Hailing from the USA, where we do not have a lot of Power/Progressive Metal bands, today we have Power/Progressive Metal California outfit NovaReign and their first demo release. With “Reign of the Infinite Sun”, the band delivers four very promising tracks that with a little more work could be outstanding.
Opening with the exciting “Call on the Storm”, the band showcases excellent musicianship and technical proficiency. The thing that brings down the experience is the not-there-yet vocals of David Marquez. While his range has potential, it still needs to be definitely worked on. As the epic riffs, tight drumming, and proficient guitar work continues on tracks like “Crimson Shield” and “Beyond the Cold”, we also noticed that for a demo in 2014, the production is a bit flat. A better job when mixing should do the trick and elevate the band’s sound.
Returning with a renovated sense of freshness and energy, today we have Sonata Arctica and their eight full-length release: “Pariah’s Child”. Going back to the band’s roots, this release is both extremely catchy and very basic in terms of Power Metal. Filled with superb melodic passages and captivating lead vocals, this is the album all fans of the band have been waiting for years.
The band kicks off with the playful “The Wolves Die Young” and “Running Lights”, two extremely catchy tracks that delivers the old sound the band used to have. The music feels like a jump in time to the days of “Tallulah”, “Shamandalie” and the killer “Paid In Full”. Filled with lush atmospheric passages, “Take One Breath” nicely features all the best elements that Power Metal and Sonata Arctica have to offer. With the band refining their skills over the years, they function now as a perfectly well-oiled machine.
Arriving from Sweden in a lush digipack format, today we have newcomers Veonity and their three-song EP titled “Live Forever”. Perfectly capturing the atmosphere of 90’s Power Metal, this very young band makes an impressive debut with this release. If you are a fan of older Stratovarius, Helloween, and Gamma Ray, you will not be disappointed by the energy and intensity behind this short but sweet EP.
Opening with the EP title track, the band instantly delivers blistering guitar leads and a very balanced sound. The epic vocal melodies drive this song to the top of the pile when it comes to new Power Metal bands. With excellent lead guitars and tight drumming, we proceed to the next epic track “Slaves In A Holly War”, a track that presents us with more guitar wizardry and extreme catchiness.
Taking the North American Power Metal scene by surprise, today we have Armory and their high-octane sophomore release “Empyrean Realms”. After showing great surprise with their debut full-length “The Dawn of Enlightenment” six years ago, this band finally returns with an even more grandiose and bombastic release. Filled with over 50 minutes of blazing fast guitars, soaring vocals, and perky keyboards, this is one release that should be on your Christmas shopping list.
Immediately blasting away with “Eternal Mind”, Adam Kurland’s vocals soar like you would expect from any top vocalist of the genre. Perfectly balanced and with an impressive range, this is one of the first assets behind this very creative band. The track progresses with intricately crafted guitars and super tight drumming. Rivaling the composition and execution brilliance of bands like Rhapsody of Fire, Stratovarius, etc., tracks like “Dreamstate” and “Beyond The Horizon” keep the band’s epic delivery and vibe rolling.
Today we have Norwegian Metal/Rock vocalist Pellek (Per Fredrik Asly) delivering is sophomore album titled “Ocean of Opportunity”. As a highly ambitious self-released album, Pellek and company (he now has band members for this album cycle) deliver more than 45 minutes of expertly crafted Power/Progressive Metal with a nice dosage of symphonic elements. Being a concept album, the nine tracks in this release nicely come together and keep a very steady and engaging flow making the release very solid and interesting.
Opening with very regal orchestrations on “Elucidation”, we can immediately enjoy the album’s crystal-clear production and PelleK’s talented vocals. This song is quite powerful and enjoyable, but it holds itself from letting the listener know all that is hidden under Pellek’s bag of tricks. Immediately reminding us of Nightwish, “Northern Wayfarer” makes things more dynamic with lush guitar work and very solid solos.
Lead by the whacky Christopher Bowes, GloryHammer arrives to us with an impressive dose of killer fantasy-inspired Power Metal. Showcasing his awesome songwriting skills and knack for epic orchestrations, Mr. Bowes does a great job in this new band bringing to life his alternative concept of Scotland’s medieval history. For over ten tracks the band crafts epic battle hymns and highly effective songs that will have any fan of the genre throwing away all their Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, etc. merch and CD’s to get some new GloryHammer stuff.
After an epic intro track, “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee” marches forward with a superbly epic chorus section and a furious pace. While the song title and probably the lyrics are as absurd as anything that Alestrom has ever recorded, the band produces killer music that sounds as good as any veteran fantasy Power Metal band. The vocal arrangements are superb and give that epic vibe that we crave in these kinds of albums.
After their breakthrough release “Death & Legacy”, Serenity seems to be easing into their own bombastic sound with “War Of Ages”. Incorporating a full-time female vocalist (Clémentine Delauney), the band delivers ten tracks filled with lush orchestrations and very dynamic arrangements. Any fan of Symphonic Metal with some Progressive and Power Metal elements will be eating this one for breakfast… and the rest of the day for countless weeks.
Starting strong with the super catchy “Wings of Madness”, a track that has a killer chorus section and excellent vocal duets, the band shows that their last release was not a fluke. The combination of Georg Neuhauser and Clémentine’s vocals has great chemistry and they sound great in this track (and release in general). In the very Epica-like “The Art of War” and “Shining Oasis”, the band shows their skills on faster paced and more dynamic songs while keeping their own signature sound.
After their critically acclaimed and totally excellent release “Elysium”, one could wonder how Stratovarius will top such a great release. Two years later, “Nemesis” arrives with a darker edge, but an equally impressive assortment of songs. In this release the band delivers 11 tracks of their signature Melodic Power Metal with a more serious tone to things. Another answer provided in this release is that the loss of long-time drummer Jörg Michael was greatly alleviated by newcomer Rolf Pilve.
As in Stratovarius tradition, the band kicks off with an epic track titled “Abandon”. In this song we can instantly appreciate the band’s killer songwriting kills and excellent placement of epic vocal sections. This upbeat tempo is kept in the highly addictive “Unbreakable”, a track that features very catchy keyboards and a superb chorus section. Interestingly enough, this track sounds a bit more ‘mainstream’ than one would expect, but it is also super catchy and very well crafted.
Featuring 13-tracks of traditional and uplifting Power Metal, today we have France’s Galderia and their third full-length release “The Universality”. In their first release through Metalodic Records, the band delivers a much needed dosage of traditional sounding Power Metal that is not marred by an over the top production or an extreme obsession for being super-fast or overly bombastic.
Immediately after the intro track, “Children of the Earth” showcases the maturity of Galderia and their ability to craft such an epic track with warm sounding guitars and killer vocal melodies. The overall melodic nature of this track is superb and the guitar work really helps elevate such a monumental song to Power Metal excellence. The same epic feeling is transmitted to tracks like “Universality”, “Raise the World” and “Sundancers” making this release a blast to listen to, especially if you enjoy old school Power Metal that was more about soaring vocals and blasting guitar riffs
Delivering a 63-minute Symphonic Power Metal epic, today we have France’s Kerion and their super bombastic release “Cloudriders – Part 1”. Borrowing from epic bands like Raphsody of Fire, this release is as lush and well-crafted as they come showing heaps of creativity and technical skills.
Opening with the epic “Riders Theme”, the band immediately makes their orchestrations be felt as well as their killer guitar work. The whole fantasy vibe is perfectly delivered in “The Map”, another excellent track with very dynamic vocal arrangements. In songs like “Bounty Hunter” and “Never More” the band really shows their Power Metal foundations with excellent musicianship and very solid male and female vocal sections.