leaps towards stardom, resulting in an album that feels like a close cousin to its predecessor Oceanborn, with all the pros and cons of the case.

Sonically, the album is based on similar coordinates as Oceanborn. By their third album, Nightwish have seemingly found a niche of their own with their special blend of symphonic power metal with operatic vocals that pulled them apart from the rest of the power metal scene of the time. As a whole, Wishmaster is perhaps somewhat less “speedy” and aggressive compared to Oceanborn. There are more mid-tempos and the power metal influences are partly diluted by more traditional metal influences, hinting at the transition towards symphonic metal the band will complete a few years down the road.

Relative to Oceanborn, Wishmaster displays clear improvements in the songwriting department. Tuomas Holopainen seems to have refined his ear for strong melodic lines that surface more consistently throughout all tracks of the album. This was one of the main problems with the previous album, where moments of melodic brilliance were starkly juxtaposed to blander and more anonymous episodes. There are more melodic hooks on Wishmaster, with most songs endowed with decent memorable choruses that ensure proper climactic release.

This ensures that Wishmaster overall feels more balanced than its predecessor. Herein, however, lies the biggest limit of the album, perhaps. It all feels a bit too samey, without many really spectacular moments of brilliance like “Swanheart” and “Walking in the Air” on Oceanborn. Sure, there are strong tracks here too. The album opener “She Is My Sin”, the bombastic title-track, the soft ballad “Two for Tragedy” are all excellent compositions, although they perhaps do not reach the level of the aforementioned tracks from Oceanborn. Other tracks are less impactful, like “Come Cover Me”, “Bare Grace Misery” and “Crownless”, continuing Nightwish’s unfortunate tradition of diluting the quality of their albums’ tracklists with fairly anonymous fillers. The longer tracks are equally disappointing, showing that the band have not yet found the formula to write “mini-epics” that are engaging through and through. The end result is that, halfway through the record, one starts having this nagging feeling of deja-vu, as the same ideas are repeated over and over again without much variation.

Nevertheless, Wishmaster is a strong record, confirming the potential of the Finnish band as one of the leading forces in the European metal scene. It is also clear, however, that Nightwish are still “work in progress” as they have not yet found the right formula for a perfect album, capable of flowing seamlessly from start to finish without boring or tiring the listener.

NIGHTWISH Oceanborn

Album · 1998 · Power Metal
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lukretion
Only one year after having released their debut album Angels Fall First, Nightwish made a comeback with their second full-length, Oceanborn. Apart from the addition of bassplayer Sami Vänskä, the lineup is the same as on the debut LP, with Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards, Emppu Vuorinen on bass and guitars, Jukka Nevalainen on drums and Tarja Turunen on vocals. But Oceanborn is a very different beast relative to the endearing but still raw debut album. Nightwish have now found their footing and have started to unlock the potential that they had only hinted at on the previous record.

Oceanborn has a much clearer sonic identity than Angels Fall First. While that album was suspended between folk metal, power metal and symphonic and operatic ambitions, Oceanborn embarks more decidedly the path of symphonic power metal with operatic vocals. Relative to the debut album, the folk influences are toned down considerably (they only surface on the instrumental “Moondance”). There are fewer mid-tempos and acoustic interludes and far more bombastic uptempos that are a feast of powerful guitar riffs, tight drum grooves and swirling keyboard interjections. While this may bring Nightwish’s sound closer to other European power metal bands (Stratovarius, Rhapsody), the overall result is an album that feels more well-defined and more assured of its direction and identity, which is a substantial improvement over the debut.

There also signs of maturity in Tarja’s vocal performance. Her melodies are better than most of what she sang on Angels Fall First and her tone and expressivity have also improved. She sounds more in control of her voice, which remains splendid. Thankfully, Tuomas Holopainen this time decided to refrain from providing a male counterpart to Tarja’s vocals. His performance on Angels Fall First was terrible and he wisely decided to let all vocal duties to Tarja on this album. There are two songs (“Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean” and “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion”) that contain male vocals by Tapio Wilska (Finntroll). His performance is halfway between narration and singing and, oddly, it reminds me of some of the narrated parts one can find on Cradle of Filth’s albums.

