Gamma Ray

Iapetus – The Body Cosmic [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Iapetus – The Body Cosmic [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“Metal offers incalculable aural interpretations of outer space. Darkspace focuses on the inhospitable nature of the infinite vacuum. Gamma Ray pitches a trip through a black hole as the ultimate roller coaster ride. Ghost Bath dwells on the melancholic isolation of the cosmos while also sounding like something out of Sonic Adventure. Yet it takes Iapetus just over three minutes to craft a moment more compelling than any of those with their sophomore LP, The Body Cosmic.” Space in your face.

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

Thornbridge – Theatrical Masterpiece Review

“When it comes to power metal, I’m really not difficult to please. My expectations for a good example of the genre are no more elevated than the baseline that Helloween established over three decades ago; the material needs to be fun, energetic, and hooky, and if a band can pull this off, I ask for little else. I don’t think there’s a power metal act out there that fails to identify this recipe for success, yet so very few of them manage to capitalize. The style is plagued by countless bands rehashing watered down pop melodies against toothless power chords, seemingly unable to perceive that they utterly lack the charisma that elevated their influences. Thornbridge sees these pretenders, and says ‘we can do better.'” Though, with a name like Theatrical Masterpiece, there is a sense that they might be setting expectations a tad high.

Elvenstorm – The Conjuring Review

Elvenstorm – The Conjuring Review

“With magic, the devil is in the details, particularly when treating with the forces of darkness. Make one wrong move and you might find your spleen ruptured or your housecat warped into some sort of hellbeast. If I might invoke a rather maltreated metaphor, so it is with old-school heavy metal. The devil, in this case, comes in the form of French heavy/power metal outfit Elvenstorm and their fourth album The Conjuring. As for the details, there’s the obvious question. In spite of a well-worn style — a dead one by some measures — can Elvenstorm at least offer an enjoyable listening experience?” Magic: The Bothering.

Airborn – Lizard Secrets: Part One – Land of the Living Review

Airborn – Lizard Secrets: Part One – Land of the Living Review

“Lizard Secrets! LIZARD SECRETS! When sifting through the endless pile of gore-drenched and occult-themed album titles in the AMG promo bin, something as adorable as Lizard Secrets immediately stands out. As for Airborn themselves, well, they’ve had a tough time doing the same in the power metal scene over the past twenty two years of their existence, plugging along on a semi-regular release schedule that I had been completely unaware of until I plucked this album from the a(mg)ether.” I toad you that was a secret!

Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and the Cross Review

Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and the Cross Review

“Although I tend to dabble in extreme metal more often, make no mistake, I do love the traditional stuff. I have fond memories of my brother and I pouring over the lyrics to Iron Maiden‘s “The Trooper” until we could recite them flawlessly — a skill we both still keenly possess. Seven Sisters, a band thusly named for the area of North London they hail from, share my love of the classic craft, as evident on their second full-length, The Cauldron and the Cross.” Trooper metal.

Vhäldemar – Against All Kings Review

Vhäldemar – Against All Kings Review

“A Spanish band that’s been active since 1999, Vhäldemar released a pair of relatively well received albums in the early 00’s, featuring influences far-flung as Gamma Ray, Manowar, and Rhapsody. After independently releasing a couple of underwhelming records in the early half of this decade, they’ve found a new home with Fighter Records, a label known around these parts for harboring the disasterpiece that is Tales of Gaia‘s Hypernova.” Power metal: Approach with caution.

Dragonhammer – Obscurity Review

Dragonhammer – Obscurity Review

“The label’s press release for Obscurity states ostentatiously that the album will be the band’s ‘definitive consecration to the international scene.’ Sidelining that this is a gross misuse of the word and concept of ‘consecration’ on multiple levels, there’s no way to make me crankier right off the bat than with inane marketing bluster. Tread lightly, My Kingdom.” Dragon-sized PR misses.

Galderia – Return of the Cosmic Men Review

Galderia – Return of the Cosmic Men Review

“I know you. You’re like me. You took one look at that hein(ie)ous album title, shook your head, and reported yourself to HR. The obliquely-named Return of the Cosmic Men marks the second effort from French power outfit Galderia, a band whose 2012 debut The Universality was decent but notable only for its group of eight vocal contributors. If Galderia wanted to beat my exceedingly low expectations, they were going to have to show me something special.” Who ordered the special with extra cheese?

The Unity – The Unity Review

The Unity – The Unity Review

The Unity know a thing or two about history, two of its members having kicked tires in Gamma Ray for a spell, but the trip down memory that is their self-titled debut goes further than their own stomping grounds and offers an experience akin to a boisterous evening catching up with those legendary veterans. But this isn’t Just Another German Power Metal Band (JÄGPMB), as beneath the glossy Teutonic shell twitches layers of classic acts such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and – perhaps unsurprisingly – Helloween.” Who wants Jäger bombs?