Power Metal

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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

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

HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
4.50 | 116 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
4.48 | 122 ratings
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SABATON Heroes Album Cover Heroes
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
4.46 | 95 ratings
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
4.67 | 10 ratings
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
4.85 | 5 ratings
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SEVEN KINGDOMS Brothers of the Night Album Cover Brothers of the Night
4.72 | 7 ratings
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TRIOSPHERE The Heart of the Matter Album Cover The Heart of the Matter
4.71 | 7 ratings
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NIGHTMARE The Dominion Gate Album Cover The Dominion Gate
4.80 | 5 ratings
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SABATON The Great War Album Cover The Great War
4.71 | 6 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
4.65 | 7 ratings
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DARK MOOR The Gates of Oblivion Album Cover The Gates of Oblivion
4.50 | 12 ratings
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power metal New Releases

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Fields of Blood
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The Dark Delight
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Suite 226
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Voici L'Homme
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Gallows of Eden
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Metal Division
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Space Ninjas From Hell
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The Last Knight
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Emblas Saga
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Electric Pentagram
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Wings of Rage
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power metal Music Reviews

HELHESTEN Vanquisher of Darkness

EP · 2019 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Coming from Zaragoza, Spain is a newer power metal band named HELHESTEN which apparently was a wartime journal and means The Hell-Horse. Fairly new on the scene, this band that consists of Mark Norris (rhythm guitar), Adrián Berna (drums), Sergio Beltrán (vocals), Eduardo Benavente (bass) and Marcos Alba (lead guitar) has only released its debut EP in 2019 titled VANQUISHER OF DARKNESS.

This short EP has only five tracks just spilling over the 22 minute mark but displays this band’s fiery flare of crafting a darker power metal style that mixes in a bit of classic 80s metal guitar riffing along with the more familiar power metal heft of faster tempos, heavy use of keyboards and operatic vocal harmonies with some super stellar guitar solos. I’ve been reading that the closest sound to HELHESTEN is the German power metal band Stormhammer.

In many ways this is a typical power metal band that checks off the list of what exactly to bring to the table but the vocal style of Beltrán drifts from the operatic power metal style to more classic 80s metal as well as the dueling guitar parts ranging from the more classic Helloween gallops to the darker and doomier aspects of 80s Dio. One aspect of HELHESTEN’s music is that the rhythm section is on fire and tight-knit throughout the EP’s run with the bass and powerful drum action that often engages in blastbeats cranking out the volume.

While the EP is too short for the full-length experience, HELHESTEN certainly brings the epic dramatic delivery of a classic power metal album to the forefront. The hooks are melodic and catchy and the band pays attention to keeping the dynamics, tempos and variations in song structures interesting however despite the band’s ability to hit all the notes and check off all the power metal boxes VANQUISHER OF DARKNESS does seem to lack enough originality to make it stand out significantly in the crowded world of power metal.

This is only a debut EP so i predict this band will continue on to craft some spectacular albums in the future if they stick it out because although the tracks presented here aren’t extremely memorable, they are certainly performed quite well with excellent musicianship and more than competent songwriting. The production is a little flat but that’s expected for a self-released album that basically serves as a demo in EP form. Not a bad start from these guys from Zaragoza but unfortunately this collection of five tracks can’t compete with the more professional bands that rule the world of power metal…..yet at least.


Album · 2019 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
Here is the tenth studio album by Finnish Power Metal act Sonata Arctica, and by now we all know what to expect and they yet again deliver that with loads of harmonies and hooks. Apparently, they wanted a more live approach to this album, so bass and drums were recorded together as opposed to independently so there was a strong rhythm section sound. Also, all the songs had been written and discussed by the band before going into the studio, so they knew what they needed to achieve. The result is an album where the band shifts between different musical styles – sometimes very heavy indeed and others far lighter and keyboard oriented – yet somehow fails to ultimately inspire.

