Power Metal: June 2014 Edition (In August)

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Disforia - The Age of Ether
I’ve noticed that in most metal circles, power metal seems to be sorely under-represented.  It’s too cheesy, lacks riffs, or is just “pop metal” are often used excuses, but I rarely hear any legitimate complaints about the genre outside of generic dismissals.

When I hear people use one of those excuses, all I hear is a BIG FAT WIMP denying himself.  Embrace it, my brothers and sisters, or be left behind in the darkness of self-loathing.  I am here to guide you to the land of sunlight, where you may know majesty, honor, and glory!

From now on, expect a monthly synopsis of the best the power metal world has to offer us.  I am starting with June, because June was a strong month with many bands releasing solid albums.  From those, here are the albums that represent the very best of the genre.

 


Disforia – The Age of Ether
Disforia - The Age of Ether

If there is one album that will make you change your mind about power metal, this may be it.  Disforia bring influences from all across the board here, and use them all in a supremely satisfying way. This is also a concept album, so sci-fi nerds, rejoice.

All the members consistently display their talent throughout the album, whether it be through riffs, solos, drum fills, etc.  John Yelland, the vocalist, stands out as a magnificent vocalist, layering his vocals Hansi style and delivering a very memorable performance as not only the singer, but also as a voice actor. The story of the album, and the lyrics, are passionately woven between two main characters, and demonstrate that the band has an incredible talent at writing engaging stories.

If the talent of the band isn’t enough for you, they also have two exquisite performances from guest vocalists.  Brittney Slayes of Unleash the Archers fame lends her aggressive style to “Lunar Sunrise” and kicks the intensity and beauty of the chorus to 11.  The one, the only, the legend himself, Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, appears on “The Dying Firmament”, and gives us a dark performance that represents the lyrical subject extremely well.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Between the Buried and Me had a child with Blind Guardian, this is what you would get.  I cannot recommend this album highly enough.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Everyone.
Listen – The Dying Firmament


Falconer – Black Moon Rising
Falconer - Black Moon Rising

For anyone who has ever complained that power metal lacks riffs, Falconer is here to give you a swift kick in the sack.

This band has been putting out quality riff factories since their 2001 self-titled debut, and in my opinion, this may very well be the best thing they’ve ever done.  Every song is a winner, but the major standouts would have to be Black Moon Rising, Wasteland, In Ruins, and Age of Runes.

Throughout the album, Falconer present an expertly done mixture of power metal, folk, and, at times, almost black metal riffage.  Most of the album keeps a speedy tempo, and the album never lets up on riffage.  Jimmy Hedlund provides fabulous guitar solos throughout the album that will usually leave your jaw on the floor.

We haven’t even gotten to my favorite part of Falconer: Mathias Blad.  For those of you who can’t stand the castrati high vocals of most power metal bands, Mathias Blad and his powerful bass/baritone voice are here to set you free.

The album art fits the album art perfectly: what better to represent this album than a flaming falcon charging you beneath a black moon?

RECOMMENDED FOR:  Fans of riffs, folk, bass/baritone vocals

Twilight Force – Tales of Ancient Prophecies
Twilight Force - Tales of Ancient Prophecies

Upon first listen, you may not believe that this is their debut.  This release takes the normal stereotypes of bands like Rhapsody and goes even more over the top with them, resulting in an exhilarating and fun experience.  Prepare yourself, for this album is dripping with cheesy synths, hilariously bad (to the benefit of the album’s atmosphere) voice acting, blistering solos, and soaring vocals.

I’m not even talking about your normal soaring vocals.  Christian Hedgren floats up to the range where most power metal singers call it a day, steps on your face, then goes up another half-octave, and OWNS it.  At times, he has a bit more grit than your average flowery power metal band.

The only flaw I find with this album is that it’s just too short.  7 tracks, plus 4 interludes/short instrumentals, and a 36 min run time leaves more to be desired from this speedy little album.  Fortunately, every full track is an excellent mixture of hooks, catchy choruses, and even contains the staple of a cheesy power metal album: the ballad.

