Review: Galneryus – Under the Force of Courage

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This shit is why I don’t do top 10 lists.

There’s always gotta be that one band that comes along and ruins it. You’ve picked over everything, over the hundreds of albums that have gotten your blood flowing and your head banging over the course of the year, and you’ve narrowed it down to a paltry ten to represent what you think is best. It’s published, discussed, dissected, and acknowledged. And then some little bastard comes along a week before the year is out and ruins everything. In 2015’s case, that would be Galneryus with Under the Force of Courage.

Galneryus holds a special place in my heart for being one of my introductory metal bands. Their 2007 album, One For All – All For One, was one of the first albums I ever bought and was a driving force in my taste in music at the time. Everything about it was captivating; the speed, the accuracy, the way that everything stuck in my mind; it was unlike anything I’d experienced before in music. It should mean something, then, when I say I had completely written off the band after their last effort, Vetelgyus. All those elements that had made the band special were gone, and they sounded like every other safe J-rock group on the market. It was truly a disappointment, and it wasn’t until TovH infrequent commentor It’s All Fvcking Heresy pointed me to Courage that I considered giving it a shot. I’m very glad I did, because it may very well be Galneryus’s best album to date.

under the force of courage

Look at this album cover. LOOK AT IT

Under the Force of Courage opens typically enough for a power metal album, with the fairly low-key intro track, “Premonition.” As intro tracks go, it’s surprisingly interesting, with a chill dual lead over a clean chord progression leading into a spoken-word introduction to the album’s story (which is reminiscient of Conan the Barbarian). The second track, “The Time Before Dawn,” is when I started to get excited. This opens up with a sweet guitar lead into some riffage truly worthy of the moniker “power” metal. However, halfway through the track, when no vocals showed up, I realized something: this was a second intro track.

This is where my mind broke. I was not prepared for the implications of a double-intro, and my fragile mortal consciousness was snapped in two. The world before me shattered into millions of pieces, each fragment spiraling together into a kaleidoscope of possibilities. I felt myself being lifted upwards and away from my flawed mortal body, my shelter of earth and meat, and into something more. The futures laid before me spun faster and faster as I ascended until they coalesced into a brilliant white light, and I, overwhelmed by its radiance, was swept into blissful oblivion.

I awoke some time later- days, weeks, I cannot say- on the remnants of a massive battlefield. Hundreds of bodies lay at my feet, broken and gutted, and the stench of blood and decay festered in the air. I felt not sickened, but empowered by the sight and smell of this vicious slaughter. Gazing at my new form, swollen with muscle and glistening with blood and body oil, I realized that I had engaged in the slaughter of countless posers during the time I had been unconscious. I raised my sword in triumph, Masatoshi Ono’s voice echoing in pride over the distant mountaintops. Now truly ready for the full listening experience of Under the Force of Courage, I began my voyage home.

When I say that this might be Galneryus’s best album to date, I’m not exaggerating. It exemplifies everything I love about the Japanese power metal scene; it carries the unadulterated guitar worship of American power metal and combines it with the bombast of European power metal, all the while evoking powerful cinematic imagery of glorious battles. Galneryus prove themselves to be the frontrunners of their scene on Courage; the sheer amount of riffs on this album is overwhelming, the solos are both complex and emotive, and Ono’s massive Timo Kotipelko-esque vocal delivery seals the deal. Whether its on the unstoppable “Raise My Sword” or a proggier track like “Soul of the Field,” there is not a trace of disappointment to be found.

I honestly can’t think of any drawbacks to Under the Force of Courage. This is power metal at the absolute top of its game, with memorable writing, a fun story, and some truly staggering performances. It’s everything I wanted from the genre and much more, fully deserving of:

5/5 FLAMING TOILETS OV HELL

NEW_TOILETSCALE_5_of_5

Under the Force of Courage came out December 9th, 2015 (jerks) via VAP and is available internationally from CD Japan. Find them on Facebook and tell them the Toilet sent you, which will likely sound surprisingly normal to a Japanese band.

