Victorius - Heart of the PhoenixNews from Germany, courtesy of power metal band Victorius: apparently it’s totally fine to remove pesky vowels from words as one sees fit, much in the same way the Brits pretentiously shove “u” into words that never needed it (let the comments war commence)! Indeed, Victorius is missing an “o,” and likewise they’re missing an “oh” factor; as in “oh, there’s something here that I haven’t heard in every power metal record ever produced.” Right down to its album art and title, Heart of the Phoenix is astonishingly generic, a collection of speedy power metal tracks drawing on influences ranging from DragonForce to Freedom Call that lacks even a shred of originality. For genre devotees, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Derivative mediocrity has been the genre norm for ages, and while Victorius doesn’t break the mold, they are at least solidly average.

Heart of the Phoenix is Victorius’s third outing, and while the best moments here don’t quite match the highlights of their sophomore effort, it is an admirably consistent album. The compositions never stray from traditional pop structures, but the band maintains a high enough level of speed and sprinkle enough great moments throughout to hold my attention despite the simplicity. I found the space-age keyboards of “Sons of Orion” to be particularly entertaining, and the thrashing rhythm guitar work on tracks like “Shadowwarriors” and “Virus” add some crust to what is otherwise a total cheesecake of a record. Highlights aside, you can probably imagine exactly what Victorius sounds like; simple, chuggy riffs and a general air of positivity, all drowning in fluffy synths.

A power metal album as by-the-numbers as Heart of the Phoenix is, unsurprisingly, guilty of several genre sins. As derivative as it is, the album would have been much more digestible with a more dynamic master, but as it’s been produced it sounds indistinguishable from the majority of modern power metal releases. The sound is flat and characterless, and the tones lack personality and punch. For additional annoyance, the band throws in a token track of tepid Nightwish-core at the album’s tail-end that concludes the record with all the force of a wet fart. This conclusion arrives surprisingly swiftly, however, as the tracks are all quite short with the overall length clocking in at around forty-five minutes. Heart of the Phoenix is hardly impressive, but at least Victorius knows how to trim the fat.

Victorius 2017

My biggest disappointment with this particular collection of songs is that there are no real standouts. All of the tracks (with the exception of the aforementioned final number) are okay-to-good, but at least this means there are no major blemishes, either. With a gun to my head I’d pick “Empire of the Dragonking” as my favorite cut thanks to a pretty good main riff coupled with one of the album’s better choruses. Speaking of good choruses, they’re in short supply here; the choruses of tracks like “End of the Rainbow” (yeah, I know) and the title cut are generically melodic arrangements of notes that vaguely express a sense of positivity with little conviction. Singer David Baßin bears some of the blame here, as his competent yet airy vocals lack grit and remain firmly planted in the same octave for the record’s entirety.

I’ve tried my best to make this review reflect my scoring, but I have a feeling that I’ve focused so strongly on the negatives of Heart of the Phoenix that my score will seem too high. I feel the need to reiterate, then, that what Victorius has produced is a solid if totally unoriginal record, but this style of power metal is so well-trod and unremarkable that it makes more sense to focus on what the band does wrong. Because genre loyalists have absolutely nothing new to latch onto here, consider this review as a guide on whether this album is worth your time if you’re already a power metal fan. Are fast tempos, fun guitar solos, and predictable melodies all you look for in a power metal record, regardless of sterile production? If yes, then Heart of the Phoenix should fit the bill, at least for a few listens. If not, then you may as well move along until the next Galneryus album arrives.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre Records
Websites: facebook.com/victoriusmetal | victoriusmetal.net
Releases Worldwide: January 13th, 2017

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  • Dr. Wvrm

    Bobby Roode gives this band name a 5/10, not enough glorious.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Now I have that damn song stuck in my head. Thanks.

    • Grymm

      I logged in to say *exactly* this.

    • The Nerd.

      GLORIOUS!!! NO I WON’T GIVE IN, I WON’T GIVE IN, TILL IM VICTORIOUS!!!

  • Ferrous Beuller

    “Pretentiously shove ‘u’ into words that never needed it”?

    Tee – riggered.

    • Truth is a painfully thingue.

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Cads, all of you!

    • Jason

      I’m triggered by the font abuse in that lyric video.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      Triggoured?

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Fouk you.

