Power Quest - Sixth Dimension 01In my personal pantheon of guilty pleasures, Power Quest reigns supreme. Formed in 2001 by ex-DragonForce keyboardist Steve Williams (lead songwriter and sole remaining original member), this band made a name for themselves in the early-to-mid 00’s by redefining the meaning of cheese, mashing Teutonic power metal together with synth-drenched glam rock—think Van Halen’s “Jump,” by way of Freedom Call, and you’ll have a reasonably accurate idea of what to expect. Power Quest‘s prior two albums, Master of Illusion and Blood Alliance, hinted at a heavier, more prog-oriented future, but the band’s subsequent break-up dashed my hopes of this evolution reaching a head. Three years on, the band reformed out of the aether, churning out Sixth Dimension hot on the heels of a damn good EP. Can these kings of optimism maintain their forward momentum, or is Sixth Dimension a victim of stagnation?

The answer is somewhat complex, but regardless of the band’s sonic evolution, Sixth Dimension is a damned solid power metal album. Power Quest fans have always come across to me as a particularly loyal bunch, and I suspect that Williams’ goal with this album after many years of inactivity was fanservice first, upward trajectory second. For fans of their second and third albums, in particular, this is totally fine; the band’s ability to channel power metal through an arena rock filter is as strong as ever, resulting in some truly bangin’ cuts of overtly happy speed metal (“Kings and Glory,” “Coming Home”) that pay homage to those records without stooping to the same level of hokeyness. That hokey factor gets heavy play, however, in “Pray for the Day,” a goofy, chipper (yet lyrically pessimistic) track that’s a surprisingly infectious throwback to hits like “Children of the Dream” from the band’s early years.

Though a tribute to what most PQ fans would call the band’s “golden age,” some of the modern power metal heft that defined the records prefacing the band’s hiatus receives a nod, making for a pleasantly diverse platter. “Face the Raven” and the lengthy title track deal with the inevitability of death and the desire to escape the deafening ignorance of the modern world, respectively, with the former sporting a huge chorus and crunch-tastic1 riffs, while the latter is perhaps the moodiest, most mature track the band has ever written. Yet aside from these two exceptions, Sixth Dimension dishearteningly falls back on one of the worst traits from Power Quest’s early material: it’s rhythmically simplistic. There are certainly exceptions such as the injections of DragonForce-esque speed in “Lords of Tomorrow,” but basic power chord progressions are by and large Sixth Dimension’s main mode of operation.

Power Quest - Sixth Dimension 02

When I’m engaging with Sixth Dimension in full fist-pumping sing-along mode, the barebones rhythm section is all too easy to overlook, but certain performances cause Power Quest to occasionally sound as though they’re still finding their footing with this new, reworked lineup. Vocalist Ashley Edison performs with aplomb on several cuts (see: “Face the Raven”), but others, such as “Starlight City,” sound like they weren’t written to effectively utilize his range, making his broad voice sound strangely pinched. The same goes for new guitarists Glyn Williams and Andrew Kopczyk, whose solos on the reworking of “Coming Home” from last year’s Face the Raven EP feel inferior from both a melodic and technical standpoint, though their prog-oriented work is a great fit for the title track. These performances are wrapped up in an unnecessarily compressed mix that utterly invalidates the bass, but the tones are nice and heavy, with hard-hitting drums in particular (listen to those kicks!) offering an effective counter-balance to the pervasive, sugar-coated synthesizers.

While it’s far from a perfect comeback, I’m drawn so strongly toward what Sixth Dimension does right that its flaws are ultimately drowned out by my sheer pleasure that, goddammit, Power Quest is actually back, and still delivering the cheesy goods. It’s not their best release (I’d personally hand that honor to 2005’s Magic Never Dies), but it feels like one of their most consistently good efforts, even if this new lineup doesn’t gel as a collective as well as one might hope. I predict that one more album will see the band operating on all cylinders once again, hopefully in a direction that affords their sound new possibilities while still maintaining their unmistakable aesthetic.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Inner Wound Recordings (Worldwide) | Avalon (Japan)
Websites: power-quest.co.uk | facebook.com/powerquestofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 11th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. It makes sense to market a band as sugary sweet as Power Quest the same as one would a frosted marshmallow cereal, no?
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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    NO.

