Power Metal

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Power Metal Bands:
  1. Blind Guardian Buy: CDs || DVDs
  2. Dragonforce Buy: CDs
  3. Edguy Buy: CDs || DVDs
  4. Gamma Ray Buy: CDs || DVDs
  5. Helloween Buy: CDs || DVDs
  6. Iced Earth Buy: CDs || DVDs
  7. Running Wild Buy: CDs
  8. Stratovarius Buy: CDs || DVDs
  9. (NEW!) Tarja Turunen Buy: CDs || DVDs
  10. Wintersun Buy: CDs
Power Metal description

Power metal is a style of heavy metal music with the aim of evoking an "epic" feel, combining characteristics of traditional metal with thrash metal or speed metal, often within symphonic context. There is dispute about the term, which may refer to two different, but related styles: one pioneered and largely practiced in North America, and another based in Germany, Italy and Scandinavia. In contemporary usage, "power metal" describes music influenced by or derived from the European variant, with the exception of American bands associated with both power metal and thrash metal, Iced Earth and Kamelot.

Musical characteristics

Power metal is today associated with an epic sound tempered by characteristics of speed metal, power metal's musical forerunner. Power metal's lyrics uniquely tend to not relate to "the real world" - history, personal experience, social commentary. Instead, common sources of power metal lyrics are religion, mythology, science fiction and fantasy, especially high fantasy. Power metal lyrics are associated with being "upbeat" or "optimistic," although not all bands adopt such a lyrical style.

Power metal is highly focused on the vocalist, with "clean" vocals being much more prevalent than the growling vocals often associated with death metal and black metal. Following in the tradition of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford and other heavy metal vocalists, power metal vocals are often in a high register. The majority of the genre's vocalists sing in the tenor range, capable of hitting very high notes. Former Iced Earth frontman Matt Barlow and Sabaton frontman Joakim Broden are exceptions; they sing in either baritone or bass range, though in certain songs like Creator Failure, Barlow hits very high notes reminiscent of Rob Halford. Power metal vocalists Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian and Matt Smith of Theocracy record multi-layered vocals reminiscent of Queen, creating a choral effect. Few power metal vocalists double as instrumentalists, but the setup is not unheard of.

Power metal guitarists and bassists generally play rapid streams of notes, but change chords comparatively slowly, with a harmonic tempo of once per measure or slower. Fast and demanding guitar solos, however, are almost guaranteed.

A number of power metal drummers generally play with two bass drums for added speed, utilizing them to play a constant stream of sixteenth notes (semiquavers) with snare drum accents on the beat. This style is fairly common in power metal as in other heavy metal subgenres, though it is by no means universal.

Power metal bands often incorporate keyboards into their musical arrangements, though their usage varies from subtle accents to a full-blown melody line. The Italian band Rhapsody of Fire has also been known to record with more symphonic elements, and as such, they utilize a full orchestra to fill the role a keyboard plays in other power metal bands.

This style is very popular in Europe, Japan, and some countries of South America (including Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile), and has a slow popularity in North America, notably in the province of Quebec, Canada, where it has a very strong fan base. The popularity of power metal has been largely increased by the British band DragonForce.

Types of power metal

In the mid-1980s, European bands such as Helloween (Germany) and Europe (Sweden) put even more attention to the melodic development of the songs. Although Europe later branched out to hard rock, their early albums were important for the development of power metal and are regularly cited by new power metal bands as an influence. Helloween mixed fast speed metal riffs with melodic ones and added Iron Maiden-like powerful vocals, further cleaning the sound. Their albums Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1 (1987) and Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 (1988) are generally regarded as a milestone of this genre. Subsequently, European-style "happy metal" has spread across the continent (particularly to Finland) and worldwide, though it is comparatively unpopular in the United States, United Kingdom and other English speaking countries. Recently many power metal bands, such as Edguy, Iron Savior and DragonForce, have abandoned the "happy-metal" sound of their predecessors, and have adopted a more epic sound combined with power metal. Bands such as Blind Guardian have combined their classic power metal sound with an orchestral background as Heavenly, Dragonland, Rhapsody of Fire, or Angra have done.

American power metal

American power metal, like European power metal, is influenced by Queen, Rainbow (also see Dio), Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Savatage, and Queensrÿche. Iced Earth, Nevermore and Symphony X are considered descendants of this style, but others claim that the movement has ended, swallowed by better known styles such as thrash and European power metal. In the 80's bands such as Lizzy Borden and Savage Grace on the one hand, and Sanctuary, Crimson Glory, Liege Lord and Jag Panzer on the other represented the U.S. power metal. Others consider the genre in America on the rise again, with fledging American power metal bands in places such as New York (home to genre pioneers Manowar and Virgin Steele) or New Jersey (with Symphony X). Kamelot has recently emerged as a forerunner in the genre with the release of their albums Epica and The Black Halo. However, it should be noted that musically, Kamelot resembles European power metal more closely. Following Kamelot, the Nebraska-based power metal band Cellador was signed in August of 2005 to Metal Blade Records, signaling a return of the style by a homegrown band to a noted record label in America, although their sound also resembles that of European power metal. A large festival known as ProgPower occurs once a year in several countries including the United Kingdom and United States, and is a large draw for many of the genre's fans.

Epic metal

Epic metal is a type of power metal. The denomination Epic Metal was created for the first releases by the band Manilla Road in the late Seventies and the first Eighties. Initially Manilla Road's Epic Metal can be described as a classic heavy metal with '70s Classic Rock influences, which would later evolve in the true Epic Metal's eclecticism. And even if with a superficial listening the genre may seem very similar to classic heavy metal, it can instead integrate several influences: it can be quickened with Thrash Metal rhytmical patterns, slowed down with Doom Metal tones, stay close to NWOBHM's stylistic features or "return to the basics" with '70s influences.

