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

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WIND ROSE Wardens of the West Wind Album Cover Wardens of the West Wind
4.86 | 6 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Painkiller Album Cover Painkiller
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HELLOWEEN Helloween Album Cover Helloween
4.55 | 21 ratings
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HELLOWEEN Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Album Cover Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II
4.44 | 134 ratings
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MINDMAZE Back from the Edge Album Cover Back from the Edge
4.60 | 13 ratings
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ORION'S REIGN Scores of War Album Cover Scores of War
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SEVEN KINGDOMS Brothers of the Night Album Cover Brothers of the Night
4.72 | 7 ratings
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ARMORY Empyrean Realms Album Cover Empyrean Realms
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FALCONER Among Beggars and Thieves Album Cover Among Beggars and Thieves
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ETERNITY'S END The Fire Within Album Cover The Fire Within
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NIGHTMARE The Dominion Gate Album Cover The Dominion Gate
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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 Music Reviews

LOVEBITES Judgment Day

Album · 2023 · Power Metal
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I never cease to be amazed by the Japanese power metal act Lovebites. Ever since they made their debut with The Lovebites EP (2017), which quickly turned into the debut album Awakening From Abyss (2017), they've proved consistently that they can play with, if not outplay, the best of them and have a sound that is precisely what power metal should be about: fast, melodic, heavy and most importantly varied in influences that add trappings that range from symphonic to thrash metal.

For my money there is no finer modern power metal act.

Lovebites had a bit of a hiccup in in 2021 when bassist Miho, who was also a founder of the band and wrote a fair bit of their material, decided to walk away. The band went on hiatus, but returned to activity in 2022 and brought in new bassist Fami, who joins Asami (vocals), Midori (guitars), Miyako (guitars, keyboards) and Haruna (drums) on Judgement Day (2023), the first album of the new line-up. As usual the band is joined by Mao of the band Light Bringer as a sixth unofficial musician and songwriting collaborator.

As the writer behind some of Lovebites thrashier material, one might wonder if Miho's departure may be felt in the band's sound, but it turns out that this isn't the case at all as the album includes the track Dissonance among its power metal numbers, a thrash track, while rawer speed metal elements also remain in evidence amongst the melody driven power metal that remains the core of their sound. The lead guitar work contains a neoclassical edge adding further flavour while symphonic elements add a tasteful but never domineering bombast to some parts of the album, notably the title track, which is one of their best songs to date, but this feels like an extra strong effort from Lovebites all round, with a claim to being their best yet. I wasn't immediately sold on the gang vocal heavy Stand And Deliver (Shoot ‘em Down), but I've become rather fond of that track with subsequent listens to the album. It's sure to be a crowd pleaser in their live show.

Power metal as a genre often gets a bad rep, which as a big power metal fan I find disappointing and even unfair, even as I admit that there are some bands that earn the genre it's reputation for cheese. Lovebites though are one band that, even if you don't usually listen to power metal, you should check out and Judgement Day would be an excellent album to start with. The band plays about as aggressive as the genre gets without becoming fully speed or thrash metal; there is variety that gives their songs the power to stand out from each other; the musicianship is impeccable. The voice of their singer Asami would be fairly described as accented which is noticeable as the band sings in English rather than their native Japanese, but her voice is great and there's some incredible power there.

Judgement Day is the power metal album to beat in 2023, for my money. I've held off writing this review for quite a while since the album was released, but I haven't heard anything yet that has invalidated that statement. It's also in the running for my Album of the Year 2023. I've played their debut album over thirty times since it first came out which is a lot for someone like me, who listens to a lot of different bands. The group's following albums Clockwork Immortality (2018) and Electric Pentagram (2020) were also great, but always playing catch-up on the number of spins since Awakening From Abyss had that first time wow factor. I have to say though that I expect that Judgement Day will be hitting those numbers in due course. I'm on spin twelve already. Objectively speaking, it is their best record to date.

LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus

Album · 2015 · Power Metal
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Kev Rowland
Back in 1993, the band Thundercross was formed by guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboard player Alex Staropoli, changing their name to Rhapsody in the early Nineties, before changing it to Rhapsody of Fire in 2006 due to copyright issues (I do hope you are paying attention). In August 2011 the band announced the friendly departure of long-time guitarist, songwriter, and founding member Luca Turilli, along with bassist Patrice Guers and they went on to form Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody while Rhapsody of Fire continued under that name, giving us two symphonic power metal bands with a linked history (and for a time, even the same singer). By the time of this, their second (and final) album in 2015 the line-up had settled with Alessandro Conti (lead vocals), Luca Turilli (guitar, keyboards, orchestral arrangements), Dominique Leurquin (guitar), Patrice Guers (bass), and Alex Landenburg (drums).

