Stratovarius

DarkTribe – Voici l’homme Review

DarkTribe – Voici l’homme Review

“Rather than a refreshed take on a démodé genre, DarkTribe’s music feels as if abducted from the late 1990s or early 2000s and put into stasis, trapped in that timeline and preserved in a pristine state forever. So powerful and candid is this stylistic anachronism that the band’s third LP Voici l’homme acts as a rotten Proustian Madeleine, eternally evoking yet never reaching the sonic imagery of first encounters with bands such as Labyrinth, Stratovarius, and Evergrey.” Lost tribes.

NorthTale – Welcome to Paradise Review

NorthTale – Welcome to Paradise Review

“I’d like to think that AMG writers listen to an album many more times than the average music critic before penning a review. We all own records that grew on us exponentially, whether through casual or critical listening, and we know full well that it’s impossible to decipher the full scope of a work upon first exposure. Except, of course, for the times where that’s totally possible. From the very first notes of NorthTale‘s debut, their mission statement of resurrecting power metal’s glory days is laid plain, with multiple rotations failing to unearth compositional complexity or deeper motives.” Power outage.

Stonecast – I Earther Review

Stonecast – I Earther Review

“Genre can be a weird thing. Ultimately, it’s just a set of signposts, so on occasion you can end up with an album that fits one genre while drawing influences from another. Usually, this is a sign of a new subgenre forming, at least if others come along to rip off borrow from the album in question. Take France’s Stonecast and their third album, I Earther, for instance. Despite drawing extensively from the power metal scene, and mostly Europower at that, they’ve crafted a solid, no frills heavy metal record. Is it a game-changer? Well, no, but is it worth checking out regardless?” Stones of many sizes.

Mob Rules – Beast Reborn Review

Mob Rules – Beast Reborn Review

“Once upon a time, Steel Druhm was brought on board the Bad Ship AMG to handle all things traditional and power metal. Since then I’ve branched out and find myself covering much less power-related music, and few albums in the genre get me geeked up these days. Mob Rules are one of the few acts that have restored my faith in the genre in recent years, with a slick, accessible style packed with essential crunch, heaviness and power.” The Mob has spoken.

Force Majeure – The Rise of Starlit Fires Review

Force Majeure – The Rise of Starlit Fires Review

“The AMG promo well had been experiencing a significant power metal drought since I rolled into these hallowed halls roughly a year ago, but within in the past month, something changed. There were no less than five new releases in the genre to choose from, and choose I did; Tales of Gaia turned out disastrously, but I figured that Finland’s Force Majeure, with their surprisingly audacious band name, might turn things around.” Unprecedented or run o’ the mill?

Eagleheart – Reverse Review

Eagleheart – Reverse Review

“As this particular combination of band name and album art has probably deterred the chunk of our visitors who are power metal-phobic, these next words will likely fall on the ears of those who want to hear them least: most power metal is bad. My love affair with the genre will never completely fizzle, but with so many start-ups crutching on knock-off Helloween choruses executed through dreadful vocal performances and robotic rhythm sections, picking out the diamonds in the rough is often a fruitless task.” When the eagle doesn’t cry.

Excalion – Dream Alive Review

Excalion – Dream Alive Review

“There was a time not so long ago I would have argued for Excalion being one of the best Euro-power acts out there. 2007s Waterlines was and is one of my most played albums in the genre, and 2010s High Time followup was more polished but no less striking and addictive. It seemed as if the band was on the verge of breaking into the next level and giving Sonata Arctica and Stratovarious some serious competition. Then the guns fell silent and Excalion disappeared. I wrote them off as another promising act that died before reaching their full potential and moved on. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to see their name floating in our promo bay and I hoped they could pick up where they left off nearly a decade ago.” Keeping the dream alive.

Theocracy – Ghost Ship Review

Theocracy – Ghost Ship Review

“Though I’ll admit to having steered clear of “Christian metal” over the years due to some silly, small-minded prejudices, there have been exceptions that slowly opened my eyes. Trouble began life as a “white metal” act and I still loved them intensely, and little known Barren Cross caught me in a weirdly inescapable web of hooks with their Atomic Arena album back in 88. Much more recently I was completely blown away by Theocracy‘s 2011 opus As the World Bleeds, which mixed bombastic power with prog and classic metal in a way that suited me down to my nonspiritual bones.” It’s high time to get some religion!

Sonata Arctica’s Top 5 Awkward and Unintentional Successes

Sonata Arctica’s Top 5 Awkward and Unintentional Successes

“I am stoked for Sonata Arctica‘s forthcoming Ninth Hour which will be here on the 14th of October from Nuclear Blast. Now I know you’re probably thinking to yourself: “self, why would AMG write an article about a band’s ‘Awkward and Unintentional Successes’ if he likes that band?” Indulge me a second. See, Sonata Arctica started out as a better version of Stratovarius that was founded with a songwriter at the helm—Tony Kakko—who’s like a weird, Finnish version of Jim Steinman. This means that the band’s sound is epic, quirky, but ultimately it can get a little… awkward.”

Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again Review

Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again Review

Thunderstone have been around for 15 or so years and for most of that time they’ve labored in the shadow of fellow countrymen Stratovarius. It’s not hard to see why either, since their debut was such a carbon copy of their bigger, better peers. Over time they developed a bit more of a unique identity and proved themselves capable of crafting rollicking Euro-power tunes with big payoff choruses.” Is the apocalypse back again? I thought we sprayed!