Dexter Ward – III Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Metal (Traditional)
CountryGreece
Runtime45:58
Release Date13 March 2020
Record LabelNo Remorse

Greek heavy metal force Dexter Ward have returned after four years with a third album of classic anthems and colossal riffage. This epic, gritty onslaught of medieval glory easily stands among the mightiest of axe-wielding metal knights. Within are eight tracks forged of metal worship and mighty tales.

Overall, III treads closely to the root Dexter Ward sound, kind of a combination of bands like Visigoth and Iron Maiden, with a touch of Running Wild. Along the same lines, the sound stays true to classic metal through the use of memorable riffs and a fair deal of facemelting. The vocals, while nothing to scoff at, are more dialed down than the usual belting of modern metal bands, instead taking a more Manowar (or to a lesser extent, Dio) approach to things.

For me, the highlight of III is the guitarwork. I could go into detail or pick songs (maybe ‘The Dragon of the Mist’ is on the upper end?) but I’d just end up saying the same shit over and over so I’ll just leave it and say the guitars are fucking killer, inside and out. The classic-inspired anthems of the choruses also take a stand as a high point, and the drums are far busier than in your usual classic metal band.

But, the real reason III kicks so much ass is its variety. The songs are all dynamic, with sick solo sections in some and chugging grooves in others. Fitting in with the whole sword-and-sorcery theme, a lot of the album is based around up-tempo gallops and 6/8, but there’s a good mix of musical feels, so playing the record front to back is no problem.

Fans of Greek power metal and classics like Iron Maiden and the aforementioned bands should definitely give III a spin (and the rest of Dexter Ward’s stuff). It’s one of the stronger albums in the genre I’ve heard in the past months, and I’m finding it hard to get sick of.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Power Metal – Silver Talon Announce Debut Album For Fall

Heavy metal warriors Silver Talon took the torch in 2017 from the remnants of the traditional metal band Spellcaster. Their brand of metal is a classic-minded blend of speed, power, thrash and progressive metal, and is more over-the-top than its precursor.

The band have confirmed the title for their upcoming full-length album as Decadence and Decay, which is set for release this Fall.

Guitarist Bryce VanHoosen on the upcoming album:

The songs are more complicated, more progressive, more aggressive, and there’s more guitar solos and crazier vocal harmonies [than Spellcaster].

Silver Talon released an EP, Becoming a Demon, in 2018. It was highly acclaimed by critics, landing them shows with the likes of Evergrey, Warbringer, Enforcer, Exmortus, Unleash The Archers, Striker, The Absence, Powerglove, Savage Master, Vital Remains and Hatchet.

Follow Silver Talon on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Dark Forest – Oak, Ash, & Thorn Review

Score9/10
GenreEpic Heavy Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime52:45
Release Date24 April 2020
Record LabelCruz del Sur

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is the fifth offering of medieval power metal from England’s Dark Forest. These veteran warriors have lost none of their lustre with time and, even though they’ve been around nearly twenty years, this is one of their best albums to date.

As far as the overall sound goes, you can expect epic metal with aspects of Skyclad, Iron Maiden, and a tiny bit of classic Rhapsody thrown in. The mixing is a bit more lo-fi, which is perfect for creating that nostalgic, traditional feel. On a sidenote, Oak, Ash, & Thorn plays like the opposite of albums from Grendel’s Syster; where Grendel’s Syster plays a slow, steady, doomy epic metal, Dark Forest drives on with a questing spirit that’s worthy of any power metal band.

Needless to say, this album is killer. I can’t even pick favourite songs, because each one offers something completely different. Whether it’s in the gallop of ‘The Midnight Folk’, the dynamism of the eleven-minute title track, or the bombast of the instrumental finisher, ‘Heart of the Rose’, the vocals are strong, the drums are expressive, and the guitarwork is incredible.