(Images VIA, VIA)

  • Five out of five Flaming Toilets ov Hell? I’d better give this a listen. Wait, what’s this?
    http://37.media.tumblr.com/baa5c949f5fe833f5bc2babae0628f26/tumblr_n6ct5iZJY91svcx84o1_400.gif

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      That boy aint right.

    • Spear

      <3

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      The new soundtrack to your life/workouts?

      • Salvador Dalí Lama

        Is this where the idea for the blog name came from?

        • Dubs

          No.

        • That would make way more sense than where the name actually came from.

          • Dubs

            TFW you’re trying to explain why your blog is called Toilet ov Hell.

          • Salvador Dalí Lama

            I know you guys are big KOTH fans, so I figured it could have been a possibility.

  • Dubs

    This was a very enjoyable review, Shimmering Spear.

  • I was just listening to a band from Japan this morning. Different style than your review though Spear-bro.

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

    • Spear

      Very nice, I dig

      • Killer! If you dig this you should check out Sabbat and Barbatos as well.

        • Spear

          I’m actually familiar with Sabbat already, but I have yet to check out Barbatos. Thanks for the recommendation!

          • No problem, Barbatos actually put out an album last year through Hells Headbangers that was overlooked.

          • Rob M

            Yeah…”Straight Metal War”…solid album, definitely went with a bit more punk than usual with that release

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

          • Yup, that’s the one! BOOBS!!!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Fuck yes! Seeing them in July!

        • Dubs

          Note: not the Andy Sneap Sabbat.

          • MoshOff

            My Overrated Shithead Sense is tingling.

          • “hey bruh, I want to record your album, call me”

            http://blog.timespace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Andy-Sneap2.jpg

          • MoshOff

            *I want to ruin your album by making it sound cleaner than the White House toilets.

          • Dubs

            I’m not a big fan of his production, tbh. Didn’t he bork the original recording of Enemies of Reality?

          • MoshOff

            He remixed it, yeah. The remix still sounds better than the original, but it’s super shrill and grating.

          • He overpolish everything since a while. I think Deliverance and Wages of Sin are the records he mixed that I enjoy most.

            Check out this photo of him working on his last album:

            http://static.nz.groupon-content.net/77/39/1313375743977.jpg

          • MoshOff

            Link, last year’s remix of Deliverance wipes the floor with Sneap’s (HUEHUEHEU).

          • Could have sworn I bought pot from that guy in high school.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Fuck, do I need some more Sabbat. This fucking rules.

          • Yeah dude, same. I’m sure Hells Headbash will be heavily stocked with Sabbat. Although, I don’t remember seeing much last year.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Good point and yes I don’t either. Though, it was hard to focus on all the merch, anyway haha.

          • Very true. The list grows.

  • Japanese power metal to me is like Japanese melodic death metal. Is so over the top and overly bright sounding that put in shame the European style.

    This songs you posted follow the same style, but I must recognize that the leads are magnificent, not as much as your shining hair, but I can enjoy this if I exclude the vocals and concentrate in the melodic guitarwork.

    Thanks for this thoughtful review and namedropping, Spearrow. You’re the bestest.

    • Dubs

      Japanese grind is super over-the-top too.

    • Spear

      If you can get your hands on the full album, a couple of the tracks are much more reserved.

    • nbm02ss
      • ¡Jajajaja! The vocals are funny.

        Sir Tapir shared one psycheledic rock band from Japan that was very cool. And was more serious. But I can’t remember the name 🙁

      • Eliza

        I like the cover.

    • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

      I haven’t heard Japanese melodeath yet, but it sounds weird that anything could possibly sound shinier and more bright than Omnium Gatherum.

      • This is the only one I remember that I dig. 365 recommended last year.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUg8sJKPCYU

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          Definitely a bit too shiny for me. When it comes to melodeath I do really enjoy some Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium or (old) At The Gates though.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1OXcH1bg20

          • Solid choices!

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            I like some of the old In Flames stuff as well, but I always felt they kinda lack the aggression of At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity or the really melancholic atmospheric moods of Insomnium.

