Symphonic Power Metal

Ravenword – Transcendence Review

Ravenword – Transcendence Review

“An Italian symphonic power metal band formed by its keyboardist and primary composer releasing their first studio album, inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven.’ This is what I bring to you today, faithful readers, and I invite you to kick me TheKenWord once for every part of that sentence you feel you’ve read somewhere before.” If nights were wishes, ravens would Poe.

ShadowStrike – Legends of Human Spirit [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

ShadowStrike – Legends of Human Spirit [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“Legends of Human Spirit, the debut LP from Long Island’s ShadowStrike, does the unthinkable: it places the intro track second. The record’s opening track explodes forth with an instantly gratifying blast of power metal, and only upon its completion does the band indulge in 95 seconds of overwrought narration backed by symphonic bombast. I loathe intro tracks, yet this simple restructuring of Power Metal’s Worst Trope is one of my favorite moments on this record. The act of postponing the intro, while bizarre, exemplifies what makes ShadowStrike so successful.” We’re easily pleased.

Adrian Benegas – The Revenant Review

Adrian Benegas – The Revenant Review

Adrian Benegas, perhaps best known as the keyboardist and founder of symphonic metal act Tragul, is at the beginning of a familiar story: a talented musician and composer takes a step away from his band to attempt a symphonic power metal solo project, one in which the story, lyrics, and compositions will be done solely by himself. He will write a story and bring it to life in musical form, bringing in guest musicians and vocalists to play various parts of the story. Is this sounding familiar yet?” Avant horizon.

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beasts Review

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beasts Review

“Hello, my name is Twelve. I am an addict. I use symphonic metal and Nightwish. I…wait a second. I’m not Twelve! Silly me. But I too enjoy symphonic metal a whole lot, perhaps too much. Even at its cheesiest it makes me unreasonably happy to listen as richly layered orchestrations mesh with distorted guitars and galloping double-bass kits. I especially love it when, like on the incredible Imaginaerum, the band is able to afford recording with a full-blown orchestra and choir—or at least when part of the symphonics come from actual instruments instead of digitally reconstructed simulations. It is this last feature that drew Spanish sextet Crusade of Bards to my attention.” Symphonomania.

Nevaria – Finally Free Review

Nevaria – Finally Free Review

“I’m sure you figured it out from the cover art: yes, it’s me again, and I’m reviewing yet another female-fronted symphonic metal band. Why am I doing this to myself? How did I offend Steel Druhm, and when will he let me off the hook? All excellent questions for another day. For now, let’s focus on Nevaria, a Bavarian group releasing their debut full-length, Finally Free.” Freedom from mimicry.

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

The Wizards of Winter – The Christmas Dream Review

“If you’re familiar with Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, The Christmas Dream by holidazzle super group The Wizards of Winter is the metal equivalent. I myself am no stranger to these cinematic fruitcakes, as Mrs. Cherd and my jolly old father-in-law take perverse pleasure in subjecting me to them every Yuletide. It’s become such a tradition that we’ve devised a game of Christmas movie trope bingo, and it’s easily adapted to this brand of metal holiday album.” Nice snow globes!

Dialith – Extinction Six Review and Album Premiere

Dialith – Extinction Six Review and Album Premiere

Extinction Six is the full-length debut of the symphonic power metal band Dialith. Hailing from Connecticut, I took interest in Dialith because good symphonic power metal is rare. And, frankly, good unsigned symphonic power metal is even rarer. Symphonic power has a high bar to reach a “passable” grade; one of the highest in metal. Symphonic bands putting out mediocre albums are filled with musicians who are orders of magnitude more talented than many of their counterparts. But in order to create great symphonic power record, everything must fit.” Does it all fit? Well, we’re debuting the thing, so I guess there’s not a lot of tension.

Qantice – The Anastoria Review

Qantice – The Anastoria Review

“Somewhere in my timeline of metal fandom, the term “symphonic metal” ceased to act as a flame for my moth-like tendencies. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when this occurred, but the source is not. Over time, artists began to implement symphonic elements as less of an enhancer and more of a blatant crutch. Bands utilizing full orchestrations have proven so successful under the Nuclear Blast banner that the ensuing deluge of Nightwish and Dimmu Borgir knock-offs still taints the AMG promo sump to this day. And that’s part of what makes Qantice so dadgum charming: they play highly ambitious symphonic power metal on their own terms.” Symphony for the Devil.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Nightwish – Oceanborn

Yer Metal Is Olde: Nightwish – Oceanborn

“I was seven years old for most of 1999—the year Nightwish‘s breakout record Oceanborn saw its worldwide release. It would be seven more years before I would finally encounter what constitutes one of the most exhilarating listening experiences of my life. Since Oceanborn dropped, scores of symphonic metal bands have made countless attempts to imitate it, yet each clone of this record since has failed spectacularly to match either its significance or its quality. Hence this little entry of mine into the annals of Yer Metal Is Olde.” Own the Night(wish).

Ancient Bards – Origine – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review

Ancient Bards – Origine – The Black Crystal Sword Saga Part 2 Review

“When it comes to my favorite metal guilty pleasures of the past decade, Ancient Bards’ first two records have locked down a pretty sweet slot. Arriving at a time when even the first wave of Rhapsody imitators were beginning to lose relevance, the Bards fully embraced the irony of their “Ancient” moniker, injecting a well-worn formula with Power Quest-levels of sugar-coated melodies and the invigorating folk overtures of Equilibrium to formulate something that was fully cheesy, yet fully fresh.” Bards, beets, Battlestar Galactica.