Would recommend to all fans of metal as an example of flowery power metal done right.

RECOMMENDED FOR:  Fans of the Packers, cheese, dragons, elves, fairies, and anyone who likes having fun

Noveria – Risen
Noveria - Risen

This band was a surprise for me.  I was very disappointed when the album artwork wasn’t a Mass Effect reference like their name suggests, but the music quickly assuaged any fears I had.

Noveria gives to us a progressive, much heavier power metal experience.  One of the first things I noticed is the production.  The guitar is nice, heavy, and crunchy, and present plenty of riffs and slick lead work.  It is the loudest instrument, as it should be on a metal album, but expertly mixed so that the keyboards are audible, the drums still drive the album, and the grittier vocals carry the listener forward.  In true progressive and power fashion, all the instruments shred and impress consistently through the album, whether it’s a rapid, complex, and precise drum fill or a razor sharp guitar solo slipped in between transitions, the band is plain nasty.

If you enjoy the later work of Nevermore, you’re going to feel right at home here.

RECOMMENDED FOR:  Fans of progressive metal (Nevermore, DGM, Symphony X)

Boguslaw Balcerak’s Crylord
Crylord - Gates of Valhalla

This band has quite a mouthful for a name, but don’t let that discourage you.  Crylord is here to give you an epic symphonic power metal adventure.  Overall, a very fun album with plenty of catchy hooks, choruses, and impressive solos.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of symphonic power metal
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  • I dislike power metal, but I’ll definitely take the time to check these out this week. I’m sure I can something in here I like.

    • Drewcifer

      I like that you’re willing to make the effort to can something in here you like. I used to brush of the shiny swords and dragons until I found bands that sounded more like Lord of The Rings than Harry Potter. Na’ mean?

      • The second I find some Lord of the Rings sounding shit, I’m sold.

        • ITS EVERYWHERE YOU BLIND NERD

        • Randall Thor

          Warrior, you will be filled with joy when you discover the bards known as Blind Guardian

          • Drewcifer

            One of the best live concerts I have ever seen. You know the part in “And Then There Was Silence” where it goes, “La la la la la la, The darkness shall be over now there’s nothing more to fear, come join in and sing together dance with us now!” When that happened the crowd all, in unison, like some sorta mind meld, joined arms and began skipping. It was gayer than a maypole, and BG loved it, so Hansi gave Andre the “Keep it rolling” signal and they repeated the section like 4 times. All us Neckbeard Knights almost died of exhaustion. Blind Guardian = Happiness Incarnate.

          • Xan

            Quite possibly the best power metal song of all time (to me): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga-q0F7oWnU

          • Xan

            Blind Guardian is my favorite power metal band. They possess an element which I can’t pinpoint that most other power metal bands are missing.

          • Randall Thor

            Rhapsody is the only band that, IMO, can compete on that level. Even then, they still just don’t reach that same level of quality. Blind Guardian seem to somehow rise above the usual cheese of power metal, whereas Rhapsody is great because of the cheese. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

          • TEAM LUCA

          • Drewcifer

            Perfect sense. I never even think twice about whether or not to take Guardian seriously. It’s like J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin level literature Vs. like,, … children’s authors who’s names you don’t remember.

          • Scrimm

            I have the game Sacred 2 for my xbox 360. Blind Guardian is actually in the game, you have to go on quests to recover their instruments.

          • Xan

            I love that game. My friend and I did a cover of that song. It sounds horrific.

        • Drewcifer

          If this doesn’t give you a 60% chub, your earballs are broken. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmu0LMlS8Us

    • Rob M

      Im picky as shit about it, but the site-who-must-not-be-named previewed that Falconer album a few months back and its actually really good…not the giant cheese-fest most power metal suffers from

  • I enjoy power metal (as well as many other sub-genres of rock and heavy metal.) I haven’t heard any of these bands so now I have some new stuff to check out. Thanks for the coverage.

  • W.

    I’m looking forward to Noveria. Nevermore left a hole in my heart that nothing has been able to fill.