The album is also a step-up in terms of production value. Oceanborn’s sound is smoother and more balanced than the debut album. The rough edges of that album (hyper-distorted guitar sound that dominated the keyboards; drums slightly too upfront in the mix) have been smoothened and the mix and mastering of the duo Mikko Karmila/Mika Jussila is truly excellent.

Despite the considerable signs of progress, however, it is also clear that Oceanborn is still “work in progress” for Nightwish, and that there is still ample room for further improvement. The main dissatisfaction with the album lies in the inconstant quality of its material. There are only a handful of songs where Nightwish seem to be able to fully realize their immense potential, by writing tunes where everything “clicks” and just falls into the right place. “Passion and The Opera” and the ballads “Swanheart” and “Walking in the Air” are the only three songs that I can really call masterpieces on this album. These songs have it all: great melodies, lean structures, sophisticated arrangements (that beautiful strings quartet on “Swanheart”), and fantastic performances. The rest of the album does not quite reach this level of accomplishment. “Gethsemane” gets closer, thanks to its brooding chorus, but it loses steam towards the middle before inexorably drifting towards a meandering conclusion. “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean” and “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion” are meant to be ambitious “mini-epics” where Nightwish showcase their “progressive” ambitions, but they feel clunky and drag on far too long, showing that there is still work to do in the songwriting department. Other tracks, such as “Sacrament of Wilderness” and “The Riddler”, are little more than inoffensive fillers that do little more than diluting the overall quality of the tracklist.

Overall, Oceanborn is an album of hits and misses where Nightwish manage to channel their immense talents into perfect compositions only in a handful of tracks. When they do, the outcome is nothing short of breathtaking. The rest of the album leaves the listener with the bittersweet taste of unfulfilled potential, while nevertheless confirming that Nightwish are a band on the rise and a force to be reckoned with in the European metal landscape.

power metal movie reviews

HELLOWEEN United Alive

Movie · 2019 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kingcrimsonprog
Imagine a Judas Priest show with both Tim Ripper Owens and Rob Halford singing together. No wait… Imagine a Sepultura show with both Max Cavelera and Derick Green singing. No wait, that’s not even it. I’ve got it… Imagine an Iron Maiden show with Paul Dianno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bailey all singing. Well, maybe, if Dickinson had left after four albums and Blaze had been there ever since. Ok, Now swap out the zombie mascot for some comedy pumpkins and you’re approaching the situation here. Helloween, one of Germany’s biggest and most important bands, one of the most iconic Power Metal bands in history, with one of the most impressive family trees (Gamma Ray, Masterplan, Freedom Call, Unisonic, Iron Savior etc) make one of the most anticipated decisions in the history of the genre.

Who is your favourite Helloween singer? Is it Kai Hansen, the heaviest singer and the original? Is it Michael Kiske, the most technically accomplished and the one from their most iconic record? Or is it Andi Deris, their best frontman and the singer on the most albums? – Turns out, now you don’t have to choose. United Alive, the live video from the Pumpkins United tour sees all three join the stage together, cracking out a career spanning mixture of material from the earliest thrashiest material to the modern gems, with all the iconic genre defining masterpieces from the peerless Keepers’ era sprinkled in too.

There are over 20 tracks here (some are intros and solos, and some are medleys/combinations, but still…) that’s a lot of Helloween. All three singers take it turns to sing. Sometimes not even a song each, but rather dividing it up section by section inside each song, or all at once. It is very welcome to hear them back on some of their own tracks like ‘Heavy Metal Is The Law’ after not hearing it on the other live videos, or ‘Dr. Stein’ after having heard only Deri’s take on it previously. Conversely it is very interesting to see Kai or Kiske sing on some of the big commercial ‘90s/’00s hits like ‘Perfect Gentleman’ or ‘If I Could Fly.’

