power metal

Album Review: Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child

When last we saw Sonata Arctica, the veteran band was in the midst of rebuilding their legacy, after a detour that alienated a large portion of their fan base. That record was a step in the right direction, but not one that was up to the standard that everyone has set for the band. For every great song they wrote, there was a ridiculous attempt at pop stardom, or a banjo-infused number that made little sense. By this point, Sonata Arctica has spent almost as much time rebuilding their credibility as they did establishing it in the first place.

Album Review: Van Canto - Dawn Of The Brave

Normally, I'm not one who goes for gimmicks in music. I find them tacky, and mostly useless appendages that try to mask a band's deficiencies. Taking a cookie-cutter band and dressing them up in stupid costumes, or writing lyrics about only one subject, doesn't make them any more special. Gimmicks usually expose the band's shortcomings, because the obvious facade only draws attention to their perceived need to distract. I can think of very few bands with a gimmick who have managed to keep my interest, because a gimmick alone is going to get old after a while. Yes, even if you're GWAR.

Album Review: Powerwolf - Preachers Of The Night

Unless you're one of the small number of people who are devout fans of power metal, the term tends to lead you towards the ludicrous. Power metal is an exercise in excess, the kind of metal that doesn't ask why it's so over the top, but rather asks why the top is so low. While there are heavier strains of the music, the common denominator is that it's the kind of stuff 'true' metalheads are loathe to admit they have a soft spot for. To be fair, the reputation for being ridiculous is well-deserved, and Powerwolf wears that like a badge of honor.

Album Review: Lonewolf - "The Fourth and Final Horseman"

We typically use this space to discuss the comings, goings and debuts of heavy metal, but let’s step back a second and ask a metaphysical question: What makes great music? We can all voice our opinions about why we love music to our very cores, and in a debate rarity, we’re all correct. The point is, no matter what our personal reasons are, they are all permutations of the same umbrella concept; like any non-visual medium, we appreciate that music gives us a mental image, or inspiration or a journey. Simply stated, no matter our stripes, music takes us someplace.

Album Review: Trinakrius - Seven Songs Of The Seven Sins

It's almost a rite of passage that at some point in their career every metal band will either make a concept album, or will at least write a thematic suite of songs. Something about compositions that extend beyond the usual boundaries of a four minute song is like catnip for artists, the sort of thing they think needs to be done to prove they are indeed artists at heart. What gets lost in translation is how few concept albums actually work as a focused piece of music.

Album Review: Fullforce - Next Level

One of the things that irritates me about the metal scene is the habit of making everything sound like a bigger deal than it really is. I'm referring mostly to the incessant need to label any project that features people who have been in other bands as a 'supergroup'. The bands that actually deserve to be called that are exceptionally rare, and the cluttering of the scene with dozens who wrongly wear the moniker only serves to make me even more upset when the end result turns out to be lackluster.

Album Review: Kamelot - Silverthorn

There are times in a band's career when they need a shock to the system. For whatever reason, they get stuck in a rut and lose the spark that made them what they were. Fans can hear it, and when that happens, the critics begin to grow louder. Each album becomes less beloved than the one before it, there's more talk about their prime being over, and anticipation for the future begins to wane. When this happens, there aren't many things that can be done to return a band to their former glory.

Album Review: Holy Knights - Between Daylight And Pain

In what has been a quiet year for traditional power metal, there's a gaping hole waiting for someone to step through and become the next big thing. The mainstay bands are either in between albums, or have moved too far away from the core sound for purists, which sets the stage for someone to claim this as their time. One thing we have learned over the years is that power metal is never going to go away, no matter how much it is looked down upon by the masses.

Album Review: Dragony - "Legends"

Originally founded in 2007 under the verbose name “Dragonslayer Project,” Austrian metallers Dragony shortened their title, tightened up their operation and released their debut album “Legends.” It promises the pitch-perfect escapism we’ve all come to expect from symphonic power metal, complete with the standard tankard-swinging anthems and finely tuned lore.

Album Review: Edguy - "Age of the Joker"

I was first introduced to Edguy during my college years, when "Mandrake" was the band's signature album. That album was possessed of fire and heart, armed with a devil-may-care attitude and a new age power metal swagger.

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