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is excellent from start to finish. There’re plenty of highs, lows, and details (be it fills, countermelodies, or harmonies) so you can expect to get a hell of a lot out of it with consecutive listens. Showing nothing but endless variety and skill, Dark Forest continue to prove they’re worthy of knighthood.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: Grave Digger Announce ‘Fields Of Blood’

After 40 years of ferocity, German heavy metal pioneers Grave Digger are soon to unleash their twentieth album.

Fields of Blood is the third and final installment of the band’s epic Highland story through Scottish history and promises driving riffs and epic choruses of traditional heavy metal.

Frontman Chris Boltendahl on the album:
“We did it again and put on the kilts… as we always have been fascinated by Scotland and its history. For a long time, we considered when the right time would be to return to the Highlands and delve into their legends and myths. Our 40th band anniversary seems to be the right occasion for this and so we take you on a trip for the third time… put on the kilts and pull out your swords and axes, follows us to Stirling and Culloden and experience Scottish history, up close, authentic and emotional. As William Wallace / Braveheart said: Yes, they may take our lives. But they never take away our freedom!”

01. The Clansman’s Journey
02. All for the Kingdom
03. Lions of the Sea
04. Freedom
05. The Heart of Scotland
06. Thousand Tears
07. Union of the Crown
08. My Final Fight
09. Gathering of the Clans
10. Barbarian
11. Fields of Blood
12. Requiem for the Fallen

Fields of Blood will be released on 29 May via Napalm Records. Keep your eyes open for the upcoming singles!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: New Single From Canadian True Metallers Traveler

Calgary-based heavy metal firebrands Traveler are a month out from releasing their sophomore album, Termination Shock.

They’ve dropped another rifftastic single, ‘STK’, which continues to hold the bar high for the upcoming album.

Termination Shock is set to be released on 24 April under Gates of Hell Records. It’s only been a year since the band’s debut, so a similar freshness is sure to accompany this effort!

Follow Traveler on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Throne Of Iron – Adventure One Review

Score6/10
GenreTraditional Heavy Metal
CountryUSA (Indiana)
Runtime42:28
Release Date21 February 2020
Record LabelNo Remorse

If you’re looking for new, cleanish-yet-classic heavy metal, maybe go and listen to the new Ironflame or Wolpakk albums, because you won’t find it here. This debut, forged by Throne of Iron, is no-bullshit traditional metal, through and through. You will find no synths here, nor will you find crisp mastering, orchestrations, or anything outside of 4/4. You will, however, find plenty of classic Ozzy/Sabbath vibes, as well as vocals that sound like they’re being sung from across an empty alleyway, as is characteristic of the style.

At the end of the day, though, most of us find ourselves coming back to this timeless sound, so, even though it’s been done a million fucking times since the 80s, new offerings are usually a welcome sight. Adventure One is pretty simplistic (both musically and production-wise), the riffs are solid, and the vocals aren’t anything special. But isn’t that what gives this kind of music its heart? It’s just a few regular dudes, playing their brand of metal. Besides, the solos are pretty sick, so there’s that.

Beyond all that, though, there isn’t much else to say about this album. Throne of Iron aren’t going to win any awards for being groundbreaking any time soon, but that isn’t really the point here. For what it is, Adventure One is good enough. Most of the album treads closely on the line of being repetitive, but that’s always a risk when you play this old, shoddy, occult-styled metal. Regardless, if you’re a fan of this style, give this record a spin.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Ironflame – Blood Red Victory Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryUSA (Ohio)
Runtime39:47
Release Date7 February 2020
Record LabelDivebomb

US power metal warriors Ironflame have thundered forth with their third album in four years, Blood Red Victory. Within, you will find eight testosterone-fueled metal hymns of epic aggression. The album is grittier than their previous two works, but it retains that same centurion spirit which Ironflame command so easily.

