Arriving with a very impressive debut release, today we have Kemilon and their freshman offering “Twisted Storm”. Directly targeted to fans of old-school Power Metal, this Canadian band makes excellent impression on listeners as soon as this release starts. With ten majestic songs, “Twisted Storm” is by far one of the most energetic Power Metal releases we have heard this 2012.
Opening with the fluff intro “Beyond Frontiers”, the band quickly delivers a highly technically proficient opening track with “Ocean of Insanity”. Having a video game-like opening, this track has a vibrant old-school sound that while featuring keyboards; it is not drowned by them, allowing the basic instruments to shine together with Yan Gagne’s excellent vocals. The overall mood of the song (and the album) if very intense and well crated to give you the ‘high’ that Power Metal used to do back in the days of early Stratovarius, Angra, etc.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Burning Point and their super catchy Melodic Power Metal released titled “The Ignitor”. With a very exciting mixture of modern Melodic Power Metal elements and a traditional Heavy Metal, Burning Point delivers a very well-crafted release full of powerful guitar sections, catchy chorus parts, and an overall epic feeling that only a handful of bands can pull off.
Taking the listener back to the time when Power Metal was epic and felt like an adrenaline shock, “Eternal Flame” delivers a very apt opening for such a fun and engaging release. The band does a great job in establishing a basic core of guitar driven melodies where the keyboards and virtuoso-passages take a back seat and let the rest of the elements shine. Pete Ahonen vocals are spot on and have a powerful range, on tracks like “In The Fire’s of My Self” and “In the Night”, they carry the songs magically and seemingly effortless. “In the Night” has also that classic Heavy Metal vibe thanks to the chorus section that many newer bands seem to be forgetting about.
Digitally making its way from Italy, today we have Legion Warcry’s debut full-length release “The Way to Escape”. With a very traditional combination of old-school Heavy Metal and Power Metal elements, this release is quite entertaining to hear. On the downside, the production is a bit funky sometimes it sounds a bit hollow and lacks some flair that other Power Metal releases have these days.
The opener “God of Thunder” begins with powerful guitar work, but some very odd vocals that sound a bit distant from everything else. The vocals are not bad, but they just sound a bit weird in this track. Combining the catchiness of Heavy Metal with some of the guitar wizardry of Power Metal, “Across the Space” and “As You Preach” nicely set the mood for this solid release. The combination of subtle guitar/keyboard wizardry on “Across the Space” makes this track very entertaining.
The ever changing Sonata Arctica finally returns after three years with another exciting (and different sounding) release titled “Stones Grow Her Name”. After listening to this album, we are sure the remaining purist fans of the older Sonata Arctica will surely shy away, and the ones that like their more recent musical direction (like us) will surely love in an instant.
Sonata Arctica is not afraid to move away of their comfort zone, and with each of their latest releases they have been experimenting and delivering excellent music that has changed the ways people perceive the band. In “Stones Grow Her Name”, the band explores more traditional songs as well as some very different tracks that at a first glance will make you think WTF.
After their epic-as-fuck release “Coat of Arms”, our favorite war inspired Power Metal band returns with the awesome “Carolus Rex”. Arriving in both English and Swedish versions, this release is a worthy continuation of their impressive back catalogue of releases keeping things nearly identical to their past releases, but with an even more epic atmosphere.
Sabaton in a certain way is very similar to Amon Amarath, they both found a niche were they are the best and very slowly keep adding minimal things to their sound to make it even more impressive. Opening with the very epic and full of choir sections, “The Lion from the North” (after the traditional filler intro track), Sabaton instantly sets the mood for such an excellent release. “Gott Mit Uns” delivers waves of powerful guitar riffs and Joakim Brodén’s excellent vocals.
Today we have Cyprus very own Winters Verge delivering one of the most impressive Power Metal releases of 2012 with “Beyond Vengeance”. The band nicely provides a worthy follower to their very well crafted 2010 release “Tales of Tragedy”, with more intricate and more bombastic songs that nicely explore the band’s rich sound and dramatic take on the genre.
Since the opening piece “Cunning Lullabies”, Winters Verge delivers intelligently crafted music that is both catchy and powerful: the perfect combination in Power Metal. The keyboards are very dramatic and the overall riffing of this track is very dynamic, making it a truly delightful listening experience. With the very traditional “Paper is Blank”, the band shows that they can make old-school sounding songs with their modern and fresh edge. The vocals of George Charalambous are just outstanding and make this song even more magical.
Hailing from France, today we have the Heavy/Power Metal outfit named Lonewolf and their surprisingly very engaging release “Army of the Damned”. While not having anything original about their sound, Lonewolf does an excellent job in crafting 11 super-catchy headbanging inducing tracks that will stick to your head for days to come.
Opening with the track titled “Lonewolf”, the band delivers commanding guitar riffs and solos, powerful keyboards in a very traditional sounding track that is super catchy in nature. The vocals are your typical late 90’s raspy Heavy Metal style, but they actually feel very well fitted for the more modern and richer sound of the band. Things continue to get even catchier with the excellent “Crawling to Hell”, a track that has a slight Manowar vibe. The chorus section is pretty solid, allowing this track to have all the makings of a true Metal anthem.
Delivering their first release in 10 years, today we have Drakkar and their latest release “When Lightning Strikes”. This Power Metal outfit from Italy apparently was one of the biggest band’s in the genre back in the 90’s and they now return with a very traditional sound… for the 90’s indeed. Powering through 15 tracks, this release is as vanilla as you can get with a very few decent songs.
In a time when everybody and their mom plays Power Metal, Drakkar does not offer much in terms of originality and even their well-executed songs sound very cliché and dull after a while. We have the dramatic fantasy inspired keyboard intro with “Hyperspace – The Arrival”, a very predictable track that just points out what is to come: predictable and very ‘normal’ music.
Keeping up with the Progressive Metal/Rock releases we received recently, today we have Oceans of Night’s second full-length release titled “Domain”. This duo from the USA deliver and action-packed 63 minutes of pure Progressive/Power Metal excellence divided in 10 tracks. Featuring multi-instrumentalist Scott Mosher and vocalist Scott Oliva, this album delivers a hefty dosage of crunchy guitars and very well crafted atmospheric elements that sets them apart from the rest.
The opening track “Domain” clocks in at a massive 17 minutes, signaling the beginning of a very rich and diverse journey through the music of Oceans of Night. In this track the crunchy guitars are a notable difference from your traditional prog music, and the atmospheric keyboards add a futuristic tone to the overall track. Oliva’s vocals are excellent, filled with emotion and nicely bringing the lyrics to life. The drumming is very well structured, and while neither of the band members play the drums, they brought in a session drummer to have that natural sound.
With a very long and extremely good discography under his belt, Axel Rudi Pell returns this 2012 with their latest masterpiece “Circle of the Oath”. In this release, Axel and the band rip through 10 tracks of very traditional and effective Heavy/Power Metal without ridiculous amounts of flair, but with a very well defined core and a timeless sound.
Immediately after the intro, Axel’s guitar playing power is immediately present on “Ghost in the Black”. As one of the fastest tracks of this release, this song is filled with catchy guitar work, powerful keyboards and very solid vocals courtesy of Johnny Gioeli. The traditional Heavy Metal atmosphere is immediately present with the catchy choruses of “Run with the Wind” and “Before I Die”, a staple that Axel Rudi Pell has had over their whole career.