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Power Metal

Power Metal
December 18, 2013, 03:36:15 AM
Frequently I ask the question, where were the Germans when death metal and black metal exploded?

Answer: inventing power metal, which was basically speed metal re-factored with Iron Maiden and a few other epic metal acts.

Final Prophecy - "Beyond Reality" demo 1988

Re: Power Metal
December 18, 2013, 06:41:53 AM
Well, it wasn't just them, at least as I understand it. There was a parallel scene in the USA doing similar things to a heavy/speed metal base - acts like John Arch era Fates Warning come to mind.

One gap in my understanding is why the 'European' style evolved to become faster and arguably more aggressive when much of the other aspects of it moved closer to normal pop/rock music. Then again, it might not be that different from all the other times people created various "mainstream" variants of metal.

Re: Power Metal
December 19, 2013, 07:36:38 AM
Seriously though, there's got to be like a top 5 power metal albums list for some old-school death/black metal purist (for when he's in a weird mood and might secretly want to spin a bit of power metal).

Re: Power Metal
December 19, 2013, 08:08:05 AM
Fates Warning's classic albums "Awaken the Guardian" and "The Spectre Within" are essential, "No Exit" is decent too. Not sure about the other stuff.

Warlord is another great early band from the US, their "Best of Warlord" has pretty much their complete discography as all they managed were a few EPs before the guitarist converted to Christianity and became a theology professor. Excellent classically influenced leads with no unnecessary wank; really tasteful stuff. Nice vocals and the drummer went on to play in Fates Warning; he has tons of dynamics and tone for a metal drummer.

It's a guilty pleasure but Blind Guardian's "Nightfall in Middle Earth" isn't bad songwriting. Same goes for "Burnt Offerings" by Iced Earth; although every subsequent album by that band (and the band themselves) can fuck the fuck off.

And no one can forget the first four Manowar albums - before they fully committed to being self-parody, they had a Maiden/Priest-influenced sound with a nice Black Sabbath heavy groove underlying them.

If you're looking for that full on flower power, happy sound I can't help you; I've never enjoyed any of that Gamma Ray type stuff. To me it always sounded like Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" covered by a group of high functioning tweakers.

Re: Power Metal
December 19, 2013, 09:18:04 AM
There was actually a great post on power metal from deathmetal.org describing the genre and some of the best works.   

http://www.deathmetal.org/zine/of-power-metal-and-other-tales/


My thoughts:  I believe that the German extreme metal scene never took off due to the repercussions of post-WWII on society, and thus only power metal was left to flourish.  Helloween, were the originators.  In the song "I Want Out", Helloween defined the general theme of power metal for all future bands to come from a lyrical standpoint (escapism and empowerment basically). It's why it is one of the most covered songs of the genre.  The NWOBHM and Manowar also played a big part.  Once again that list is great though there are other noteworthy bands.

Re: Power Metal
December 20, 2013, 03:59:14 AM
The power/heavy metal scene/fanbase in Germany took off in the late 80s/early 90s extreme metal rose elsewhere, it solidified as the same styles fell out of popular favor and nearly disappeared in America. Manowar solidified their reputation here - charting top 10 in 1992+96 and selling 250k+ copies of a few albums in the early 90s. There was a responsive fanbase there that supported bands and offered the theater for the audience they needed to sustain their spirit. Germany has been a great place for metal for many years now, still supporting 80s USPM bands to a much greater extent that the US does.

Despite the strength of the scene in Germany, the US had an expansive and unrivaled variety of amazing heavy/power/speed metal bands in the 80s. In the limelight, they existed in the shadow of mediocre cover/butt rock bands of the time, but there was quite a diversity of amazing bands from places far from the major scenes in LA, SF, and NYC.  Of interest to the DMU philosphy, there were a lot of bands who really captured the spirit and ideologies of heavy metal in their own ways, and often saw little success, sometimes even no distribution until the file-sharing age. Of course, this is mostly outside of the nihilist/dm/bm scope that has been focused on, it hasn't really been on this site's agenda, I suppose.

There were bands who came out of all parts of the huge country: Manilla Road came out of Kansas and I'm sure you all know them. Shok Paris and Black Death from Cleveland, Ohio, Enchanter from Jackson, Michigan, Fates Warning and Liege Lord from Connecticut, Queensryche and Heir Apparent from Washington, Crimson Glory and Savatage from Florida, Powerlord from Oklahoma... the list goes on. There was great diversity in geographically separated bands, they weren't homogenized like bands in LA were to an extent, and even then, a scene like LA could support a nerdy sword-and-sorcery fantasy band like Cirith Ungol who did things there own way and were absolutely killer and top-notch, despite being radio-unfriendly. At the same time, there were also thrash and doom coming up in the US, and there was overlap in the scenes. Death metal evolved at the same time too - Possessed's "Seven Churches" Fates Warning's "The Spectre Within" came out within a day of each other.

Re: Power Metal
December 21, 2013, 04:01:35 AM
Seriously though, there's got to be like a top 5 power metal albums list for some old-school death/black metal purist (for when he's in a weird mood and might secretly want to spin a bit of power metal).

