Welcome one, welcome all to another power-packed installment of the Chronicles of Power. I’ve picked out some prime heavy metal for you all this time around – fell free to leave a comment on whether you enjoyed my selections!
We’ll kick off this latest chronicle with Italian veterans Derdian. Extant for a quarter of a century, these proudly-DIY symphonic metallers are shortly to release their ninth full-length album in the shape of New Era Part IV -Resurgence.
The words ‘Italian’ and ‘power metal’ in juxtaposition really tell you all you need to know if you aren’t already familiar with the band, but they do offer a bit more than just the cookie-cutter symphonic bombast favoured by many of their countrymen. Songs like The Evil Messiah have a melodic sheen often missing in a genre when sheer technique is often revered above the ability to pen a tune. Vocalist Ivan Giannini is at the heart of this heightened melodic sensibility, offering a voice not solely rooted in operatic overkill but which displays an easy-on-the-ear soulful edge more associated with fellow Euro acts like Dynazty or H.E.A.T.; this crossover appeal works well for the band, though he’s equally able to handle heavier material, leaving the band in the enviable position of being able to unleash on a number of levels.
Similarly, axe team Enrico Pistolese and Dario Radaelli know when to lay off the shred and add a bit of melody to their playing, with the final result being an album that might jsut allow the band to broaden their appeal a little via superb pieces of melodic metal like Dorian.
To Belgium now, and Hunter, who were last seen around these parts in 2019 when they released a very serviceable debut album. Not much has changed since then, with the band still churning out a nice line in aggressive but melodic traditional metal. Their new album, Rebel Angels Rise, is a bit of a revelation on the quiet and deserves to be heard by anyone with even a sneaking regard for metal as it used to be made.
Vocalist David Walgrave puts in an absolute powerhouse performance -he seriously has come on in leaps and bounds since the band’s debut – to the extent that his singing on the title track (amongst others) must surely alert the world to his talent. On the band’s first album I was happy to pigeonhole him as a bargain basement Bobby Elsworth but now I’m not so sure. This is a metal voice that absolutely deserves to be heard on the biggest stages, I’m sure.
Despite being a self-released effort, Rebel Angels Rise benefits from a crystal-clear production that gives every band member their place in the sun, and on tracks like opener Wicked the band have really manged to create a sound that will appeal to modern ears but also won’t fail to ensnare fans longer in the tooth keen to relive the early years of Euro metal. A success on just about every level!
German metal veterans Warwolf toiled under the name of Wolfen for over a quarter of a century but their name change to Warwolf in 2021 seems to have heralded an upturn in fortune, with the band now releasing their second full-length since then.
Produced by Grave Digger‘s Chris Boltendahl, the new album, The Apocalyptic Waltz, harnesses the rawness of Boltendahl’s day job to a slightly more refined songwriting style that clearly holds Iron Maiden dear but never quite descends into tribute band territory.
Edgy, urgent rockers like Silver Bullets are the order of the day, the band using the energy and bravado of the first three Maiden albums to create a sound that’s familiar and comforting but which always manages to stay on the right side of hackneyed. Frank J. Noras and Peter Müller work well as a guitar team whilst vocalist Andreas von Lipinski doesn’t waste his voice waging a losing war trying to sound like Bruce but takes the best parts of the Air Raid Siren’s technique and puts them to work for the benefit of all the songs here.
Boltendahl’s production helps the band head towards the early/mid eighties sonically, keeping things raw enough for real aficiondos but putting enough spit and polish into the grooves for modern ears, with the upshot being an album that should find a welcoming reception wherever it’s heard. Great stuff!
Finally this time around we find ourselves in the company of Greek one-man outfit Powerstorm!
That one man is Kostas Falieros, and he’s bringing out the band’s new album, Act II, a mere twelve years after Act I was released. That’s a long time between drinks, and as I haven’t heard the first installment I can’t comment on whether much progress has been made; however I will say that Act II is well worth an earful for fans of dramatic, classy power metal.
Tracks like Burning Eyes absolutely crackle with urgency, and Falieros orchestrates the whole thing so well you’d have no idea this wasn’t a ‘real’ band if I hadn’t already told you. The arrangements are sharp and well executed, and Falieros is clearly incredibly talented, possessing a more than serviceable voice to go along with a nice line in melodic, catchy guitar work.
If you love trad metal there’s nothing here that won’t appeal, and an awful lot that you’l really enjoy, with standout track Lost in particular ticking all the right metal boxes. Falieros is holding a listening party to welcome the new album into the world on October 10 – you can snare yourself an invite by heading over to the Powerstorm Bandcamp page and clicking RSVP. Tell him Ferrum sent you! But most importantly enjoy and help encourage the artist so that we don’t have to wait over a decade for the next act! –
That’s it for this episode – thanks as ever for your support and we’ll see you all again next time!