There are often 7 members on stage at the one time (or 8 if you count the keyboardist, Eddy Wrapiprou). There’s Weikath and Grosskopft on guitar and bass as always. Sascha Gerstner and Daniel Löble on guitar and drums like the last several albums. And the three aforementioned singers (with Kai also playing guitar).

There’s a mix of footage, ranging from headline shows in Madrid, Spain to festival appearances at Wacken and in Brazil. Sort of like they did already on their previous ‘Legacy World Tour 2005/2006 DVD.

Normally I really prefer a concert DVD to come from one single show, rather than complied from a series of different dates in different places with different lighting, sound and camera work, but given that the band itself is now a compilation of past and present members and some of the songs included are medleys, I don’t know why but it just works here.

The band put on a great show. There’s a lot going on. There’s video screens, a big pumpkin stage set piece around the drum kit (which has 4 kickdrums for some reason, just to add to the over-the-top feel of it all), a light show, and a few cheesy moments like members coming out dressed in a top hat and cane, or raining pumpkin balloons.

Deris, ever the consummate front man is great at revving up the crowd, and then the different members get spotlights for certain tunes and join up on others, there’s prolonged solo segments, a tribute to late drummer Ingo Schichtenberg, its all very diverse and entertaining. They even do a stripped-down bare bones version of the ballad ‘Forever And One’ straight after a super heavy Walls Of Jericho/EP medley, which pretty much shows both polar opposites of the band’s varied discography.

There’s multiple different ways you can buy it. DVD, Blu Ray, combinations thereof. Versions with CDs. The version I got it two Blu Rays. One with the concert and one with a load of extra footage. There’s a few extra songs (Including the underrated ‘Kids Of The Century’ from the oft maligned Pink Bubbles Go Ape album). There’s a bunch of behind the scenes footage looking at various aspects of the tour and production. It comes in a nice shiny digi-book with some brief liner notes and a glossy photo booklet. You know, just as if it wasn’t value for money enough already with an almost three-hour concert of a Helloween fan’s wildest fantasy line-up.

As a concept you really have to hand it to them; its quite a clever move to reuinite with past members without losing current members as some fans never got over Kiske leaving the band or only ever even tried the Keepers albums. Some fans really love the Kai era and you never get to see Helloween play much material from it anymore (you only really get the chance if he chucks one in to a Gamma Ray show some time). Its a great idea to reel them back in and show them how great the Deris era can be too. Come for ‘Halloween’ and ‘Future World’ but stay for ‘Sole Survivor’ and ‘Power’ then learn to love the Deris era if you don’t already.

Thankfully though, its not just the concept that’s good. The whole package is good. The sound, footage, editing and bonus material. Most importantly though, the performance. It doesn’t come across as a novelty cash grab, it really feels like a jubilant celebration. As they say in the opening track ‘Halloween’ ”There’s magic in the air.” This may be cheesy to say (but hey, if you like Helloween, you better be used to cheesy) but it really is a heavy metal dream come true. Buy it!

BETO VÁZQUEZ INFINITY 15 Years Alive LTD Edition

Movie · 2016 · Power Metal
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m3g52
A year ago Beto Vazquez Infinity met its 15 years ... And gave us a feast with joy, good music and diversity. And now we have the fruit in a DVD accompanied with 2 CDs with all the live sound of this recital. The show presented in this DVD contains a section of his classics, then a middle section where all played more Prog Metal and left many open mouths and an end to all motor either energizing. The DVD and limited edition cd show impeccable quality. Everything is divided as follows: The first part of the show was the memories, issues conodcidos discography BVI, renewed and with new energy, with the voices of Caro Guedes, Vero Libre, Casti and Pereyra on a solid band. The band shows with ease, stressed this fact with good camera movements. The sound and picture quality gives a good sense of what was experienced in that reecital of celebration of 15 years. Then began the most difficult part in stage movement, instrumentation and personnel. Metal Prog most part, higher flight, which leaves more than one amazed. Flutes game, rhythm guitars, harp, saxophone and a chorus that vibrated in states of metal, prog and Ethnic ... The third part returns to the strength of metal with Devil Vision by Caro flawless interpretation of Guedes and choirs Nadia Mancini, a soprano who gives the exact support. A material that is worth having, especially if you want to discover Beto Vazquez Infinity, risky in a scene (the Argentina) where it is very difficult for independent bands to achieve, first that recital that is documented, much less achieve DVD + CD unsupported's the big distributors.

