Hello and welcome back to the second Chronicle of Power! We’ve got lots of exciting new music to bring you in this new installment – I hope you enjoy at least some of it!

Amusie Power
First up, we head to Japan! Nagoyans Amusie have been around for over a decade but staggeringly Heavy Metal Doctors, which comes out this month, is their first album!

You have to start somewhere, I guess, even after twelve years, and I’m happy to report that the band has spent their time fruitfully since 2011. Heavy Metal Doctors is an absolute stormer of an album, rammed full of memorable power metal that really takes you by the scruff of the neck and demands your attention. Opening track Guiding Light pitches the band somewhere between Germany and Italy, stylistically, with a sort of kitchen sink approach to orchestration that teeters on the brink of chaos yet survives thanks to the superb musicianship of all concerned.

However, these guys are happy to mix things up – second track Heaven Finds You is more restrained and melodic, with the inevitable feel of Loudness about it’s layered vocals and the tone of Daisuke Inukai‘s excellent voice. And then of course you have the superb lead guitar of Shingo Kinoshita – a real find and a man who certainly knows his way around a fretboard, in both rhythm and lead settings.

Without putting too fine a point on it, this is the finest thing I’ve heard from Japan in quite some while, and I think quite a few chroniclers will agree if they give this fine album a spin!

Aathma power
Something a bit different now in the shape of Madrileños Aathma, who aren’t a power metal band by any stretch of the imagination – but they do pack a lot of power into their groovy, sludgy sound!

Despite ‘only’ being a trio, Aathma have a hell of a lot going on on new offering Dust From A Dark Sun, which emerged last month on Ardua Music. First track out of the staring blocks Cosmos is a droning, hypnotic slab of noise that’ll have fans of Alice In Chains and King’s X sitting up a taking notice of the behemothic rumble laid down by the band.

That said, this isn’t really a grunge album, or indeed one informed by that style of music. It’s actually got the widescreen dynamics of bands like Spiritualized or even My Bloody Valentine at it’s heart, augmented by Alejandro Porras‘ more rockular drum assault and a ‘classic rock’ feel to the vocals of Juan Viguera. If this is all starting to sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before, then your’e not too wide of the mark, as the band plough a very unique – and highly listenable – furrow indeed. This is definitely for the more open minded listener, but the rewards for taking a bit of time with this album are rich indeed!

To Greece now, and perhaps something a little more familiar… Protean Shield deal in traditional heavy metal, nothing more, nothing less, and their debut album, released at the tail end of last month, offers up a beautifully sincere and well-played take on the medium.

Harris Stampoulidis leads from the front with a strong, clear vocal presence, but perhaps the first thing you notice is the strident, up=front bass work of Petros Vasiliadis, who bobs and weaves in and out of the twin guitar attack of Yannis Aktypis and Yannis Tsiligkakis with real style. His work on second track 47 Ronin is a particular joy to behold, but you’ll be impressed with the way he goes about his business across the whole album.

Slough Feg is an obvious point of reference here, alongside NWoBHM revivalists Airforce, but Protean Shield do manage to forge their own identity within the quite narrow parameters they’ve staked out for themselves. Stormbringer, for instance, again benefits from a clear mix that gives every player a chance to shine whilst placing Stampoulidis front and centre. His is the voice that gives the band a bit of freshness and personality beyond the duelling guitars and gurning rhythmic assault. All in all this is a pretty rewarding listen, and Protean Shield do well in upholding the glorious tradition of Greek Metal across the nine tracks featured here!

Korgull power
Back to Spain now, and the speed/blackthrash stylings of the superbly-named Körgull the Exterminator! Although the VoiVod inference is obvious – and on tracks like Existential Risk and Built To Kill the sonic comparisons are too – there’s actually more to these guys than just blind fan worship. Mark Wild and comparative newbie Ghorth form an impressive guitar pairing, full of thoughtful twists and turns in their playing, and the rhythm section of Joe and Javi Bastard are more than capable enough of handling all the Voivodian tangents that the music throws up.

Best track The Nine Circles of Hell is a bit more straightforward and adds a big dollop of Venom to the cauldron – vocalist Lilith Necrobitch really lets her vocals rip here – and it’s hard to resist the headlong madness of such a well-put together track. But on the whole – as you’d probably expect from a band with such a fondness for Voivod – this isn’t an record that presents itself easily on the ear at first contact. However, the more attention you give it, the more it gives back with each listen, as Lilith’s little vocal tics work themselves into your consciousness and the sheer excellence of the instrumentation and arrangements becomes apparent. KTE are a seriously good band, and with Built to Kill they’ve delivered a seriously good album!

Well that’s it for Episode II – Short, sharp and hopefully to the point! See you next time for another Chronicle of Power!