Iced Earth - "Night of the Stormrider" (original mix, not the crappy remaster)
Blind Guardian - "Somewhere Far Beyond"
Helloween - "Walls of Jericho"/"Helloween"
Manowar - "Hell on Wheels" (still lots of filler, even on their live albums, but there's about 15 classic songs between the 2 discs)

Those 4 albums are the pinnacle for each variation of power metal:

thrash metal style (Iced Earth)
epic orchestral style (Blind Guardian)
speed metal style (Helloween)
heavy metal style (Manowar)

Re: Power Metal
December 23, 2013, 04:07:31 AM
I had sold my copy of Nightfall in Middle Earth years ago, thinking I was too cool for that silly shit, or maybe I traded it in for some "brutal black metal" like Marduk. Reading this post made me revisit it, and that album fucking holds up. I can still remember every refrain even though it's been almost a decade. I just ordered another used copy; I was a fool to offload this. What a gem.

Re: Power Metal
December 23, 2013, 06:29:41 AM
Thanks everyone for the recommendations! I'll have to listen to Blind Guardian a bit more as the initial listen drove me nuts to be quite honest. Fates Warning is more my sort of sound. And to think that prior to this thread I used to think of Merciful Fate as being Power Metal  ::)

Re: Power Metal
January 13, 2014, 12:10:13 PM
Seriously though, there's got to be like a top 5 power metal albums list for some old-school death/black metal purist (for when he's in a weird mood and might secretly want to spin a bit of power metal).

Iced Earth - "Night of the Stormrider" (original mix, not the crappy remaster)
Blind Guardian - "Somewhere Far Beyond"
Helloween - "Walls of Jericho"/"Helloween"
Manowar - "Hell on Wheels" (still lots of filler, even on their live albums, but there's about 15 classic songs between the 2 discs)

Those 4 albums are the pinnacle for each variation of power metal:

thrash metal style (Iced Earth)
epic orchestral style (Blind Guardian)
speed metal style (Helloween)
heavy metal style (Manowar)

Round it off with Adramelch from Italy as a 5th then, as just power metal. Irae Melanox should make it to a top 5 of power metal albums easily. Nothing in it is just extraneous cheese, even if it is a bit melodramatic. 1988.

Re: Power Metal
January 16, 2014, 03:15:16 PM
Seriously though, there's got to be like a top 5 power metal albums list for some old-school death/black metal purist (for when he's in a weird mood and might secretly want to spin a bit of power metal).

Iced Earth - "Night of the Stormrider" (original mix, not the crappy remaster)
Blind Guardian - "Somewhere Far Beyond"
Helloween - "Walls of Jericho"/"Helloween"
Manowar - "Hell on Wheels" (still lots of filler, even on their live albums, but there's about 15 classic songs between the 2 discs)

Those 4 albums are the pinnacle for each variation of power metal:

thrash metal style (Iced Earth)
epic orchestral style (Blind Guardian)
speed metal style (Helloween)
heavy metal style (Manowar)

Round it off with Adramelch from Italy as a 5th then, as just power metal. Irae Melanox should make it to a top 5 of power metal albums easily. Nothing in it is just extraneous cheese, even if it is a bit melodramatic. 1988.

Fantastic recommendation!

Re: Power Metal
January 16, 2014, 09:22:48 PM
Thanks Annihilation, I constantly plug that album every chance I get because it is so good. The sort-of thin sound and the vocals put me off for a good while from really appreciating the album, a story that repeats itself for many classics for many of us I imagine. This recc. is particularly for you aquarius, give it a chance or three. It is a great metal album full stop.

I am no fan of power metal, but another album I favour is the Falconer self-titled debut. The band is the current primary project of the guitarist and main songwriter of (folk) black metal band Mithotyn, which wasnt very good. I guess its a good example of a musician making stuff he wants to rather than sticking to some genre he doesnt entirely appreciate. Unfortunately Falconer ran out of steam pretty quickly, their best work was prior to even the debut album (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noZhkKm5ji0 this track is on the self-titled with the main riff changed for the worse and other little changes. In my opinion this link is their best song); but even the second has about two listenable tracks. Vocalist is great.

Re: Power Metal
January 18, 2014, 09:24:01 PM
Round it off with Adramelch from Italy as a 5th then, as just power metal. Irae Melanox should make it to a top 5 of power metal albums easily. Nothing in it is just extraneous cheese, even if it is a bit melodramatic. 1988.

Thanks a lot for this! I actually haven't enjoyed an album this much for a long time. These guys would put a lot of black metal bands to shame.

Re: Power Metal
January 22, 2014, 10:55:29 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with the two aforementioned bands.  Irae Melanox is truly a special album.  Some of the riffs are even rather death metally.  Falconer is another which soars above their peers, and I think all of their albums with vocalist Mathias Blad are quality. 

Re: Power Metal
February 07, 2014, 09:03:44 PM
I recently had the chance to listen to the first two major releases by Brocas Helm, the full lengths Into Battle and Black Death. The band did not have the support they desired from their label and were particularly annoyed at the choice of cover art for Into Battle. They released Black Death on their own subsequently. Into Battle is a solid heavy metal album, but Black Death is pretty special and highly recommended.