100% Metal Forum (Death Metal and Black Metal)

Metal => Metal => Topic started by: death metal black metal on December 17, 2013, 07:36:15 PM

Title: Power Metal
Post by: death metal black metal on December 17, 2013, 07:36:15 PM
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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUTwV3WrOGQ)
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Invisible Sandwich on December 17, 2013, 10:41:53 PM
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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on December 18, 2013, 11:36:38 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).
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: dawn on December 19, 2013, 12:08:05 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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Aulė on December 19, 2013, 01:18:04 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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Zodijackyl on December 19, 2013, 07:59:14 PM
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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: wEEman33 on December 20, 2013, 08:01:35 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)
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: dawn on December 22, 2013, 08:07:31 PM
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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on December 22, 2013, 10:29:41 PM
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  ::)
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on January 13, 2014, 04:10:13 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)

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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Annihilation on January 16, 2014, 07:15:16 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)

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!
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on January 16, 2014, 01:22:48 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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on January 18, 2014, 01:24:01 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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Aulė on January 22, 2014, 02:55:29 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. 
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on February 07, 2014, 01:03:44 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.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: dawn on February 07, 2014, 09:26:15 PM
Bruce Dickinson's late 90s solo work is worth a mention - most of his solo albums are mediocre, but the two with Adrian Smith (Accident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding) are fucking brilliant. I actually like them better than any Iron Maiden albums. See what you think:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxqQT3UvXkM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxqQT3UvXkM)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgP1zyI0E6w (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgP1zyI0E6w)
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on February 10, 2014, 08:23:39 PM
I'm still really liking Aldramelch - Irae Melanox. Is there anything that even closely resembles this band or the style of the album? Anyone try to clone them or anyone they were trying to clone?
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on February 13, 2014, 12:15:31 PM
Nothing quite like it I am afraid mate. Some people tell me Fates Warning is a little similar, and a metal-archives review seems to say the same thing, but I cant confirm. Also, I doubt it, but that is just intuition.

Thoughts on Stratovarius? The neoclassical zine review made me check it out and I ended up enjoying it, what are their major (valuable) albums?

Also the demo linked in the first post by Final Prophecy is excellent!
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Aulė on February 13, 2014, 06:14:53 PM
Stratovarius is pretty decent.  There is a wide variety of opinions on what is their best but my pick from them would certainly be Visions.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on February 16, 2014, 09:38:52 AM
Blind Guardian - "Somewhere Far Beyond"

Man... is this supposed to be their best album? Its... difficult for me to tolerate, though there are a lot of delicious moments. Lost Horizon is better, much better.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: hell on February 16, 2014, 02:12:55 PM
One year after having released this album hit my head:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKNIHaBCkcw

Omen - Battle Cry (Teeth of the Hydra compilation)
Savage Grace - Master of Disguise
Nasty Savage - Nasty Savage
more heavy, Loudness - Hurricane Eyes.

ooops...german Stormwitch - two first albums.

(Adramelch is boring..thx anyway).


Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on February 16, 2014, 03:54:18 PM
I hate Savatage after having had the misfortune to listen to The Wake of Magellan, the gayest metal album I have ever heard: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k1TMhUxEgY
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: freddc on February 16, 2014, 09:16:30 PM
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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUTwV3WrOGQ)

Right here ... http://www.deathmetal.org/bands/atrocity/
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: dawn on February 17, 2014, 08:36:19 AM
I hate Savatage after having had the misfortune to listen to The Wake of Magellan, the gayest metal album I have ever heard: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k1TMhUxEgY

That album is balls, Hall oft he Mountain King is cheesy but solid - the old guitarist who wrote all their good music died in 1993 hence the drop in quality. They eventually turned into Trans Siberian Orchestra, that ridiculous "Christmas rock band"
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on February 18, 2014, 04:05:58 PM
Blind Guardian - "Somewhere Far Beyond"

Man... is this supposed to be their best album? Its... difficult for me to tolerate, though there are a lot of delicious moments. Lost Horizon is better, much better.

I thought Nightfall in Middle-Earth was largely considered to be their best.

Anyway, I feel the same way. It's goofy as all hell, I kind of enjoy it, but then they go and do something to make me feel embarassed about having enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: trystero on February 19, 2014, 01:20:51 PM
Seriously... that is exactly it. One moment I am thinking hey, this isnt bad at all, the next, hey this is pretty good! Then the refrain.... Also not keen on the lyrics, though even there ups and downs are noticeable. I suppose Nightfall in Middle Earth would be better as far as lyrics are concerned. aquarius have you heard Lost Horizon? It consists of the members of Luciferion and despite being in the vein of ultra-positive fantastical cheese metal it takes more cues from older heavy metal/nwobhm than the manic speed metal that tends to annoy. Check out Awakening the World (sample (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gpjy6Pt6ng)).
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on February 19, 2014, 04:05:24 PM
I did check them out briefly after reading the DMU article on Power Metal. Will have to do some more investigating.

Anyone familiar with Rhapsody? A popular band from Italy that plays in the style of Blind Guardian? Seems equally as goofy but some tracks sounded alright.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: fenrir on February 19, 2014, 04:59:54 PM
Quote
Anyone familiar with Rhapsody? A popular band from Italy that plays in the style of Blind Guardian? Seems equally as goofy but some tracks sounded alright.

