Welcome to this month’s Crusade of Power! We’ve got a lot to get through this month so I’ll keep the babble to a minimum; suffice to say we’ve got a lot of very good heavy metal to draw your attention to this month! enjoy!
Finland’s Everlore released their debut single last month, entitled Lords of the Sky, and very nice it is too. Powerful, direct riffage on the title track is complemented (of course) by pounding, double-kick barrages and a nice melodic chorus that hopefully shows where the band will be going with subsequent releases. B-Side Journeyman is more considered, building slowly from an atmospheric acoustic intro into a stomping piece of tradtitional metal that if anything is more successful than the A-Side! Guitarists Juuso Virnes and Samu Pettersson know their way around a fretboard too, making the future look bright for Everlore if this short-but-sweet two tracker is anything to go by.
Staying in Scandinavia but moving our attention to Sweden, our second band of Crusaders this month are Cryonic Temple; Veterans of the scene – they are often credited alongside Sabaton as being progenitors of the Swedish power metal movement, CT have a new album – Into the Glorious Battle – out later this month on Italian label Scarlet Records. Despite being reasonably ‘standard’ as far as Euro power metal goes, they do have a point of difference in the excellent vocals of Mattias L. which have a pleasing grittiness to them absent in the vocals of many singers in this genre. Into the Glorious Battle is the band’s fifth full-length release in their twenty year plus history (but their first in nine years), and is sure to re-establish the band on the power metal map!
US metal veterans Power Theory have just released a new five track EP – Something Old, Something New, Something Fucking Live! – in advance of a rumoured fourth full-length release, and absolutely splendid it is too!
Featuring one new track, two old and two live recorded on the band’s 2015 tour, this EP is an absolute blast and a must have for fans both new and old alike New track Brace For Impact is a near-faultless reading of the US power metal genre, whilst their remake of the title track from 2012’s Axe to Grind album is pure thrash/power nirvana in the vein of Metal Church – Marvellous stuff!
In fact there’s not a dull moment on this EP, which makes it our release of the month! Hail!
A little more progressive in sound but no less deserving of a place among the Crusaders are Australia’s Damnations Day, who a couple of years ago came from nowhere to wow audiences across Europe when they supported Wolf Hoffmann and co on their tour in support of Accept‘s Blind Rage album; They’ve just released a spellbinding second album, A World Awakens, that is staggeringly impressive. Utilising all the strands of prog/power metal known to science they’ve put together an absorbing piece of work that really will reward repeated listening, each new session revealing new levels and nuances you won’t have been aware of before. It’s like one of Arjen Lucassen’s metal operas but performed by just three men! A World Awakens is well worth a listen. Actually no it’s worth more than that – I demand you go out and buy it immediately!
Italians Athlantis offer a more stripped-down assault on the senses than Damnations Day, but there’s still plenty to get your teeth into on their latest album, M.W.N.D. Opening track Madness is Rising offers an anthemic introduction to the album, and showcases the strident vocal style of Alessio Calandriello, who is a real powerhouse belter-out of tunes in the old school style of vocalists such as Uriah Heep’s David Byron. In fact, there’s a real whiff of the old school throughout the album, despite the power metal tropes evident on every song, giving the songs a timeless quality that should see them appealing to more than just the usual dedicated rivetheads and earth rats usually attracted to this style of music. The drum sound is a bit cheap, but that apart Athlantis offer a lot of enjoyment on this new record.
Ruins of Elysium
If you’re a bit fed up with the run-of-the-mill power/symphonic metal that gets churned out by the big metal labels you might care to tip your ear towards Brazilian outfit Ruins of Elysium; Featuring trained operatic tenor Drake Chrisdenson, the band tackle social issues head on in a manner your don’t generally encounter within this genre of music, and if sometimes Chrisdenson’s vocals do grate a little in the context of the music – he does sound a little too stiff at times – there’s certainly a lot of interest going on elsewhere within their new album Seeds of Chaos and Serenity to warrant further investigation.
Easier on the ear (and, probably, the eye) are Greece’s Bare Infinity, led by the honeyed vocals of Ida Elena DeRazza; Here we have a star in the making, surely! DeRazza has a voice easily on a par with the giants of female-fronted symphonic metal, coming across like a delicious mix of Sharon den Adel and Floor Jansen, but of course a voice is just a voice, and if there are no tunes for it to sing then it might as well be mute. On The Butterfly Raiser, Bare Infinity’s album released at the start of March, there are tunes aplenty. From strident pomp metal like opener Race of Destiny to more fragile celtic-tinged whimsicality like Artemis, the band has all bases covered, making The Butterfly Raiser an absolutely essential purchase for fans of the genre. The new Nightwish? Quite possibly…
That’s it for another month, Crusaders – the Crusade of Power will ride again in May!
Hail and Kill