When I realised there was a new album from Sonata Arctica I was excited, and was looking forward to playing it, but by the time I had been all the way through a few times I realised nothing was sticking with me, and although it was okay while it was playing there was nothing there which was really compelling me to go back and listen to it again, apart from knowing I had to write about it. The production from Mikko Tegelman is top rate, while the musicianship and singing is all of the quality one expects from this band who have had a consistent line-up for some time. Indeed, this is the third album with the same guys, and apart from new boy Pasi Kauppinen (bass) they have been together since 2007, so they know what they are doing. But while it would be unfair and incorrect to say they are going through the motions, the best I can say about this is that it is a Sonata Arctica album. If you enjoy melodic rock then you already know who they are, and if you are a fan you may well get a great deal from this, but as for me it’s solid but rarely more than that.


Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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Time Signature
Power metal is coming home...

Serious Black strike back! This album is a lesson in tasty European power metal. It retains the few good things that contemporary European power metal has to offer and blends in all the good stuff from original power metal and traditional metal. I, for one, appreciate that.

Several of the tracks on this album feature some pretty aggressive guitar riffage and drumming, and the album definitely ventures into, if not quasi-thrash, then at least speed metal territory at times while retaining the melodic sensibility of quality power metal. That is not to say that there are no softies on the album - one such example is 'Fate of Humanity' which combines pop rock with metal (and I gotta say, I really like the chorus - in particular the instrumentation, but the vocal line is undeniably catchy). More of a hard-rocker 'Heaven Shall Burn' overlays weirdly cheesy synth parts on top of groovy guitar riffage. It sounds like a recipe for failure, but it works. At the other end of the scale, we find aggressive tracks like 'Let Me Go' and 'Solitude Étude'.

There is just the right amount of cheese on this album, which is otherwise dominated by guitar riffage and compelling guitar melodies along with face-melting guitar solos. The musicianship is top notch as is the songwriting. Some might protest that Urban Breed's vocals are a bit too thin for this type of music, but I think his singing works well.

"Suite 226" is a fine power metal album which seriously challenges my dislike towards European power metal. You know what, I'm happy to be proven wrong by these guys.


Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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Time Signature
Healthy viking cheese...

Tapping into the mythology of their Scandinavian heritage, Swedish Brothers of Metal recently released their second full-length in the form of "Emblas Saga". The album is a tour de force of epic folk-power metal.

The opening track is more of a spoken word introduction, setting the scene for the rest of the album. Fans of Manowar's 'The Warrior's Prayer' will probably like this introduction, because it has a similar atmosphere to it. It's too cheesy for my taste, and when I first heard this track, I expected the album to be your typical Euro-trash cheesy power metal.

Thankfully, my expectations were subverted, because there is almost nothing wrong with the music on this album.

It is larger than life, to be sure, and has that European power metal feel to it. However, Brothers of Metal never o overboard and manage to strike an almost perfect balance between the powerful metal sensibility of older power metal (think Running Wild and Helloween) and the over-the-top approach of contemporary European power metal. Personally, I particularly like how Brothers of Metal inject old school traditional metal into their style. I mean 'Chain Breaker' might as well have been a Judas Priest song, and 'Powersnake' vaguely reminds me of Maiden's 'Blood Brothers'.

There is an underlying folk metal feel to this album, but rather than throwing everything and a million kitchen sinks in here, Brothers of Metal mostly distil their folksy side to essential melodies, many of which - while super catchy - also inherit the melancholy of traditional Scandinavian folk music. There are occasional bursts of folk instrumentation that are both in a dynamic contrast to and a relation of coherence with the power metal side of the album.

It's not the case that the album is totally cheese-free. You can't have European power metal without some cheese. I mean that's like ordering a double cheese burger without cheese. There's plenty of cheese, but it's good cheese with healthy fats and all that. Many of the song openings take on a slightly-over-the-top epic and folky nature but it's not ridiculously indulgent. If you want an example of good cheese, just listen to 'Theft of the Hammer' which is the musical version of a quality burger with a grass-fed beef paddy, double cheedar, extra goat's cheese, and lots of relish. It has several vocal layers, a sympbonic feel, and is overly epic, but it works. For another quality cheeseburger, check out the closing track 'To the Skies and Beyond' which is in may ways the perfect conclusion to this album. Most of the songs on this album feature epic elements, but it never goes awry.