    • Dead Heart is a masterpiece. I remember getting the Sanctuary “Refuge Denied” album shortly after it was released. Most of my friends hated the vox but I loved it. Still crank that shit to this day.

      • W.

        Dreaming Neon Black was the first one I picked up, but Dead Heart and This Godless Endeavor are absolutely unflushable. I was disappointed in Obsidian Conspiracy, but I get the feeling that they were basically done as a band at that point.

        • Drewcifer

          I really really like Dreaming Neon Black, but I’m a sucker for concept albums in general. The First song I ever heard by them was The River Dragon Has Come, and it still reigns for me as one of their best pieces, Besides the title track off Godless Endeavor, which is a straight up Epic.

          • W.

            Seriously, I love Nevermore. Even the early stuff on the self-titled. Jeff Loomis’s solo work just doesn’t do it for me without Warrel warbling over the track.

          • Drewcifer

            Exactly. I love the self titled and Politics of Ecstasy. That stuff was a lot more thrashy than proggy to me, but its all awesome. I live brave vocalists like Warrel when it’s pulled off. Sort of off topic, but Anyone else obsessed with Pain of Salvation?

          • Speaking of warbles… squirrel season is just around the corner! Watch out for the squirrels
            with warbles!

            GL

          • Warbles.

            GL

          • WTF IS THAT

          • The bot fly lays eggs in trees. The squirrels accidentally eat them, the larvae grow in the skin of the squirrel, then hatch out. They do not hurt the squirrel, but they are metal as fuck.

            I have never shot a squirrel with them, but I saw my first infested squirrel last fall while in a tree stand.

            Cats and other critters get them as well. But, squirrels are in trees more often than Mr. Bojangles sorry ass!

            GL

          • Steve Smithwick

            If Mr. Bojangles climbed a few more goddamn trees, he wouldn’t be so fucking fat.

            SS

          • W.

            Bot flies terrify me. So gross.

          • Tyree

            I just did a google image search. BARF!

          • Rob M

            Hell yes..Id up-vote this to infinity in agreement if I could

          • the most metal thing on the planet: cymothoa exigua (the parasite that latches itself onto a fish’s tongue and intercepts its food)

            http://www.photomonde.fr/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Cymothoa-Exigua-le-parasite-d%C3%A9voreur-de-langue-photo-02.jpg

          • Cock of Steele

            still fapped

          • crazytaco_12

            What in the actual fuck, thoroughly disgusted today

          • The Satan ov Hell

            The most metal thing on the planet is Cordyceps, the spores get inside the insect, and take control of it’s body, forcing it to climb high above the colony, then the fungus grows out of it’s brain, and spreads spores to all the other ants.

          • i accept this. Cordyceps wins.

          • Max

            Cymothoa Exigua. My new band name. And you’ve supplied the cover art too.

          • crazytaco_12

            !!!

          • Cock of Steele

            My reaction exactly.

          • Congratulations!

            Your comment was the 10,000th comment on the site!!!!!!! HOOORAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!

          • Fucking gross, dude.

          • Tyree

            That dons’t look comfortable.

          • crazytaco_12

            Something so disgusting I couldn’t even feel good about upvoting it

    • Randall Thor

      Noveria sounds like a greasy, rusty sword being dragged by a cyborg down a dark hallway while fires rage behind him, his red eyes the only thing visible between showers of sparks.

      • W.

        Hey man, have you ever listened to Cellador? I remember picking up their debut album about 8 years ago, but I haven’t heard anything from them since.

        • Randall Thor

          Cellador are magnificent.

          • W.

            You just made my heart flutter.

        • Flushgod Apocalypse

          I first heard this band on an old compilation before the debut came out, and then promptly picked up the debut when it dropped. Cellador was my fucking jam — I’m forever grateful for reminding me of them.

    • trying to replace Nevermore is quite the… [puts on sunglasses, lens pops out] …godless endeavor.

