Grimgotts – Dragons Of The Ages Review

Grimgotts - Dragons of the Ages - Front coverLet’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. Continue reading “Grimgotts – Dragons Of The Ages Review”

Spacelord – Indecipher Review

a1741241995_10Recent years have seen the resurgence of ’70s classic rock and metal styles across all sorts of heavy music genres, from mainstream appeal to stranger, more underground sounds, some in the form of Led Zeppelin, some more Blue Öyster Cult or Black Sabbath. Even I, someone whose interest in musical traditions finds its limit in ’80s hair metal, must admit that albeit far from groundbreaking, young bands like Greta Van Fleet have made the music many would call classics, bad or good, and about which most don’t care anymore, more accessible again. Interestingly enough, Buffalo foursome Spacelord avoid affiliation with any kind of trend; and instead of building an altar of worship to just one band, the four lads brew their own kind of mixture out of Led Zeppelin‘s energy and Alice In Chain‘s darker guitar sounds plus their own quirky influence befitting the outlandishly alien retro sci-fi art and concepts. Continue reading “Spacelord – Indecipher Review”

Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder Review

sdf1Oh, the glory days of pagan metal, remember when Ensiferum released Victory Songs? When Equilibrium let loose their epic masterpiece Sagas? When Turisas were at the height of their songwriting? What would you give to go back to those days? As it turns out, you don’t have to give a lot, all it takes is Atlas Pain‘s new album Tales Of A Pathfinder. Somehow, the freezing winds of the northern sea reached the north of Italy where four men are looking to revive the faltering genre mixture between folk, epic and viking metal with an album that sounds taken straight out of 2008. Conceptually, Atlas Pain do not concern themselves with bloody battle stories but rather tales of times and people in a steampunk cladding. Continue reading “Atlas Pain – Tales Of A Pathfinder Review”

Ancient Bards – Origine: The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review

ancientbards_origineSneakily, but steadily Ancient Bards have grown on me from just another Rhapsody “cover” band – from Italy even – to a serious contender to be the legitimate successors to the genre-establishing warriors who are a bare shadow of their former glory these days, at least the contemporary of Fire incarnation with only one birthing member left. I don’t mean to run down symphonic power metal masterpieces like AB‘s first record, The Alliance Of The Kings, but the borrowing of Rhapsody style was a bit too blatant to lift the album and its sequels beyond the cliche of “just another (albeit great) power metal record”. Continue reading “Ancient Bards – Origine: The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review”

Marius Danielsen – Legend Of Valley Doom Part 2 Review

Marius_Dani22222elsen_LOVD_Part2I am anticipating this review to exceed the average number of mentions of “power metal”, but Norwegian singer, songwriter, guitarist and overall composing mastermind Marius Danielsen makes it hard to avoid that thanks to his metal opera featuring just about anyone famous in the genre. “Metal opera” is a positively tainted phrase coined by Mr. Tobias Sammet and his ground breaking two as such titled records from the early 2000s, which he since left behind and sometimes seems to wish to ignore. Good, good, then someone else can take up the flag where he left it. On paper, it looks like Marius Danielsen’s project is fit for the task; an epic fantasy story and about a billion guest singers and musicians, the prerequisites needed, are present in Legend Of Valley Doom Part 2. Continue reading “Marius Danielsen – Legend Of Valley Doom Part 2 Review”

Sinbreed – IV Review

la07-sinbreed-IV-artwork(1)With 2010’s When Worlds CollideSinbreed made a huge impact on European power metal as one of the progenitors of modern power metal sound we know these days characterized by a focus on prioritizing aggressive drum and guitar sound, along with often lower register power singers as displayed by bands who got famous even beyond the circle of power metal fans like Sabaton. In 2018, Sinbreed continue this path just like they did on their three previous albums, there’s just one major difference: one of the most unique voices of the genre has left the band; Herbie Langhans was replaced by Nick Holleman, probably known best for his job at Vicious Rumors – who his by far not a bad singer, but many will agree that Herbie is on a similar level of distinction as Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén. How does Sinbreed‘s aggressive power metal fare with another singer? Continue reading “Sinbreed – IV Review”

Seventh Wonder – Tiara Review

CoverYeah, any Tiara review’s opening will use the 8 years time span between Seventh Wonder‘s last record, The Great Escape, 2010, and Tiara. Is it more or less tacky to go meta? Anyway, eight years! That builds expectation. Especially as the Swedes have never disappointed with their albums, putting out prog metal opus one after another. Granted, after the epochal Mercy Falls from 2008, there is little left to be said. The band could have stopped right then and there with one of the greatest prog metal albums of all times in their catalogue. Fortunately for us, we are still getting new stuff, even though at a relatively slower rate than in the ’00s. Part of that is surely singer Tommy Karevik’s engagement in Kamelot, which seems to have left little time for his true home. Let’s shed no tears here though and get instead rejoice that we get another Seventh Wonder record after all with the band in peak form and Tommy exercising the whole range of his prowess. Continue reading “Seventh Wonder – Tiara Review”

Dragony – Masters Of The Multiverse Review

Dragony_MOTM_Cover_fin_weblThere are few genuine classic melodic power metal bands left in the business, with most ancient champions either retiring or “evolving” into something no one asked for. Austria’s Dragony have been supplying the old power metal crowd with finest European forged steel since their inception around 2011, when their first album Legends released independently, a time where I’d known them for a while already and had come to revel in the ’90s symphonic power goodness long before the band was signed by Limb Music in 2012, who released Legends again. Smart move, after all, Legends was the most explosive piece of the genre I’d heard in a long time. Continue reading “Dragony – Masters Of The Multiverse Review”

Dynazty – Firesign Review

38614493_10155362015946504_3741389648413327360_nIn 2016, Dynazty released the best power metal album of the year. Titanic Mass was a massive titan of hit rate, with every song being amazing in its own right. This caught me by surprise as I’d never even heard of the band before. What, me, the power metal mastermind? That’s because Dynazty went through some major changes in their rather short history. Their first release Bring The Thunder in 2009 was deep, deep in sleaze rock/metal revival territory à la Reckless Love or H.E.A.T. The same holds true for the two follow-up records in 2011 and 2012, only with 2014’s Renatus shifting towards the… right direction. Titanic Mass saw the band at the top of their power metal evolution with an extremely modern high-energy sound in the vein of Amaranthe or Borealis. Continue reading “Dynazty – Firesign Review”

Black Majesty – Children Of The Abyss Review

438248Black Majesty have been one of the premier faces, if not the face of Australian power metal since their debut Sands Of Time in 2003. Their first three, characteristically blue-covered albums released through then legendary power metal label Limb Music perfectly suited the spirit of the time: melodic guitar leads, rapid fire riffs and drums and overall high-energy fast-paced tracks put Black Majesty musically much closer to their European power metal siblings than the often much heavier Australian outlets like Dungeon. Continue reading “Black Majesty – Children Of The Abyss Review”