One thing that doesn't work for me is the gruff viking-style semi-spoken vocal style that one of the male vocalists utilize; in fact, I would be perfectly satisfied if Ylva Eriksson took care of all the lead singing. But that's just me. I can see how the male vocals do fit into a viken-esque style of metal. In terms of musicianship, there's nothing wrong with the album. There are some pretty amazing guitar solos to enjoy, and plenty of kick-ass metal riffage. Ylva Eriksson has a voice that suits this style of music perfectly, and delivers some outright beatiful singing in the opening of the title track. The production is crisp, professional and epic.

I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed listening to this album, given that I normally find folk metal, viking metal, and contemporary European power metal in general to be a tad silly. Maybe it's the songwriting displayed on this album, or maybe it's the musicianship. Could be the catchy choruses and compelling vocal melodies. Perhaps the production. Or maybe Brothers of Metal simply appeal to my own Scandinavian heritage in a way that connects with my inner viking. Who know? I just know that I like this album... which I totally didn't expect.

I tip my viking helmet to you, Brothers of Metal. Well played, brothers and sisters, well played.

VICTORIUS Space Ninjas From Hell

Album · 2020 · Power Metal
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When it comes to naming an album, some bands tend to be better than others, with some going with rather over the top ideas, or some interesting concepts, while others seemingly just throw out the most generic-looking title they can come up with, and leave it at that. At the extreme opposite end of the spectrum is Space Ninjas From Hell, the delightfully cheesy title chosen for the fifth full-length album by German power metal band Victorius. Coming off of their equally cheesy and delightfully fun EP, Dinosaur Warfare – Legend of the Power Saurus, it’s clear the band is having a lot of fun with their album titles and lyrical concepts. Putting all that aside, though, the most important question is obviously whether or not the music is any good. Thankfully, Victorius have proven themselves to be a consistently top-notch power metal band over the last several years, and if anything this latest release sees them taking their sound to the next level, to become their silliest, yet most enjoyable release to date!

Anyone familiar with the band’s past few releases should have a good idea of what to expect, as Space Ninjas From Hell doesn’t look to innovate, but instead takes everything that has worked on previous releases and kicks it all up a notch. This is as no-frills a power metal album as any fan could expect, with the entire album consisting of speedy, energetic tracks, with frantic tempos, melodic, super cheesy, yet incredibly catchy choruses, and a strong mix of hard-hitting guitars and nice, retro-style keys, with the music, often having a suitably Japanese flavor, to fit in with the concept.

Speaking of which, the lyrics are indeed as over the top and silly as one would expect just by looking at the title, with tales about evil ninjas being thwarted by wizards, and then coming back for revenge, as well as……. astral assassin sharks? Yep! Perhaps my one criticism regarding the concept is the closing track, which is essentially 2 ½ minutes of narration explaining the overall concept, somewhat in the style of a very cheesy movie trailer. This would have likely worked well enough as an intro track (though it would still feel a tad overlong) but as the end of an album, it feels a bit anticlimactic, especially since it gets you hyped up, as it explains the different themes covered throughout the album, only to make you have to restart the album to hear the songs again. Performances are amazing across the board, as always, with David Baßin excelling with his powerful, slightly animated vocals, while duo guitarists Dirk Scharsich and Florian Zack are given quite a bit of space to work with, and of course, the keyboards are delightfully cheesy and fun, without ever getting to be too much, which has happened a bit on some recent power metal albums. Production is also excellent, and everything sounds perfect.

The songs themselves are the definite highlight, though, with no less than excellent songs across the whole album. Kicking things off is “Tale of the Sunbladers”, an extremely epic, very melodic, super fast-paced power metal track, with some of the most energetic verses I’ve heard in quite some time, enhanced by bursts of epic choir vocals. The chorus is extremely melodic and catchy and is one of the best on the album. while the solo section in the second half has some wonderful melodies. The song overall has a great mix of hard-hitting guitars and nice, retro-sounding keys, with slight symphonic elements, and it’s a delightfully fun track from start to finish.