On a side note, I think I’m throwing around the word “them” a bit too much, because Ironflame’s studio lineup is a one-man show. It’s the product of the mutitalented Andrew D’Cagna, who has proven himself to be a true metal man, through-and-through. Personally, I’m not usually a fan of one-man albums because they just seem to be lacking something (Devin Townsend would be a perfect example of this), but Blood Red Victory is such a fucking banger that I don’t even care. As far as I’m considered, D’Cagna is actually just a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude. (Tropic Thunder anyone?)

Anyway, back to the album. This is exactly what I picture when I hear the term “US power metal”. It’s got that classic metal aesthetic combined with modern power metal energy and, well, it’s fucking powerful. There’s a great mix of tracks, from fast drivers to slower, more foreboding tracks like ‘Blood Red Cross’. One of the best things about Blood Red Victory, though, if the fact that you could start with literally any track and get hooked on the album right away. Each song is fucking sick. Simple as that.

And then we get to those fucking guitars. Every track goes from sick riff to sick riff. Seriously. From the first seconds of the opener to the album’s demise, it’s a shitshow of a riffshow. And I barely need to mention how killer the solos are.

On top of the relentless shredding of the guitars, the melodies are simplistic yet memorable, which gives a bit of that Iron Maiden treatment to the songs, where you know full well the isn’t much to the melody yet you’ll happily find yourself wanting to belt them out (in my own not-so-humble opinion, these are the best types of melody). While some of my favourites are in ‘Seekers of the Blade’ and ‘On Ashen Wings’, every song is irresistibly catchy. And, the vocal layering only adds to this.

So, yeah. If you want a lion’s share of traditional metal and power metal all in one, this is as close as you’re gonna get. D’Cagna is a fucking metal genius and I pray to the gods that he won’t be finished any time soon.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Power Metal: Powerwolf Announce New Album

Heavy metal priests Powerwolf have are amassing a compilation album of unholy proportions. Best of the Blessed will contain sixteen of the band’s most beloved anthems, as well as fourteen live tracks.

Many of the studio tracks will be revamped versions, which means you can expect the best sound from old Powerwolf material.

CD 1 – Best Of The Blessed Tracklisting:
1. We Drink Your Blood (New Version 2020)
2. Army of the Night
3. Demons Are a Girl‘s Best Friend
4. Werewolves of Armenia (New Version 2020)
5. Saturday Satan (New Version 2020)
6. Amen & Attack
7. Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone
8. Resurrection by Erection (New Version 2020)
9. Sanctified with Dynamite (New Version 2020)
10. Kreuzfeuer
11. Armata Strigoi
12. Kiss of the Cobra King (New Version 2019)
13. Killers with the Cross 
14. Sacred & Wild
15. In Blood We Trust (New Version 2020)
16. Let There Be Night

CD 2 – The Live Sacrament (Wolfsnächte 2018):
1. Fire & Forgive
2. Incense & Iron
3. Amen & Attack
4. Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend
5. Killers with the Cross
6. Armata Strigoi
7. Blessed & Possessed
8. Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone
9. Resurrection by Erection
10. Stossgebet
11. All We Need Is Blood
12. We Drink Your Blood
13. Werewolves of Armenia
14. Lupus Die

Earbook & LP Box ( The Live Bonus Sacrament ):
1. Sanctified with Dynamite
2. Army Of The Night
3. Coleus Sanctus
4. Let There Be Night

The first redone track from the album, ‘Kiss of the Cobra King’, has already been released!

Best of the Blessed will be released on 5 June 2020 via Napalm Records!

Follow Powerwolf on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga Review

Score10/10
GenrePower Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime55:06
Release Date10 January 2020
Record LabelAFM Records

Brothers of Metal are one of power metal’s most promising up-and-comers. The charismatic Norsemen achieved instant fame with their 2017 debut, Prophecy of Ragnarok, which was a catchy, epic, bass-cranked extravaganza. It was true warrior music for the true warrior (or, you know, us wannabe warriors). Obviously, this album was easily one of my favourites of the year, and while most of its songs follow a fairly simple structure, the band more than made up for it with their relentless viking energy, beefy riffage, and unique vocal approach.