ANGRA Angels Cry: 20th Anniversary Tour

Movie · 2013 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Angels Cry 20th Anniversary Live is a 2013 concert Blu-ray by the Brazilian Progressive/Power Metal band Angra. It features the line-up with Italian singer Fabio Lione (ex-Labyrinth, Rhapsody of Fire) on vocals performing material from all eras of the discography passionately – with some interesting guest appearances including Tarja Turunen (ex- Nightwish), Uli Jon Roth (ex-Scorpions), Amilcar Christófaro (Torture Squad) and the Familia Lima string section.

This set has quite high production values. Visually; the thing is an absolute gem. Top notch image quality, great camera work with tasteful editing, and the actual stage show contains interesting video screens with eye catching imagery. Its all just great for the eyeballs, which is why you’re getting a video recording and not an audio recording anyway, right? Well this is totally worth every penny in the visual department.

Sonically, the recording is crystal clear. You can hear every single note, every different drum and cymbal. Its like a Rush concert or something – brilliant clarity and definition. The only thing that’s not absolutely perfect is that in the stereo mix, the rhythm guitar is not as heavy as some of the studio versions, but it is still a brilliant mix nonetheless. Best of all; The performance is beyond stellar; Fabio nails it recreating the band’s different singers’ work well and injects some of his own flair into the proceedings. The guitar solos are out of this world and the tireless drumming of Ricardo Confessori sounds great. Listening to and watching the interesting music is an absolute joy.

Highlights include the fantastic renditions of ‘Evil Warning,’ ‘Nothing To Say’ and the fantastic set closer ‘Nova Era.’ The enthusiastic São Paulo audience seem really into it.

Overall; Its an absolutely great concert DVD on a technical level, and better still it’s a great concert in and of itself. The line-up is strong, the setlist is great and the guest musicians add an extra layer of interest. I highly recommend this to fans of the band, fans of this end of the musical spectrum, and fans of good quality concert recordings. It would be an unquestionable treat for existing fans but would also work really well as a first purchase for newcomers

STRATOVARIUS Under Flaming Winter Skies - Live in Tampere

Movie · 2012 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Under Flaming Winter Skies, Live In Tampere is the first official concert Blu-Ray by the legendary Finnish Power Metal band Stratovarius. It was filmed in Tampere, Finland on the Jörg Michael farewell tour and as such the crowd interaction is in Finnish (with English subtitles) and Jörg gives the crowd a farewell speech. In part, the setlist is built around him, such as the inclusion of `Speed Of Light’ because it was the first song he ever played with the band… although to be fair they’d have probably played that anyway. The main feature lasts around 1hr 52mins and contains 22 tracks, which works out as 17 songs when you discount the intro, guitar solo, bass solo, keyboard solo and speech. There’s a Deep Purple (`Burn’) and The Who (`Behind Blue Eyes’) cover in there, as well as all the fan favourites you’d expect like `Eagleheart’ `Kiss Of Judas’ `Hunting High And Low’ `Paradise’ `Father Time’ `Black Diamond’ etc

The picture is absolutely fantastic, clear and sharp. Its helped a lot by a great but subtle stage show with intelligent use of lighting, and not too much dry ice as well as a tasteful and sensible editing job that is fast and contains enough movement to keep your interest but is slow and still enough so that you can appreciate the actual musicianship (of each member, as none are overlooked.)

