I hate how the paleontological community has degraded the popular image of dinosaurs in recent years. It’s not that I disagree with their theories – I’m no scientist, and I’m not about to dispute countless hours of research performed by people who actually know what they’re talking about – but I’m still disappointed, because imagining a Tyrannosaurus rex as a big fucking chicken and a tender lover absolutely shatters the mystique of my childhood obsession. So you know what, Victorius? Go right ahead. Strap laser beams to their frickin’ heads. Refer to them as “epic war machines” fighting a “holy war” against “alien scum.” If scientific discoveries are going to continue to make dinosaurs less legit in the eyes of the masses, you may as well swing the complete opposite direction, idolizing and idealizing them through a lens of 90’s nostalgia. Oh, and if Dinosaur Warfare ends up being a surprisingly good EP in the process, all the better.
Victorius is a German power metal band that’s never truly impressed me outside of a handful of tracks; nothing they’d ever done has so much as dented the standard melodic power metal mold, and their melodic hooks consistently failed to excite. The former issue remains untouched on Dinosaur Warfare, but the latter has finally been shaken loose; the restraints have been cut free from Victorius’ melodies, allowing for a full-blown cheese-fest that suits the band’s plunge into parody and results in some fantastic moments. The soaring lead guitar introduction to “Lazer Tooth Tiger,” for instance, remains consistently thrilling and hilariously over-the-top over several listens, while the anthemic chorus of “Legend of the Power Saurus” is infectiously sing-alongable. Couple the catchiness with the harmony-rich lead guitar work and some surprisingly biting thrash-oriented riffage, and you’ve got a satisfyingly fattening power metal platter.
This EP’s musical content is solid, but I have some reservations about Victorius’ approach to their ludicrous subject matter. Dinosaur Warfare borrows the basic DragonForce mindset of composing generically epic lyrics and merely slaps a dinosaur-themed vocabulary on top of the aesthetic, squandering what could have been a legitimately humorous parody and creating something far less inspired. The only real moment where the content matches the absurdity promised by the album art is during the solo section of “Legend of the Power Saurus,” which bursts forth with a rendition of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers theme so shockingly literal that I swear I can practically hear Haim Saban breathing heavily in the background as he contemplates a full-blown lawsuit.
Sure, many of Victorius’ shortcomings (including a vocalist who sounds far too clean and airy for a genre that promises power in its title) haven’t been addressed since their last release, and the production fails to leave an impact thanks to drums that are buried beneath the walls of guitars in the mix. But even if the taste isn’t perfect, the consistency is admirable, as Dinosaur Warfare doesn’t display any weak points despite a pair of comparatively mid-paced closing tracks. This is a very recommendable EP to those hungry for power metal at its most melodic, but as it doesn’t make the most of its potential fun factor in the lyrics department, those hoping for Gloryhammer levels of self-aware power metal parody should keep their expectations tempered. Either way, leave your fucking feathers at home.