I'm pretty familiar with their music and history.

I think they took what Blind Guardian was attempting to do and what Helloween was half-assing and they took it all the way, embraced it as having a special, transcendent meaning and produced the most involving music in the genre.
Rhapsody is the to-go epic Power Metal band.  Nothing here is for the sake of pretentiousness (all elements are a contribution to the whole) and I know no other band that achieves the intensity and 'real' feeling in their fantasy atmosphere. But that's just my opinion.
I recommend going through their first 5 albums which work as 5 chapters to a fantastic story written by their guitarist.  A silly, naive story on the level of pulp fantasy ala Conan imbued with Tolkien cliches.  Nothing intellectual, but the whole product is well-done.

Also, do not listen to "tracks". Listen to the whole album.  They're supposed to be stories. Not random catchy songs.

"Keep away (monsters of hell)" if you cannot stand power metal fantasy cheese at all.  The thing with Rhapsody, though, is that they do not sound like  a joke. This is pulled off really professionally, unlike most bands in this subgenre.

To be honest, I cannot stand listening to them more than once every few months now, though.  I guess I've grown out of it. But I still respect their good songwriting, effective vision and realization of this musical project.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: Tree on February 20, 2014, 11:40:14 AM
aquarius have you heard Lost Horizon? It consists of the members of Luciferion and despite being in the vein of ultra-positive fantastical cheese metal it takes more cues from older heavy metal/nwobhm than the manic speed metal that tends to annoy. Check out Awakening the World (sample (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gpjy6Pt6ng)).

The song that you linked kicked my ass so hard that I listened to the whole album. Definitely some of the most enjoyable power metal to which I have listened. However, it was almost too much in a sense, similar to grindcore being so fast and funeral doom so slow that extended exposure becomes exhausting. Then again, evening was probably not the correct time of day to listen to testosterone-pumping music like this!
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: aquarius on February 20, 2014, 04:13:41 PM
Thanks a lot fenrir! I've been listening mainly to their first two albums and am rather enjoying it. Never thought I'd be so enthusiastic for choruses that's for sure. Today, Lost Horizon gets my full attention.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: fenrir on February 25, 2014, 07:01:22 AM
Thanks a lot fenrir! I've been listening mainly to their first two albums and am rather enjoying it. Never thought I'd be so enthusiastic for choruses that's for sure. Today, Lost Horizon gets my full attention.

Wait till you get to Power of the Dragonflame. What a monster of an album.
My favorite albums are the first one, Legendary Tales, because it really transports me to some kind of dark, medieval setting, and Power of the Dragonflame, because I can really feel that fantastic apocalypse in that dark Tolkienish world.

I think it's also because the album has an overwhelming use of harpsichord sound on the KB.  The fifth one (Power of the Dragonflame) has a lot of big church organ and cello on the KB.

The singer is really something too.  The fact that Turilli also arranges a bigger-sounding Tenor behind the band's singer in some points and the use of that gothic choir all helps to enhance the mood a lot.

Any recommendations on your side?  Is Lost Horizon really good? sounds like a Luca Turilli project... the name...
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: badmash on February 25, 2014, 02:19:08 PM
Today, Lost Horizon gets my full attention.

Unfortunately, as I am sure you have already realized, it is still "late period" power metal. This is no Adramelch, but if you can somewhat tolerate Blind Guardian then I am sure you will enjoy it. Fortunately it is chock full of good riffs and has quite decent lyrics. The singer is brilliant and the guitarist has some real flair outside technicality. Some great melodic solos, particularly the one that closes the final "epic" track Kingdom of My Will. I know exactly what you mean by the way Tree, this is actually the reason I cannot stand a lot of otherwise decent power metal.

Despite what I have written above, Lost Horizon is different from the bands in that old deathmetal.org power metal article. I imagine that is because of the extreme metal roots of the string musicians. I wont say they are at a different level, but they do stand out.
Title: Re: Power Metal
Post by: fenrir on March 10, 2014, 02:09:54 PM
To whoever mentioned Adramelch in the first place: thank you, this is great stuff.
I find it far more engaging than Lost Horizon. 
Lost Horizon have more of a technical flare, their songs seem to be strictly structured as simple pop and driven purely by hooks.  And I only liked their first album, the second one became somewhat unbearable for me. After 3 or 4 listens all my interest for their debut dwindled. I felt as if there was nothing else to listen to, after I figured out what were the solos, riffs and hooks that I liked in each song.
To be fair, Lost Horizon catches the ear more at first in its excitement-based approach. But that's all there is to it.  Adramelch's way of writing songs that approaches story-telling (in music, not words) shows me that their music offers something else, something greater than the isolated achievement of any one particular section. 


To whoever said Adramelch is just boring: why?
I hear the same being said of some very good old Death Metal.  It is BORING because it doesn't display the ridiculous speed or pounding in "carnival" approach (as our friend B. Stevens would put it) of newer (obviously NOT boring) Death Metal bent on showing you how well they practiced guitar sweeps and blast beats they learned by listening to Death's 90s revolutionary and genre-transforming albums?