There are two different orchestras involved, and the impression is that we are being taken on a Wagnerian journey which somehow also contains some Eastern musical elements. There were also additional singers, including the likes of Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Dan Lucas (KARO), and David Readman (Pink Cream 69), yet for everything which is going on and the undoubted abilities of all involved this album really does wash over the listener. There is just so much taking place that it actually becomes somewhat simplified, and the result is something which has way more in common with a modern opera than it does a metal release. Some of the vocal performances are simply outstanding, such as on “Anhata”, but Turilli has brought in so many elements of classical and opera that he has moved this far away from metal and the result is a hybrid which falls between the two and very different musical camps so that many metalheads will find it too far in one direction while fans of opera will probably think the same, just for different reasons. These days Turilli can be found pursuing a very different musical style, and while I enjoyed the earlier Rhapsody and Rhapsody of Fire releases, this is one I can do without.

HARROW Embrace the World

Album · 1999 · Power Metal
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"Embrace the World" is the 3rd album (and the last in their original run) by Dutch power metal act Harrow. The album was released through Power Records in March 1999. It´s the successor to "Call of the Unborn" from 1996 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Ferry Bult has been replaced by Martin Kuipers.

Stylistically the material on "Embrace the World" continue the dark and heavy power metal style (with progressive metal and thrash metal leanings) of the two predecessors. At this point Harrow have perfected their sound and style and there are therefore few surprises when listening to the album. What you do get here is high quality songwriting, high level musical performances (including a skilled and powerful vocalist in Frank van Gerwen), and a heavy and powerful sounding production, which suits the material perfectly.

I´m often blown away by the powerful nature of the riffs and heavy rhythms, and the vocals are a great asset too. Although van Gerwen can hit the high notes when that is needed, he is predominantly a more aggressive and raw sounding power metal singer, and it definitely adds to the impression of "Embrace the World" as a heavy and dark power metal release. Upon conclusion "Embrace the World" is another quality release from Harrow and although they are seldom mentioned among the greats when it comes to power metal, they certainly could deserve a little more attention. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

HARROW Call of the Unborn

Album · 1996 · Power Metal
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"Call of the Unborn" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Dutch power metal act Harrow. The album was released through A 2 Z in 1996. Harrow formed as far back as 1982 and released the "Fearful Awakening" demo in 1991 and the "The Rising Phoenix" EP in 1993, before releasing their debut full-length studio album "The Pylon of Insanity" in 1994. There has been one lineup change since the predecessor as bassist Johnny Fraterman has been replaced by Freddy Meyer.

"The Pylon of Insanity (1994)" featured a darker and much heavier sound than the more melodic and less heavy early releases by the band. That trend is continued on "Call of the Unborn" which is predominantly also a very dark and heavy power metal release with progressive metal and thrash metal leanings. "Call of the Unborn" is a relaltively varied album though, and it also features a couple of power ballad type tracks, and Harrow are actually a bit hard to label. They tread a fine line between the raw and heavy (semi-thrashy at times) and the more melodic and at times even progressive. The combination of genre elements works well for Harrow and the material is generally both well written and effective. You can bang your head to the heavy riffs and rhythms, but you can also sing along or marvel at the technical skills of the band.

Lead vocalist Frank van Gerwen has a strong voice and a passionate delivery. He mostly sings raw (yet still melodic) on this album, but he can hit the higher notes when that is needed. The original version of album features 12 tracks and full playing time of 70:18 minutes, so it´s a very long album. It´s not really an issue here though as the quality is high throughout. The Japanese version of the album features two bonus tracks (a cover of "Road Racing" by Riot and a cover of "Back on My Feet" by Vanderberg). "Call of the Unborn" is upon conclusion a high quality power metal album and it is fully on par with "The Pylon of Insanity (1994)" if not a notch up in quality from that album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

HARROW The Pylon of Insanity

Album · 1994 · Power Metal
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"The Pylon of Insanity" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch power metal act Harrow. The album was released through Noise Records in 1994. Harrow formed as far back as 1982 and released the "Fearful Awakening" demo in 1991 and the "The Rising Phoenix" EP in 1993.

With the rather drastic change in sound between the material on "The Rising Phoenix (1993)" and the material on "The Pylon of Insanity", my guess is that the former was probably written over several years. Maybe some of the material was even written in the 80s but wasn´t released until 1993, and by that time Harrow already played a different style, but felt the old material was too good to not release (and they were right about that). Let´s just establish that the melodic US power influenced heavy metal, which predominantly featured an uplifting spirit, which was the dominant sound on the EP is not how the material sounds on "The Pylon of Insanity". Instead Harrow now play a darker and more heavy semi-progressive/US power metal style with the occasional raw nod towards thrash metal. Surprisingly there have been zero lineup changes as the two releases could easily have been recorded by two completely different acts.

Harrow are well playing and their new darker and more aggressive style of music suits them pretty well, although they also excelled in the more melodic US power/heavy metal style on "The Rising Phoenix (1993)" EP, and "The Pylon of Insanity" does still feature some sections which remind me of the style on the predecessor (an example is the chorus on "Road to Nowhere"). The riffs are mostly heavy and sharp though and the rhythms equally so. Lead vocalist Frank van Gerwen can still hit the high notes when needed, but he predominantly sings a little more raw here. "The Pylon of Insanity" features a heavy and powerful sounding production job, and upon conclusion it´s a quality debut album by Harrow. I´m a little surprised about the more heavy and dark direction that Harrow have opted to take on this album, but mostly I´m pleasantly surprised. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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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