      • dingus

        OH NOOOOOO

        You’re off the case McNulty

  • Drewcifer

    Thank you Sir! Power metal is severely underrepresented in most metal discussion. My absolute main squeeze is tech-death like Spawn of Possession, Obscura, etc, and I regularly switch from that directly to Blind Guardian, Mago de Oz, etc.

  • Thanks TP. The world needs you.

    Jamming Twilight Force!

  • God

    Tommy P is that you?

    • Christian Molenaar

      Shhhhh…keep it on the DL God

      • God

        Oh crap. Did I break rule 1?

    • Randall Thor

      The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the third age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long pass, a flush rose in the Toilet Ov Hell. The flush was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

      I may have been known by that name in an age to come, an age long forgotten.

      • God

        Awesome 🙂

      • Tommy P. was seriously wounded, but the soul still burns.

        • W.

          Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords eternally retold.

  • Lady SteelDragon

    Great. The last thing MSD needs is more power metal to poorly sing along to.

    • W.

      I was singing some power metal in the shower one day, and Mrs. W. was like, “What on earth are you doing in there?”

      • Lady SteelDragon

        That’s me everyday.

        • YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME.

          • Lady SteelDragon

            Good.

          • Tell us how you really feel MSD

            GL

          • W.

            I love that your wife is on here punking you. I think we would all be much nicer folks if our wives put us in our places in our nerd haven.

          • JWG

            I don’t need a wife to do that. I have snooty relatives.

            …And I’d rather they not have access to my internets.

          • The Satan ov Hell

            Miss Ov Hell just does it through the NSA

      • Drewcifer

        Do you have like PTSD Hawk Dreams where you yelp at two octaves above speaking voice?

        • W.

          To quote Burton C. Bell:

          In dreams I see myself flying
          Closer to the sun, and I’m climbing
          Try to touch the sun
          But the brightness burns my eyes

      • Xan

        My neighbor got really angry at me because I was singing Cry of a Restless Soul by Lost Horizon much too loudly in the shower at 6:00 A.M.

      • Metaphysical Anus

        I was singing “people ain’t no good” in the shower.

    • Rhonda Pearlman

      You should hear what @James_Jimmy_McNulty:disqus sings in the shower. He’s typically so drunk you can’t understand a word.

      • Drewcifer

        “I’mma Freeborn maaan of the USAye..”

  • I usually cant stand power metal vocals but when I get home after this mission I will check these out

  • You forgot to mention that Twilight Force look like this:

    • Steve Smithwick

      YOU FORGOT TO MENTION THAT YOU FAILED TO POST YOUR IMAGE PROPERLY, BOY!

      • DID NOT.

        • Steve Smithwick

          SHIT. SHIT. SHIT. I FORGOT I HAVE TO REFRESH THE PAGE TO SEE IT.

        • Steve Smithwick

          I humbly apologize and swear fealty to you henceforth. My tail is firmly betwixt my legs.

    • Randall Thor

      Upvote this to the top, now

    • Dental_Damnation

      Strike 2 for Twilight Force hahaha

      • Randall Thor

        You mean bonus points, warrior?

        • Xan

          I found one of them in their action poses:

          • Rob M

            This is definitely my old World of Warcraft guild

          • Xan

            I’m not ashamed to say that I have totally dressed up in full costume while raiding. I didn’t do it much because it is a pain in the ass but it totally was bad ass.

          • Fromwisdomtohate29

            Welp, I’m just going to have go ahead and download their album now.

            I just can’t resist something that absurdly cheesy.

      • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

        We do flushes here

    • Kevin Nash and Friends

      I had to download their album as soon as I saw this. It’s downloading right now.

    • NDNOvHell

      Up-vote for the ninja

    • Rob M

      I think this might be my old World Of Warcraft guild

    • Lord Ov Kapsko

      Everybody run from the range of a two handed sword,

      In my village everybody got one.

  • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

    ……..I DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON MANOWAR JOKES. LET’S GIVE THE BOYS A CHANCE. THEIR HEARTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

    • W.

      I non-ironically love Manowar.

