Power Metal

Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour Review

Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour Review

The Uncertain Hour, over the course of fifty minutes or so, launches the listener through a galloping field of riffs, leads, and triumphant melodies in one of the better samples of symphonic power metal I’ve heard lately. Upbeat, catchy, and well-written, it has all of the makings of a grower, and talent to match.” Death is certain, good reviews are not.

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

“I know that most of you have already eyed my score on this review, and have nearly broken your damn necks from the whiplash of rapidly scrolling up for answers. For many, this choice will come across as confusing and misguided, but as someone who’s listened to Fellowship‘s self-titled EP on repeat for two years, it’s anything but. That EP might be the reason I survived the early pandemic days with my sanity intact. It’s a bottomless wellspring of joy, dominated by gorgeous melodies, exhilarating solos, and clever, heartwarming lyrical turns. On the strength of those three songs alone, Fellowship’s debut LP would have probably been my power metal album of the year. The fact that every song on the record is as good as or better than any song from the EP puts it in another class entirely.” Off to see the Wizzard.

Altaria – Wisdom Review

Altaria – Wisdom Review

“Finland’s Altaria are one of those fourth-tier melodic metal acts I stumbled upon back in the early aughts and took a flyer on. 2004s Divinity had a few worthwhile cuts but was largely forgettable faux-power/hard rock in the vein of Allen/Lande or Eden’s Curse. By the time 2006s The Fallen Empire hit I was less interested in what they were doing and essentially consigned them to the darkest corners of my music collection. I slept on 2009s Unholy and was mildly surprised to see their name emerge from the skunk weeds of the promo sump some 12 years after they last sallied forth. So what does fifth album Wisdom offer the curious listener?” Unsolicited wisdom.

Seven Kingdoms – Zenith Review

Seven Kingdoms – Zenith Review

“I first stumbled upon Seven Kingdoms with their third album, 2012s The Fire is Mine. It happened at a point where my tolerance for power metal was at a low ebb and I had mostly moved on to other styles. So good was the album that after one spin my appreciation for power was reignited and the fire was mine once again. There was so much energy and vibrancy to their sound and so many slick hooks, that it became a favorite platter I still return to. The sky seemed the limit for the band with such a mammoth release fresh on the shelves. Then they gave us a free clinic on how not to succeed by failing to follow up the album for five long years.” Of Kingdoms forsaken.

Imperial Circus Dead Decadence – 殯――死へ耽る想いは戮辱すら喰らい、彼方の生を愛する為に命を讃える――。 Review

Imperial Circus Dead Decadence – 殯――死へ耽る想いは戮辱すら喰らい、彼方の生を愛する為に命を讃える――。 Review

“I have irregularly listened to Imperial Circus Dead Decadence for a decade, and while I can instantly identify their sound, it’s not one I can concisely describe. Think of the blackened melodeath hybrid of Chthonic spliced with Fleshgod Apocalypse‘s brutal symphonics and Cradle of Filth’s gothic drama, and you have a ballpark estimate. That is, at least, before tossing in a heaping helping of neoclassical power metal in the vein of Versailles.” The Circus is in town, and it is crazy!

All Things Fallen – Shadow Way Review

All Things Fallen – Shadow Way Review

“We all have a type. Deep down inside, my type often reflects as moody, noodly, groove-kissed prog. So, when I see a promo that promises all of those things, I can’t help but shove it in my ears and hope for the best. Enter All Things Fallen who presents as a supergroup of sorts, boasting members of Pain of Salvation, Darkwater, and Almah—a little digging reveals it’s more of a supporting cast coalition. A little less ego can go a long way in collaborative projects, so smaller names are not exactly a bad thing.” Manbun-core.

Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell Review

Circle of Silence – Walk Through Hell Review

“Fate and happenstance have conspired against Germany’s Circle of Silence lo these many years. I was scheduled to review both their 2013 outing The Rise of Resistance and 2018s effort The Crimson Throne. In both cases, I was forced to drop them to cover bigger albums and Circle of Silence was silenced. When I saw the promo for fourth album, Walk Through Hell bobbing in the noxious filth of the promo sump, I made a blood oath that no force on Earth or beyond would prevent me from reviewing it. I owed it to them.” Hell, oaths, wictory and wengeance.

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

Gladenfold – Nemesis Review

“I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed some solid Finnish metal. You know what I mean—the kind of metal that’s aggressive, adventurous, inspired by nature or history or something along those lines, with that je ne sais quoi that is the Finnish charm. I didn’t realize at the time that Gladenfold is a Finnish band though—mostly I just liked the album cover on Nemesis, and the promise of some solid melodeath helped too.” Race to the Finnish.

Trick or Treat – Creepy Symphonies Review

Trick or Treat – Creepy Symphonies Review

“Even though I have pigeonholed myself as the album art guy around here, when I’m selecting promos, I actually don’t often select an album based on the art. I usually go by one of three methods: completely blind (either random or letting a colleague select), selecting straight from the list (where the only information I have is artist, title, genre and label), or cherry picking (where I listen to singles until I find something I think I’ll like). Trick or Treat is an exception, because just look at this goofy-ass cartoon cover! Either this will be stupid enough to work, like Nanowar of Steel, or it’ll be too stupid to work, like most power metal. So which one is it?” Symphonies of slickness.