Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, Grimgotts is a power metal band, yes, this album is as cheesy as the cover artwork makes you believe and yes, if you don’t like keyboards, you should avoid this record. Alright, now that the garage sound black metal elitists are gone, the European power metal enthusiasts can savour this English band’s second full-length record which they offer us to tickle our palate. That’s right, there’s not too many class power metal acts left to sweep the lands from the UK’s shores; Power Quest would be the one closest to Grimgotts melodic sound off the top of my head. But, to be honest, the lads named after Harry Potter lore sound much more Scandinavian anyway, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the band’s members happened to be the Twilight Force guys’ cousins.
Twilight Force is just the right comparison, Grimgotts are equally passionate, unapologetic and nerdy in their power metal ways. As a connoisseur, it warms my heart. Many bands these days are forgetting the origin, the wellspring of melodic power metal: romantic atmosphere, melodies and lyrics akin to the genre’s magnum opus – Symphony Of Enchanted Lands. What has once been perfected does not need to be altered with progressive elements, futuristic electro sounds or science fiction concepts. Give me dragons, give me swords and give me dramatic choruses. Oh, and do Grimgotts deliver.
Opening track “War’s Come To Our Shores” embodies all you will find on Dragons Of The Ages: keyboard-driven sound walls, nostalgic melodies longing for another time and another place, solemn choirs and choruses and the usual, beloved double bass drum style. Atop of the epic orchestration, Andy Barton’s vocals add just the right amount of power metal spirit. Far from perfect, but heartfelt, Barton delivers his lines with an audible amount of passion which makes you forget slight pitch errors. If at all, that might come across as more genuine, similar to Fabio Lione pronouncing sword… well, the way he does. Some hate it, some love it – if you love the spirit of power metal, you will love Grimgotts.
I said it many times, and I’ll say it again, honest melodic power metal like this is an endangered species. The late 2000s narrative about the scene flooding with subpar bands has led to almost no bands dedicating themselves to classic, adventurous-spirited and, yes, tacky, power metal. I am grateful for every band reviving the emotions power metal fans felt when listening to Symphony Of Enchanted Lands. Thank you, Grimgotts.