    • And yes!

      • Matt slatz

        I can almost see beevis headbanging to this

        • Tofu muncher

          Sign of good music then.

          • Matt slatz

            Shut up butt munch

    • Eldritch Elitist

      YES.

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        NO.

        • Eldritch Elitist

          ok

        • Name’s Dalton

          I’d like to take this opportunity to mention how much I detest Queen.

    • ssorg

      lol. power quest > spectral voice. they’re trolling you, trash can.

    • Apple Tree

      with all the commenting you do, im surprised that you aren’t in one of the new slogans that show up right below the amg logo on this site. you might be one of those most important aspects of angry metal guy

  • welyyt
    • Why do you want to club the adorable Gloryhamsters?

      • Eldritch Elitist

        I don’t even like Gloryhammer!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Do you like green astral dwarves from Aberdeen and ham?

  • Cherd
  • ssorg

    Fucking hell “Power Quest”???

  • thornh

    When it comes to cheese I cannot bring myself to get beyond Powerwolf. They’re like a good hunk of Jarlsberg. This stuff is like something you get out of can…

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    So what am I missing if I don’t buy this and add it to my PM collection but simply hit shuffle on my playlist of all the other Power – Glory – Force – Dragon – Quest – Hammer- Land – Fire – Steel named bands in my catalog?

    • Steel is its own reward.

      • SoLeftISeeRight

        Says the hand that wields it.

    • Tofu muncher

      You forgot Tales (as in Tales of Gaia?). Good for you.

  • Wilhelm

    That artwork is hideous

    • Eldritch Elitist

      I totally agree. It’s an unnecessarily abstract, piss-yellow CG mess.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Any Vuur in the pipeline? ??

    • Indeed.

      • Tofu muncher

        how bout Sons of Apollo?

    • That Vuur album is my most anticipated metal release of what’s left of 2017. If that album disappoints me, I’ll flush 2017 in the toilet.

      • Nukenado

        No love for DSO?

        • What’s a DSO and what does it do?
          So I guess I’m saying no, no love for that/them/it.

          • Nukenado

            Diablo Swing Orchestra.

  • The Akerstache
    • The Akerstache

      This doesn’t have any bearing on my thoughts on the music, I just started meme-ing and it got out of hand.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        Get that melon out of my comments section!

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Yellow flannel, tho.

    • Eli Valcik

      That guy liked Defhaven and new Burzum so fuck him. Also he only gave Vektor a 8/10.

      • The Akerstache

        He also gave Code Orange the same score as Dying Fetus’ latest and Behemoth’s The Satanist. He’s certainly not my go to music reviewer that’s for sure. He’s just a good meme is all.

      • ToddRob64

        Forgive me but who is this clown?
        I read reviews here and here only dammit

  • Dr. Wvrm

    I would love to see your power metal-only yearly average.

    Also, sample track is butt.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      2.73 w/Lör, 2.58 without.

      • Dr. Wvrm

        Not bad. Is that lower than your yearly? I ran one for me for anything involving the word “melodic.” 2.93 w/ TBDM, 2.81 w/o.

  • My doctor told me to avoid fried foods, bacon and Power Quest.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      You don’t have to do everything Grier tells you, ya know.

      • That’s true. He told me to listen to more Fozzy but I’m seeking a second opinion on that one.

  • Nukenado

    Eh…
    Would rather wank with Wank-onForce.

  • Well, that abruptly turns into Ratt at 2:43.