So, it should come as no surprise that their sophomore album, Emblas Saga, is my first perfect score of 2020. It takes everything that Prophecy of Ragnarok did well, crams it into more dynamic, advanced arrangements, and injects obscene amounts of steroids into the mix. There’re also more orchestral elements thrown in for good measure. If Prophecy of Ragnarok got your blood flowing, Emblas Saga will make your veins burst.

Its biggest difference from its predecessor is that the folk influences are way more prominent here. Enough so that I would personally call it folk power metal, like I would call Elvenking or Wind Rose, but the band doesn’t, so whatever. Anyway, the instrumentation and melodies delve further into folk influence, enriching a sound that was already full.

The album begins with a short introductory track before the real album commences in ‘Powersnake’, kicking the album off with a fucking banger. Immediately after, the atmosphere quickly gets dark as it enters ‘Hel’, and the feel consistently changes throughout the entire rest of the album. Within Emblas Saga‘s hour-long runtime there are a happy songs, epic songs, dark songs, colossal songs, and a couple ballads, so you can be sure you’ll be satisfied by the time it ends.

Among the anthemic choruses and thundering guitars, I have a few favourites to pick. First and foremost, the contrast of the throaty warcries and soft female vocals have an incredible effect. They both play different roles and add an extra dimension to every song. As far as songs go, ‘Theft of the Hammer’ tops it for me; there aren’t a lot of songs that deliver this kind of sheer, pump-up intensity, and that shit is right up my alley. The epic, ‘Emblas Saga’, is a close second, and packs a hell of a lot into its seven minutes. It’s expressive, jarring, and is also an excellent way of remembering some of your Norse mythology genealogy.

2020 has just started and it’s already off with a fucking bang. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emblas Saga is still my favourite album of the year by December because it’s going to take an impossibly-great album to dethrone this one. Brothers of Metal have fought their way to the top, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere any time soon.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Top 25 Metal Albums Of 2019

Future generations will look back on 2019 as the Year of Power Metal. With very few exceptions, every major power metal band released new material this year, most of which was nothing short of excellent.

However, power metal wasn’t the only dominating force this year. Most of the big prog, heavy, and folk players also released albums, as well as bands that I don’t give a shit about like Slipknot, TOOL, and pretty well everything on the extreme metal side of things.

Anyway, the following features twenty five of the best “melodic” metal albums of the year! The competition was steep; of the 380+ albums I listened to this year, almost seventy of them were serious contenders for this list.

Also, you might notice that, despite a few placements in my monthly Top Tens and my scoring in general, some albums listed here are higher or lower than they “should” be. The main reason here is that, surprise surprise, opinions can change with time, and so can music.

Regardless, you can be damn certain that the following 25 metal albums are the best to come out of the monster than was 2019!

25. Elvenking – Reader of the Runes – Divination

Elvenking’s tenth album, Reader of the Runes – Divination, kicks all sort of ass, pagan-style. Fans will be pleased that Divination still retains the core Elvenking sound: a primarily-pop/punk vocal style, folk melodies, proggy song structure, and a power metal energy. Conversely, though, the album is as much a breath of fresh air as it is an Elvenking album, as it takes the band in two directions that they haven’t really explored in depth before; the road of Divination is generally darker and heavier than their previous material, and it also brings a whole concept that tells of a journey into a mystical world of runes and magic. It’s not the band’s best, but it’s really fucking good.

Full Review

24. HammerFall – Dominion

Since their founding in 1993, heavy metal templars HammerFall have fought to continue the legacy of 80s heavy metal, smithing more than ten full-length records and establishing themselves as Sweden’s and Europe’s premier heavy metal masters. Their latest album, Dominion, is an epic powerhouse that easily contends with their early material in terms of quality and heart.

