Introduction to Power Metal, Part II: The First Wave of European Power Metal

[The epic continues!  Read part I of Johan’s journey here and listen for yourself via this playlist]

While working with what was intended to be the second part of a tripartite article series covering the history and general properties of the power metal subgenre, it soon became clear that a sufficiently thorough treatment of the subject would require more space and time than what was originally intended. This insight subsequently led to the conclusion that individual parts needed to be subdivided and portioned out in order to not grow out of proportion. The initial plan to present the material into three consecutive parts has thus been revised.

Another related issue that arose during “research” concerns the historical development of European power metal. As have been noted in previous articles on this site relating to the history of metal music, artistic “movements” or periods of development tend last about five years speaking in generalized terms. This phenomenon can be observed in European power metal as well. After having studied Euro-power metal as a composite phenomenon, a rough sketch outlining the developmental trajectory of said music began to take form:

1984-1989: The first wave of European power metal.

1990-1995: Intermediate period.

1996-2001: The second wave of European power metal.

While not a perfect model, this rough periodic division will be used as a framework for discussion in the articles to follow. The relatively lengthy timespan that has passed since the putatively defined second wave of European power metal will be left out for the moment, primarily (and regrettably) because there hasn’t really occurred much of a development in power metal since the early 2000s. If anyone sits on information that invalidates the above statement, feel free to chip in – this writer would be very pleased to be proven wrong on this front.

Accordingly, the second part of this article series will be mainly devoted to the development and characteristics of the first wave of European power metal and the intermediate period that followed in its wake. Instead of approaching the subject in thoroughly generalized manner, a ???-track compilation will be used as source material to make observations about the historical development and specific traits of first wave Euro-styled power metal. Please not that this collection of tracks is by no means intended as a “best of”-compilation but should rather be viewed of as a springboard for further discussion.

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Atlantean Kodex Live Album is Bad

At first glance, this album boasts a cool cover and impressively long song lengths, making a strong first impression. Then I hit play. It didn’t take long to realize this is really, really bad live album. It is not tightly played at all. The two guitars are not in sync and neither are the drums. You have to suffer through really bad lyrics like: “Onward to the sun” and “Destiny is calling!”. Everything is really bad waltzy Sabbath imitation but really boring. I can fairly say that this album qualifies as epic German cheese. So of course it will be popular. The singer sounds like the guy who sang those Budweiser ads Real Men of Genius.
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Introduction to Power Metal, Part I: Origins and Influences

(Join DMU Legend Johan Pettersson for what may be the most expansive analysis of power metal ever presented in the first of a 3 part series.  Listen to the accompanying suggested listening here)

Of all the subgenres and styles that fall within the metal spectrum (hence excluding unmitigated relapses into rock such as death’n’roll, stoner, nu- and indie metal), power metal most definitely counts as the one that has received the highest amount of scorn and ridicule from critics, fans and outsiders alike. (more…)

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Dave Mustaine Wants One More Big 4

Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine has been vocal these past few weeks of pushing through one final Big 4 tour before Slayer hits the nursing home. He believes, however, that there’s no chance Metallica will be in. Mustaine, committed to getting a piece of the Slayer retirement pie, goes on to say he’ll headline a big 3 tour (minus the big 1) or perhaps start a new big 4 with two other thrash metal giants….
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Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (2017)

Every year we are treated to an endless amount of ridiculous lists.  It seems that any individual with the ability to express their opinions is obligated to share their Top 10 or top 20 metal releases that more often than not echo the same three websites.  The bands that enter such lists tend to come in two varieties: veterans rehashing the same ideas in a more streamlined fashion and those who trick their audience via the use of gimmicks and presenting a familiar product with slightly different aesthetics as the next big thing.  In these last two years, speed metal has conquered the number 1 spot of most of these lists.  Last year Vektor’s Terminal Redux ruled the metal lists by far with it’s melody derived from Voivod and the phrasings from Destruction’s Eternal Devastation all held together in long sloppily composed epics… ultimately resulting in an above average album but a strong move for the funderground.  This year, Texans Power Trip succeed in winning the “funderground 2017 award” with their second album Nightmare Logic.  The Speed metal revival movement has finally found its idols to guide it’s path of remaining in the past and offering the most faithful reproduction of late 80s speed/thrash.

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The Relevance of Obsessed by Cruelty

Article by Hereweald Cola Algar

It is not secret that old Sodom is well-respected around this part, if not at least thoroughly enjoyed, despite the precipitous downfall that the band suffered after the eighties towards an apparently never-stopping race to the lowest possible level. The reason for this attention, this admiration, for an obviously caveman affair like Sodom is that despite its used of underdeveloped riffs and its reliance on harsh rhythmic hooks, the same limitation forced the band to look for ways in which an enveloping darkness could be expressed.  The result, at the band’s highest point (arguably at Obsessed by Cruelty), are proto-labyrinthic songs that return to strong riffs, and so do not loose either drive or become lost in an overly complicated search for more material to cram.
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Sepultura’s Sons

Hessians were always searching for anything heavy back in the eighties. Digging deep into the import section or buying blindly from catalogs or zines were the only ways to hear anything that could be heavier outside of rarely engaged in underground tape trading. Slayer was the heaviest mainstream metal ever got. Sepultura was one heavier.

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