Along with Manilla Road, most of the father-bands of the genre would soon estabilish themselves as the bigger names in the newly born Epic scene: bands such as Omen, early Manowar, Virgin Steele, Warlord and Cirith Ungol. These developed a classic Epic Metal style while in Europe, more precisely in Sweden, Leif Edling's Candlemass started to insert in their Doom Metal several Epic influences, which would later evolve in the publishing of their debut album "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus".

Many more bands (which would later remain in the underground, or disband and maybe reunite) appeared on the mondial scene, which aren't less important for the history of the genre than the ones before-mentioned. These include Brocas Helm, Overlorde, Slauter Xstroyes, Medieval Steel, Attika and Steel Assassin in the U.S.A., Witchkiller in Canada, Heavy Load in Sweden, Adramelch and Dark Quarterer in Italy, Elixir in England and Ostrogoth in Belgium.

The publishing of the seminal albums to completely understand the genre happened mostly in the Eighties. First of all, the three Manilla Road masterpieces must be mentioned: "Crystal Logic", "Open the Gates" and "The Deluge", published respectively in 1983, 1985 and 1986 . Other seminal albums are "Into Battle" by Brocas Helm (1984), "Noble Savage" by Virgin Steele, "...And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun" by Warlord, "Battle Hymns" and "Into Glory Ride" by Manowar (respectively 1982 e 1983), "Winter Kill" by Slauter Xstroyes (1985), "King of the Dead" by Cirith Ungol (1984) and finally "Battle Cry" by Omen (1984).

With the arrival of the 90s came the foundation of the band The Lord Weird Slough Feg (afterwards renamed only Slough Feg), which would unite to the "big names" of the genre in Epic Metal's olympus. The publishing (in 1991) of the album Paradise Lost by the band Cirith Ungol must also be mentioned since it is, according to most of their fans, the band's masterpiece.

At the end of the 90s, many historical bands which disbanded in the previous decade (or even in the 80s) returned on the scene: Brocas Helm reunited and published a brand new album ("Defender of the Crown", in 2004); Overlorde published the full-length "Return of the Snow Giant" after a 17-years pause and returned to live activity; Warlord reunited (with Joacim Cans from the band Hammerfall on vocals) in 2002 and published a brand new album, "Rising Out of the Ashes". Along with these reunions, the Epic Metal scene was struck by a new wave of bands, this time mostly from Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece: someone even risked to create the term "New Wave of Mediterranean Epic Metal". Bands in this new wave include Battleroar and Raging Storm from Greece, Wotan, Jotenheim, Battle Ram and Doomsword from Italy and Ironsword from Portugal.

Epic Metal lyrics are a very important part of the genre, and have caused the wrong attribution to the Epic scene of bands that don't absolutely have any musical epic element (some examples may be Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire and Gamma Ray, which fit much more the Power Metal scene).

Principal subjects of Epic Metal's lyrics are battles, war, honour and the courage of the warrior. It is also very likely to find fantasy-themed lyrics. Lyrics about the exaltation of one's forefathers can also be found, even if these fit more the Viking Metal scene (Bathory, Falkenbach, Doomsword, Vintersorg). Lyrically, it is reasonable to consider Viking metal a cross between Epic metal and Folk metal, as both share characteristics of war - usually fantasy-themed.

Obviously it is possible to find any other subject: some examples may be apocalypse (Manilla Road's "Dreams of Eschaton"), sex (Omen's "Be My Wench" and Brocas Helm's "Skullfucker"), love (Slauter Xstroyes' "Black Rose and Thorns") or emotions (Manilla Road's "Feeling Free Again").

Some of the more notable epic metal bands are Adramelch, Attika, Bathory (albums from "Blood Fire Death" until "Twilight of the Gods", "Blood On Ice", "Nordland I" and "Nordland II"), * Battleroar, Battle Ram, Brocas Helm, Cirith Ungol, Dark Quarterer, Doomsword (see Viking metal), DragonForce, Elixir, Falkenbach (see Viking metal), Heavy Load, Jotenheim, Manilla Road, Medieval Steel, Omen, Ostrogoth, Overlorde, Raging Storm, Slauter Xstroyes, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Virgin Steele, Warlord, and Witchkiller.

Symphonic power metal

Symphonic power metal refers to power metal bands that make extensive usage of keyboards, or instruments normally found in classical music similar to symphonic metal. These additional elements are often used as key elements of the music when compared to normal power metal, contributing not only an extra layer to the music, but a greater variety of sound.

Sometimes symphonic power metal is considered to be both symphonic metal and power metal, due to some debate about the usage of the term "symphonic power metal" by fans. For example, Nightwish features more symphonic metal elements, while Sonata Arctica features more power metal elements.

Modern power metal

Although some people declare power metal and metal which is more true to the roots of bands such as Iron Maiden as dying, there are still bands which continue playing this genre of music.

Although playing the same style as other power metal bands, these have originated in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. They keep the same style of music, and also keep a melodic vocal style, rather than the screaming type that is often used to day.

Some more modern bands which continue to play this music are Angra, Firewind, DragonForce, Sonata Arctica, Power Quest, Termoil , 3 Inches of Blood , etc.

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4 Comments

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What no "Kamelot"?

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Andre said...

does anyone know a band who look like vikings and their name starts with, i believe, amar.... something

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Metal(z) Master said...

Yes, is called Amon Amarth. Check their videos here:
http://video.metalz.info/tag/amon-amarth/

 
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