          • You can’t go wrong with Jester Race and Whoracle. Even Colony have some serious chops in the melodies. They were more “happy” sounding, but I dig it.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Oh yeah, In Flames do have some great melodies. I like Jester Race and I even kinda dig Clayman to some extent.
            I just think the ‘busier’ and more furious style of for instance Dark Tranquillity suits me better.

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

      • Waynecro

        Thousand Eyes is a pretty good Japanese melodeath band.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06C0K_XXWk4

      • Waynecro

        Serpent has some good songs as well, but most of them are terribly depressing.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7DKsyksP_o

        • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

          I dig the music, the vocals not so much though hahaha!

          • Waynecro

            Yeah, you have to ignore the occasional mopey vocals. His croaky vocals are pretty good, though.

    • There’s a whole sub genre of metalcore bands from Japan that dress in drag. Thankfully for all of you, I cannot find any on youtube right now.

  • Batushka and Ur Draugr would be the albums that fucked my top 10 at the last second in 2015.

  • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

    Spear wrote this?
    HAIL! BROTHER OF METAL!
    https://youtu.be/ty0PBp1E4NU
    https://youtu.be/2hjLiKC_YDM

    • Spear is one of our fellow warriors of the Triangular Table ov Knighthood and Trve Fellowship. I always expect the best from his recommendations.

      • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

        We have a table!?!

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Haha! I guess i just never realised Spear was a Power Metal fan like this.

          • Spear

            I’m legitimately curious about the impression I give of my tastes. What type of metalhead do I appear to be?

          • Dubs

            I think of you as a mighty, horse-mounted paladin wielding a shimmering spear that’s also a guitar that paralyzes your enemies with fear-inducing weedlies.

          • Superb. I always thought of Spear like that.

            Remember that he’s handsome as fuck.

          • Spear

            That is both exceptionally grandiose and completely accurate.

          • Do not worry, warrior. I have known your allegiance since time immemorial

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Apparently I’m just not observant enough! I meant no disrespect.

            You write Tech Death Thursday, so I kind of assumed that’s where most of your leanings are, but now that I’m looking back on things, it was obvious the whole time.
            Of course, this is coming from a guy named after Manowar and writes about Doom, so mixed signals galore.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            I think Dubs nailed it.

          • Spear

            Oh yeah, forgot about the tech thing. Heh.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Also, talking to you guys outside of the toilet has helped me learn more about you fellows.

          • that makes a big difference. for instance, Dubs is a meanie IRL.

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Haha, you jest!

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Nothing wrong with mixed signals. Such as a huge death, doom, sludge and black metal fan who still likes some nu-metal and metalcore albums. Like uh…like me!

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            Haha!


          • △ △

          • kek’d

          • Guacamole Jim

            Oldfag detected (is that okay to say?)

          • Rob M

            4chan speak detected

          • Dubs

            the ass was fat

          • Guacamole Jim

            DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG DSFARGEG DSAFARGEG

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Perfect for hot pockets & mountain dew dinners

          • Dubs

            You always make me feel so self-conscious about the amount of Mountain Dew I drank in undergrad.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            I too was a Dewslave once, but I bested its hold on me with the power of black tea and black coffee.

          • Dubs

            I realized I was getting doughy and needed to cut back. If I have soda now, it’s almost always just a single 8-oz can of coke zero.

          • Coke Zero is the best soda. too bad about dose chemicals doe…

          • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

            If by hotpockets and mountain dew you mean dragon hearts and mead, then yes.

          • That booby Superwoman poster makes me cringe. The guy probably paid a huge amount of money to have a colored boob superheroine next to his door. Gross.

          • Judging by the size of the lat muscles, that’s Superman with especially nice tiddies.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Yeah that pretty much outs you as a guy who wanks to superwoman

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            No fucks, the chick from the new show makes my naughty bits tingly.

          • That is… well… super, man. I am happy for you, lol.