Next up is “Ninjas Unite”, which keeps the momentum going with more fast tempos throughout the verses, only slowing down briefly for a darker pre-chorus section, before then going back to full speed for another fun chorus. It’s another straightforward, very catchy and energetic track, with excellent vocals and great guitar work. The lead single is “Supersonic Samurai”, which opens up with a nice, slow keyboard section, before speeding up with some nice duo guitar work, and this continues throughout the lightning-fast verses, which then leads into wild, over the top chorus with more wonderful vocal lines. The track, on the whole, has a very distinct Japanese flavor, especially in some of the guitar melodies, with the instrumental section in the second half especially showcasing this. That theme continues throughout the other singles, with “Nippon Knights” having some especially cheesy, but delightful Japanese sounding keys throughout, while “Shuriken Showdown” has a slight trance feel to it. Both tracks are fun and very upbeat, though not quite on the level of “Super Sonic Samurai”.

In between the singles is “Evil Wizard WuShu Master”, another track with some delightfully cheesy keyboards, wonderful duo guitar work, fast and furious tempos and a very melodic, yet intense chorus, with slight hints of darker melodies, at points. Three tracks later, (following the latter two singles) is “Wasabi Warmachine”, which starts with some rather cringe-inducing (but still kinda funny) narration, before launching into one of the most intense tracks on the album. It alternates nicely between slow and speedy sections and brings back some of the darker, heavier feels of the band’s third album, Dreamchaser, with some slightly thrashy guitar work throughout, and an overall darker tone, compared to most of the album. Even the keys have a sinister sound to them, with a slight symphonic feel, while the chorus is slower and quite intense. It’s a very enjoyable track, overall, and is a change of pace, compared to how light and upbeat most tracks are, which helps it to be a clear standout track.

Switching back to the more usual fare, “Wrath of the Dragongod” is a more mid-paced track, with a very upbeat feel, enhanced by epic choir vocals, and a huge, extremely melodic and catchy chorus. It starts off very light but picks up in speed and intensity as it goes on, with more excellent guitar work and some very nice, slightly Japanese sounding keys. The award for the best-named song of 2020 almost certainly has to be “Astral Assassin Shark Attack”, and thankfully the song itself fully delivers, with an absolutely wonderful keyboard intro, before fully speeding up with some insanely over the top guitars and keys. It flies through a wildly fun opening verse, before opening up for an awe-inspiring, insanely cheesy, yet undeniably addictive chorus, which has to be heard to be believed. The entire track is an absolute blast, with even the very brief instrumental section having some great melodies, and the song certainly puts a smile on my face every time. In case the album wasn’t already delivering the goods, next is the title track, which has a slightly darker feel than most (though not quite on the level of “Wasabi Warmachine”), as it moves at a fairly moderate pace throughout the verses, with more slightly thrash infused guitars and some rather dark, slightly symphonic keys, with a distinctly Japanese flavor, once again. The chorus is one of the best on the album, speeding up nicely, with some incredibly fun and cheesy lyrics, and the slowed down, softly sung rendition near the end of the track is especially awesome. Overall, it’s probably my favorite track, here, and it’s certainly an incredible track, either way.

The last full song on the album is “Cosmic Space Commando Base”, a slower, lighter track, with some very nice melodic guitar work, and some nice, futuristic keys. While it’s a fairly laid backtrack, it still has some excellent melodies and a very catchy chorus, and it would have been a great way to end the album. Sadly, though, the album ends with the narration track I mentioned earlier, and while it’s a fairly entertaining track on its own, having it end the album just feels a bit disappointing.

Aside from that slightly anticlimactic ending, Space Ninjas From Hell is another triumph for Victorius, as it’s possibly their best, most consistently entertaining and delightfully cheesy release to date, with some of their tightest, most energetic songwriting so far. It’s a very fun release, which should please any fan of speedy, melodic power metal with a nice mix of powerful vocals, great duo guitar work, and some delightfully cheesy but not intrusive keyboards. Fans of previous releases should be delighted with this one, while anyone looking for a great power metal release is highly recommended to give this a try, as it’s sure to be one of the best releases from the genre to come out in 2020.

Originally written for myglobalmind.com: https://myglobalmind.com/2020/01/18/victorius-space-ninjas-from-hell-review/

power metal movie reviews

HELLOWEEN United Alive

Movie · 2019 · Power Metal
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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!


Movie · 2016 · Power Metal
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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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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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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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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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