  • Well, the album cover is certainly colourful! (we do the “ou” thing in Canada too)

  • madhare

    This is like one those teen fantasy book series that are cropping up like weed. You know, where…

    a. a swineherd
    b. an orphan
    c. an otherwise downtrodden
    d. etc.

    child happens to

    a. randomly find an empowering magical object
    b. get recruited by a powerful secret organisation (mages, assassins, thiefs, templar-style knights, treehuggers…)
    c. be revealed to be the last royal descendant
    d. etc.

    and has to overcome

    a. evil dudes from other secret organisations
    b. his/her evil relatives
    c. neighbouring evil rulers
    d. “the dark forces” who always want to destroy all life with no other apparent motivation
    e. etc.

    together with their

    a. closest advisor/friend (mage, childhood friend…)
    b. dragon
    c. troop of miscellaneous rascals-with-golden-hearts
    d. etc.

    thus carrying out their secret destiny and saving the realm.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      roll for comment dedication

    • Reese Burns

      At least it’s better than those dystopian-future novels that were all the rage about 3-4 years ago.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      You’re like the new Joseph Campbell!

      • madhare

        Haha! Thanks! But for me, Campbell is way too new-agey and hippy and also smells little bit too much of social constructivism too. I would rather go with Propp or Christopher Booker or something. (I think Booker would label this rags to riches story.)

        The question of originality vs. recycling in culture is actually super-duper interesting. Things don’t have totally original to work. We’re very happy with recycled stories as long as they entertain us offering perhaps some new perspective to the old stuff. But I guess the teen market is so easy that you can just lazily regurgitate stuff to them over and over. Without giving them anything new (how would they know the difference, poor bastards).

        Same with music.

    • To be fair that is the monomyth that underpins just about every story ever written. I think even Jesus’ story had a dragon at the end didn’t it?

      • madhare

        Yes, see my other comment. There have been several authors writing about these recurring plots. Campbell with his monomyth is among them. But whereas something like Star Wars takes an ancient plot (“monomyth” in Campbell’s terms, “rags to riches” plot in Booker’s) and turns it into into something that feels new and fun the teen fantasy writers seem to just rinse-and-repeat without bringing anything new to the table. Just like this album.

    • sir_c

      (f) All of the above

    • [not a Dr]

      My next (first) novel will be an epic where an etc. child happens to etc. and has to overcome etc. together with their etc. thus carrying out their secret destiny and saving the realm.

    • Norpal Nordickson

      You’re giving me David Eddings flashbacks, pls stop.

    • Zadion

      I mean honestly virtually every fantasy novel ever can be described through those groupings.

  • Dethjesta

    That’s an album cover that could only belong to a power metal album. You know it even before looking at the tags.

    I’m gonna take the high ground (also, pretentiously snooty position) and ignore the comment on the use of the letter u.

  • gus rodrigues

    the cheese is strong in the band photo…

    • Owlswald

      The three B’s are present here: Braids, Beanie, and a black beater.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        You missed the fourth B: beard.

  • brklyner

    “Victorius” is a latin variant of the name Victor. From a time long before us pesky English-speakers bastardized the word.

    • basenjibrian

      There is a warmongering hack who lives inthe deep red feudal part of Cali named Victor Hanson Davis. Definitely a Victorius kind of guy

  • Francesco Bordoni

    It may miss an `u` if you consider it an english adjective: as a latin name, `Victorius` is spelled perfectly.

    Now: did they actually intended it that way? Well, I don’t know. Do we really care enough to investigate further? Not that much actually, speaking for myself: I’d rather be beaten unconscious with a bumpy stick and then brutally raped with it than listen to that embedded song a second time.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The embedded track is like toffee… sickeningly sweet and sticky.

  • SuzyC

    I’m always looking forward to the next Galneryus album.

    • Eldritch Elitist

      See, you know what’s up.

    • powerforce

      the phoenix album of galneryus was better for sure

  • sir_c

    Still not as bland as Akoma though, if that says something :-)

    • Eldritch Elitist

      I don’t think eating plain raw oats is as bland of an experience as listening to Akoma.

  • Norpal Nordickson

    Hey man, it’s not QUITE as generic as it could be: A phoenix is a lot rarer in the power metal bag of tropes than a dragon. I mean the cover could have a dragon on it instead and the title could be Heart of the Dragon. Now THAT would be as generic as possible, or at least pretty close.

    Of course, this does not stop the band from sticking dragons all over the lyrics, as I discovered on the embedded track.

    I also don’t think I said dragon quite enough times in this comment yet.

    Dragon.