The sound is even better with an absolutely crystal clear mix in which you can hear every stoke of every drum, each key get pressed (without the keys being too loud and overpowering the Metal) and every note the bass plays. The vocals are impressive and the crowd noise doesn’t overpower them, even though they sing almost every word and best of all, it all actually seems to be live and not obviously mimed or overdubbed (or indeed out-of-sync). In general, its just one of the best concert audio mixes that I’ve heard so far and very solid visually as well.

The biggest thing in this concert’s favour however is the sheer enthusiasm of the performance; the band are so into it and absolutely deliver on all levels. They are very interactive with the crowd, they interact with each other, Jörg twists and throws his sticks around, the guitars and mic stands are enthusiastically moved around and generally the band just look like they love being there.

In terms of extras; the booklet has a lot of high-quality photos and a little written interview with Jörg. The disc has a bonus 5.1 mix of the track `Elysium’ and there is a 29 minute documentary called `Rewinding From The Past To 2012.’ In terms of Blu-Ray Statistics; the screen format is 1080i/29,97/16:9(1,78:1) and the audio format is DTS HD MA 2.0/5.1 (although the documentary is only available in stereo), the disc format is BD-50 and the region code is: A/B/C.

Overall; this is an excellent, well made and masterfully performed concert Blu-Ray and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s into this sort of thing.

HELLOWEEN Helloween - High Live

Movie · 1997 · Power Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
High Live is a concert DVD by the legendary German Power Metal band Helloween, recorded in Milan, Italy (and Gerona, Spain) in 1996 on the Time Of The Oath tour.

The main feature is a scorching 84-minute concert, in which an energetic and totally on-form band blast through a lot of material from Master Of The Rings and Time Of The Oath to an enthusiastic crowd. Just going off the performance, this is an absolute 5-star live album.

Songs like “Sole Survivor,” “Before The War” and “Power” sound absolutely blistering here, and I’d highly recommend checking it out on that basis. Andi’s vocals on his own material are absolutely excellent on this release, and Uli’s powerful, understated drumming absolutely kills.

There are a few downsides to the overall product however, such as the picture being a little soft and not the sharpest. The sound is pretty great in one way, and you really get that “live feel,” but you have to turn it up fairly loud for it to become clear, as things can sound a bit muddy on low volumes. Nothing show-destroying though.

The other potential downside is that at the end of some songs, it stops, when they cut to the other concert (eg. from Italy to Spain) and the transition isn’t perfectly smooth, which may interrupt the flow a little. Luckily this never happens in the middle of songs or anything outrageous like that, and for the most part isn’t actually too disruptive.

Apart from that, this is a pretty great main feature all round, and shows the band proving why they are still one of the biggest names in Power Metal. In terms of bonus features: There is a text “History” feature, a discography feature and a photo gallery. All your standard ‘90s DVD extras that don’t add too much really, but look good written on the back of the box.

There is also a five minute “review” feature by Malcome Dome, which is a brief Metal Evolution style history lesson with a mixture of archive footage of the band and talking-head footage of Dome. The dialogue is a bit stiff and the audio is a bit muffled, but as a free extra its still worth a watch.

The track-listing for the main concert is:

1. We Burn 2. Wake Up The Mountain 3. Sole Survivor 4. The Change 5. Why 6. Eagle Fly Free 7. Time Of The Oath 8. Future World 9. Dr. Stein 10. Before The War 11. Mr Ego 12. Power 13. Where The Rain Grows 14. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat 15. Perfect Gentleman 16. Steel Tormentor

Overall; If you like the band, especially if you like the Deris era, then it’s a pretty worthwhile purchase. It shows the band at their Europe-conquering best, dripping with enthusiasm and playing like they mean it. The sound and editing are a tiny bit imperfect, but the band themselves more than make up for it. Comment

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