          • Rob M

            Honestly, that doesnt even hit the top 100 creepy comic art commissions Ive seen

          • Salvador Dalí Lama

            Also known as an isosceles Hetfield.

          • *ded*

    • Maik Beninton™

      He spoke like a true metal warrior.

      • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

        He doth speaketh true.

    • tigeraid

      I like the cut of this “Spear’s” jib. METAL WARRIORS UNITE!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jExym4mLx10

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Great review Spear. Please forgive me but I have to post this.

    http://stream1.gifsoup.com/webroot/animatedgifs7/3578375_o.gif

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Reminds me of Riot in some regards.

    • YES!

      You’re right. In fact, all those melodic guitarcentric acts are very huge in Japan. And Riot is one of them.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Fuck. The Japanese always have cool bands, that don’t fuck around!!! RIFFS!!!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnMvEjIzFBk

  • Boss the “Hoss” Ross

    Superb review OF STEEL, Spear. Very high praise, so i will definitely check this out.

  • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

    This article is an early birthday present for me, considering how big of a fanboy of Galneryus’s I am! Buneo trabajo, senior lansa!

    http://img0.joyreactor.cc/pics/comment/Anime-art-Vocaloid-Hatsune-Miku-165317.jpeg

    • Spear

      Get this one. It’s amazing.

      • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

        Definitely will, once my budget allows. Would you say it’s as good as Resurrection or All For One One For All?

        • Spear

          I would put it above both, but as usual, your mileage may vary. Can’t always account for personal taste.

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            Well, I’m cutting alcohol down to once a week after tomorrow (because, birthday and shit) and getting pretty close to quitting smoking, so my budget’s gonna be freed up for goodies like this and the new Moonsorrow.

          • that’s cool, i support your endeavor. (reducing booze, not increasing power merol intake)

  • Stanley

    Raise my sword. Huehuehue.

    • Stanley

      I guess all the other lyrics are in Japanese do disguise their overt sexuality.

  • The first minute of that linked song had the prerequisite amount of tremolo picking I need to show interest in new music. I’ll have to give this album a shot next time I feel like power metal.

  • Stellar review, warrior!

    I’ve yet to hear the album. Japanese bands seem to ignore or be ignorant of western outlets like bandcamp and spotify, and I don’t want to purchase the CD blind. The track you shared makes me want to find it

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/06/64/8d/06648dd8a399607d5c25e3c332109f10.gif

    • Spear

      Infinite upvotes for Jojo’s alone. I was about to say I could lend it to you, then I remembered I live halfway across the country.

      • well they put up Vetelgyus when they released this one, so maybe next album it’ll be up on Spotify

    • NO ANIME

        • Eliza

          That’s from Durarara, right?

          • I have no idea

          • Eliza

            XD OK then.

          • Spear

            Yep

          • Dubs

            SPEAR NO!!!! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!

          • Spear

            ANIME ISN’T AUTOMATICALLY BAD, DUBS

          • I’ll back you on Galneryus, but this is territory into which I cannot follow you.

          • Spear

            That’s fair. I shall carry the weight of my cursed destiny alone.

          • Waynecro

            I dig that show.

      • let him have it this time.

        • NO ANIME

          • how are you allowed to post the same comment twice?

          • Because I have saved the world more times than you.

          • more beer

            Stop doing that. Fuck this world let it explode.

          • Yea but then I won’t get paid and I won’t have money to spend on sweeps brah.

          • more beer

            You wouldn’t need money. We would all be dead.

          • Nah Dave grohl would probably survive.

          • more beer

            He already has all of the money. He will be fine.

          • Yea but do you really want Dave grohl to be the last remnant of the human race?

          • more beer

            As long as I’m not here to see it, I don’t really care. But it would be great irony. Him here all alone with no one to adore him.

          • The ultimate punishment.

      • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

        Downvote this man! ^^^^^

        http://i.imgur.com/sFRFfut.gif

    • it’s all fvcking heresy

      I bought the album through Play-asia but CDJapan isn’t a bad choice either. Also I hear Amazon Japan is going to start making international sales.

