It's Monday noon and I have nothing better to do, so I figured I'd just let anyone reading my blog (see: myself) know of power metal I've heard in 2013 that surprisingly wasn't dogshit.
I know new Helloween and new Stratovarius are out, and they're semi-good actually, but I'd rather let the light shine on lesser known bands. On we go!
10 # Starbreeze - N7
Incredible Mass-Effect space metal from Russia. It does get proggy at times (your typical progressive 20 minute song included) but damn is this oddly soothing and uplifting.
9 # Heavatar - Opus I: All My Kingdoms
Damn this is cheesy all the way from the band name to the choruses. But I'm seriously digging the neoclassical influences and the blatant baroque theme copying these Germans have implemented into their songwriting. If you want to hear Bach's Toccata and Fugue being stripped down by german metal, this is your album.
8 # Derdian - Limbo
These sympho-power metallers have stepped up their game by recruiting a less nasal vocalist and producing a worthwhile blend of cheesy fruity power metal with a serious atmosphere. Double bass galore, but at least they're competent at it. 'Derdian' still sounds retarded though.
7 # Victorius - The Awakening
SPEED POWAH METAAL! These Germans are fast as shit and a tad heavier than most power metal. Choir choruses and overloaded keyboards take a back sitting while aggressive riffing gets the spotlight. The energy flowing through these youngsters is insane, even if it gets kinda repetitive; every song sounds like a trip to a caffeine-fueled guitarist's world.
6 # Vandroya - One
Think Angra, think Ancient Bards, think Dark Moor and Edguy when they could still write a good song. This is just bursting with melody and bouncy guitar riffing. Lead female vocalist is also a far cry from the boring operatic vocals most girls resort to in symphonic albums - which is a large plus. Oh, and best album art I've seen in a long time.
5 # A Hero For The World - A Hero For The World
Metal from Philippines, that's right. It's kicking ass, too. The entire focus is on melodic vocals and things don't really speed up anywhere, but this is one of the catchiest, most infectious albums I've laid ears upon this year. The guy sounds like a Sammet clone, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when they use all these Sammet-inspired choirs to the full possible extent. Melodic metal at it's best.
4 # Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
This is all a giant joke, but a quality joke as it hails from the guys of Alestorm. Cheesy and epic to the bone, this is something I find myself laughing at yet constantly coming back to listen. It's sad really, this album easily tops any latest 'serious epic metal' attempts like Rhapsody and what-not. Despite it being a joke, there's some serious vocal and guitar work going on in here.
3 # Dreamtale - World Changed Forever
When the finnish dudes put something out, it automatically gets a spot in the top three - always. This is another dose of Dreamtale's melodic power drug, coming full-speed at you with double bass, keyboard solos, catchy choruses and all the good things in life. Strangely enough though, as amazing as this is, I still think it could be better.
2 # Nautiluz - Leaving All Behind
I usually look down upon power metal from South America (as it's almost always boring Angra clones or just plain bad), but this album put me back in my place. First off, THEY DON'T SING IN THEIR ***ING LANGUAGE. THANK GOD. Secondly, they own. Seriously, take the very best of DragonForce, Angra, Edguy and Rhapsody (that means 199-something to 2006), throw it in a mix, add some character and you have a blazingly fast, upbeat and refreshing album. That's what Nautiluz's debut is all about.
1 # Balflare - Downpour
The neoclassical japanese power metal to end all other neoclassical japanese albums. Simply put, a friggin' masterpiece. Can easily compete with Galneryus. That is all.
Honorable mentions so far go to Kaledon for stopping being a horribly mundane band and putting out a concise, generic yet catchy album that for once does NOT slip out of your mind like diarrhea 5 minutes after you're done listening. A shout-out to Xentria too, for making me laugh with their Never Gonna Give You Up cover.