  • Swordborn

    First of all, thanks for a very fair and insightful review of this album. I too am a massive PQ fanboy – I facilitated their signing to Inner Wound, and sponsored their show at ProgPower USA last month. It’s nice to see an AMG staffer with an affection for their fluffy nature.

    I was a little disappointed in the simplistic hard rock direction taken here in a lot of places, and wish it had the high-flying speed of the first three albums or the teeth of “Master of Illusion”. I’d probably rank this a half- or full-point higher, but ultimately have similar feelings: I think this is sort of a “getting back on their feet” album for Steve and co., not to mention Ashley adjusting to the band. The guy has some serious chops, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do after being more settled in.
    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/156e7b2ef390bb281f73e4839b06d408c3253c5ab154dd2ef7a80466f4d1a599.jpg

    • Eldritch Elitist

      Color me jealous! I would’ve loved to see that show, especially with Cellador’s OG guitar duo backing them up. I played both bands to absolute death when I was a teenager. I keep telling myself I’ll make it to PPUSA someday…

      Anyway, my comment in the Dragonhammer thread aside, I’m legitimately thrilled that we have another power metal apologist joining our ranks, especially someone entrenched so deeply in the scene. I can hear our readers groaning already. It’s gonna be great!

      • Swordborn

        My ratings haven’t changed from my last gig, but the AMG atmosphere is “explain why you’re rating it as highly as you are” rather than the default of “explain why you’re rating it as lowly as you are. It takes some adjusting!

      • The Metal Pigeon

        I’m another power metal apologist/defender around here just lurk more than comment. Did find my own review pretty much sussed out Sixth Dimension the same as yours though —- a finding their footing affair. Not too bad but they will have to improve on the next one.

  • Adam Beasley

    “Formed in 2011” “this band made a name for themselves in the early-to-mid 00” and “personally hand that honor to 2005’s Magic Never Dies”

    Why is no one addressing that this band is so powerful that it can actually time travel?!?!

    • Dead1

      Whoa shit! They truly are overlords of the space-time continuum. I might just quickly take back everything I sad about overpolished generic, gutless power metal back. before they avert their gaze to the many less than PC comments I’ve made about the genre!

  • Lithophyte

    The embedded track is a cheese medley.

  • They remind me rather of early Sonata Arctica, Ecliptica-era, than of Dragonforce.

  • Tofu muncher

    It’s power metal, so I’m required to listen to this. C’mon, guys, you’ve ALL heard A Hero for the World’s West to East Pt.1 (I like the solos). This one is much better. Promise.

  • Eli Valcik

    You guys hear the new bell witch? Oh Boy.

  • METAL OTTER

    Look at those smiles in the video! This is Happy Metal Guy made corporeal.

  • Innit Bartender

    Just to know, who’s gonna review the new White Wizzard?

  • RuySan

    The keyboard melody seems straight out one of those earlier Amiga platformers, most certainly a subpar Atari ST or Spectrum conversion that didn’t even used the machine to its full capabilities.

  • Rob Nine

    Yes, power metal! Lots of double bass drumming with no Cookie Monster or other incoherent vocals. Love it! I know I’m in the minority on this page, but it’s what I like! Keep power, thrash and prog metal coming!!!

    • [not a Dr]

      I like power metal in general, but that keyboard solo, being one of the wussiest things I’ve ever heard, illustrates that this quest for power hasn’t located any relevant power yet.

      • Rob Nine

        I like the keyboards as it’s a nice change of pace, but totally understand why you don’t like them.

    • h0ttentot

      You sound like my grandma.

      • Rob Nine

        Your grandma sounds awesome!

  • Angelus

    There is so much cheese in this album, that the embedded track clogged one of my arteries. And i’m not even mad about it!

  • AdrianoP

    rain cheese on me…

  • JL

    2/5. Not a single memorable guitar, vocal or structure.

  • This gets an entire 3.0?

    Excuse me, I will have to go and laugh hysterically/scream into a pillow.

  • h0ttentot

    What a shitty way to start the week.