  • Maik Beninton™

    This is awesome, dragon slayer purple space traveler wizard.

    http://www.welovemetal.com/newsite/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2.gif

  • DVRKBEVRD

    theres so much weeb acceptance here today

    • Maik Beninton™

      It doesn’t feel like it’s the same blog.
      Though Tapir hasn’t made its appearance yet.

      • Eliza

        Things will get really good when he eventually shows up.

      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        The fact that this is a thread featuring discussions about power metal and melodeath without any appearance from Tapir so far, is a bit worrying.

        • Dubs

          Maybe he saw the contents and just decided to end it.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Everything is possible, but I don’t see Tapir pass up the opportunity to shit on some power metal or melodeath haha!

          • Eliza

            I was just about to say that. This post is a potential gold mine for him.

        • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

          Well, consider what he’s been going through as well. Of course I’m gonna pick on him, but he’s also got other things to attend to.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Of course.
            Anyways, I can fully back him when it comes to power metal (that isn’t named Nevermore, Iced Earth or Symphony X) hehehe

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            Oh shit, you unlocked Dubs’ undying love for Nevermore (which I back up).

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Totally. Even though I feel they went out on a somewhat disappointing note with The Obsidian Conspiracy. I don’t know if they’re really “power metal”, but I’ve seen them being described as such. Can’t pigeonhole them though.

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            It’s really hard to pigeonhole them. They definitely have some goth influence, especially considering their Bauhaus covers, a pinch of death metal bottom end, etc. Never quite got the power metal thing, though.

  • This particular brand of metal is an occasional listen for me…but when I occasionally listen to it I really dig it.

    Never heard this band before so thanks for the heads-up.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Oy Spear, noice!
    Noice review.
    Noice album.

  • Eliza

    Cool review, Spear. This band’s music seems enjoyable too.

  • Not to be all like cliche and such, but, that was icky.
    GL

  • it’s all fvcking heresy

    Up until this album came out at the end of December Last year my album of the year was Unleash the Archers Time Stands Still. Then I bought this album and holy fuck. Start to finish blew my goddamn mind away.

    Also you’re welcome. I always place my trust in the Japanese overlords.

  • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

    If only Tapir were around to see this article.

    • Eliza

      It’s like he’s purposely avoiding commenting on this post, which kind of annoys me since I love his reactions to power metal.

      • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

        Hehe, you know I gotta pick on him, as only a true weeb can. :-p

        • Eliza

          That should be fun.

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            I’m amazed that no one’s done the whole ‘No Amine!” thing, considering your avatar.

          • Eliza

            Me too! But even if someone did, I wouldn’t mind.

          • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

            NO AMINE! Get Eliza out of here! :-p
            This is a site made for real metal like this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUCarSXpLm8&list=PLA1B61AAA6C84B916

          • Eliza

            I love this movie and the music in it.

  • I’ll back you, Spear. This album rules.

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      Spoken like a true power metal champion! ^^^^^^

  • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls
  • Waynecro

    Thanks for the great review! I often listen to this band when I cardio. Scientific fact: These jams boost fighting spirit and stamina.

    • Only posers need spirit and stamina boost. lol

      • Waynecro

        I’m a miserable bastard. I take all the help I can get.

        • I think what you need is a spirit animal. Then, you can never go astray.

          • Waynecro

            I have a real animal. He’s a cute little doggy. He pulled the tail off his raccoon toy this morning and has been jazzed as fuck ever since.

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    My big problem with this band is that their old singer is just superior to my ears. This guy sounds competent, but he just sounds like a trained J-pop singer to me. Yama-B or whatever his name was had such a weird power to his voice

    • Lisa Ling: Devourer Of Souls

      Sounds damn near alike to me.

  • Count_Breznak

    You really could have stopped after the first two words.

    • Spear

      I apologize for none of the 800 words proceeding them.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Sorry, way too over-produced for me. When I think of Japanese Metal, I think of Artillery then I remember they were Danish
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5nl4P4CUkI