      • Xan

        As do I. I really enjoy the “nerd metal” genres like power metal and folk metal.

      • Max

        I don’t love them. But honestly, how can anybody hear a song like “Brothers of Metal” and NOT love it? It is, in fact, the greatest heavy metal song ever written or performed.

    • Randall Thor

      Moratorium means we can’t make Manowar jokes. Are you trying to say we should take them seriously? Or that you don’t like Manowar jokes?

      I’m seriously about to listen to Manowar because they rule.

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        I think it’s time to take them seriously. I have never sat down and listened to a full album myself. They have been around for over 30 years so they must have done something right. I think they come off as a little pompous and heavyhanded but i am willing to give them a shot. I legitimately enjoy power metal just as i enjoy good 80’s metal.

        • Randall Thor

          If you prefer more classic heavy metal, go for their debut or Sign of the Hammer. If you prefer the more power metal side of Manowar, go straight to Kings of Metal.

          • W.

            Kings of Metal is the best, imo.

          • Randall Thor

            The dudes who ONLY listen to meat and potatoes heavy metal refuse to go past Sign of the Hammer

    • dingus

      MANOWAR KILLS POSERS WITH STEEEEEEL

      No seriously I fucking LOVE Manowar. They have my dingus always

  • Xan

    Only bad thing about this article is it is going to make me $50 poorer.

  • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

    Negative INFINITY FLUSHES FOR THIS POST>

  • Xan

    Thank you for this mastery.

  • Dental_Damnation

    No Stryker?! And there’s no way I could listen to Twilight Force w/o laughing after seeing that album art.

  • Kevin Nash and Friends

    All hail Manowar! The great gods of power metal!

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      can CM punk say he was in a hit movie ? I think not.

      Oh, and i am getting the jacknife package.

      • Kevin Nash and Friends

        Awesome. Wait, is that for next year or this year?

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          could be even older i just pulled it off google images.

          • Kevin Nash and Friends

            It must have been a while ago. Don’t remember the last time I was in Niagra Falls. Also, Steiner is happy about your respect of him. He wanted to give you a message, but he’s in the locker room at the moment, getting ready for his quad tearing match tonight. He said he’ll talk to you later.

  • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

    ” lock the cellador and baby, talk dirty to me”

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      sorry.

  • Warheart

    I love power metal, but to me it’s like it has been done everything that can be done, new bands are just more of the same, extremely generic formula.

    Well, this post reminds me:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vN1GTV5fvw

    • Randall Thor

      Did you listen to any of the bands I posted?

      • Warheart

        No, actually I was thinking to check them later, but I do know Falconer, and I’m not specially excited to hear something new from them.

  • I’d also reccomend Primal Fear, Angra (my all time fave band), Pagan’s Mind, mid-period Riot, Battlerage, Hibria, Ancient Bards, Epidemia, Galneryus and so so many others. Yeah, power metal does have a certain cheese factor, but many of those same people bitching most likely listen to death and black metal, both of which are as cliche-ridden as it gets! Especially black metal. Hell, a good chunk of all metal has a cheese factor to it!

    Anywho, here’s a couple I’d reccomend:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tIhxxJFERc&index=6&list=PLfn_Q1iZ8ATG5123nbT3prV-cRaF3dSYU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjIlBx_Pvw8

  • crazytaco_12

    Holy shit that Disforia kicked ass, imma have to check out the rest of these bands. Power metal isn’t a genre that I dislike, it just seems to be impossible for me to find bands that I like in it (or I guess just be patient enough to sift through the garbage).

    • Lacertilian

      That Disforia cover art is very interesting for a power-metal album, in a good way.

  • J.R.

    If I call you Lord Dragon I fear the Masterlord will do horrible things to me. However, it fits that Rand al’Thor would head a power metal column. Also that Noveria album is perfection, thank you Toilet for bountiful blessings!

  • I have never been one for power metal, but the Twilight Force and Noveria tracks are making me re-think my opinion. Thanks for expanding my horizons! EDIT: I’m liking this Falconer too!