Full Review

23. Rhodium – Sea of the Dead

Sea of the Dead is the latest offering of Greek power metal (think Firewind, Diviner, stuff like that). Featuring an almost all-new lineup, the album drives forth with exceptional guitarwork and even more impressive vocals, which sit somewhere between the usual, coarse Greek power vocals and higher Euro power norm. This is one hell of a sophomore album and is more than strong enough to earn spot on this list.

Full Review

22. Chaos Magic – Furyborn

Caterina Nix’s second installment of Chaos Magic is, quite simply, amazing. Written alongside Chilean musician Nasson, Furyborn is a far cry from its predecessor and exchanges its typical symphonic metal sound for a more original, albeit poppy, take on melodic metal. It’s full of sick guitars, killer melodies, and boundless attitude. This “pop” metal album blows all other pop metal albums out of the water.

Full Review

21. Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost

Frozen Crown have solidified their sound in a heavier, grittier, more diverse power metal offering than their debut. This female fronted (or should I say, “female fueled,” due to vocalist Jade Etro as well as eighteen-year-old southpaw shredder Talia Bellazecca) powerhouse has created an exceptionally refined record that blasts forth with elements from harsh death metal, traditional heavy metal, and everything in between. Pair that with elaborate guitarwork and numerous vocal styles and you have yourself one ferocious album!

Full Review

20. Finsterforst – Zerfall

Furious German folkers Finsterforst are back with a fifth backbreaking album, complete with lengthy arrangements, chanted melodies, and intense orchestrations. Zerfall is a very unique take on folk metal, combining keyboards, orchestras, and heavy guitars with elements of death metal and folk melodies (sorta like Wintersun but heavier). The choruses have a slight ring of Orden Ogan to them that amplifies already-huge atmospheres, so it’s safe to say that you’re in for a poundingly heavy ride with this one.

19. Amulet – The Inevitable War

Blasting forth with a fresh lineup, Amulet’s sophomore record is an exceptional work of classic metal. The Inevitable War takes the band to new heights and is the best classic metal album of the year.

There’s really nothing to dislike. The mixing is flawless, the band is exceptionally talented, and the music simply bleeds energy. Each anthemic chorus hits with a similar impact as classic Manowar, and the galloping rhythm section chugs away with the likeness of Iron Maiden. Get your fix of the classics with this very new release.

Full Review

18. Control the Storm – Forevermore

This album is incredible: female-fronted power metal at its finest. The overall atmosphere is bright and energetic, and it’s fueled by symphonic components, folk elements, and rich vocal harmonies. Plus, the arrangements are dynamic and exceptionally written. If you haven’t heard of them before, this album is all you need to get excited about Control the Storm.

Full Review

17. Manegarm – Fornaldarsagor

In their best album in probably a decade, Manegarm have something grand in Fornaldarsagor. While primarily a coarser folk metal work, there’s the usual inclusion of impending black metal elements, as well as some female and clean male vocals. While the formula of Fornaldarsagor is typical of Manegarm, far more care has been taken regarding the songwriting that the past three albums.

16. ShadowStrike – Legends of Human Spirit

Legends of Human Spirit is probably the strongest power metal debut of the entire year. It’s insanely fast, vibrant, true power metal to the core. It’s really as simple as that. ShadowStrike, hailing from New York, have busted out of the gate with a DragonForce-influenced sound that manages to steer clear of being too derivative, delivering a unique, shredtastic album.

Part of the driving force of this individuality is the band’s tasteful use of symphonic elements (I would never consider this album “symphonic metal”, though) as well as sophisticated song arrangements. With nothing short of excellent on the record, ShadowStrike have quickly become one of my favourite power metal bands, ever.

Full Review

15. Noveria – Aequilibrium

Italian proggers Noveria don’t fuck around. As soon as it starts, Aequilibrium explodes into high-intensity with a death metal atmosphere and epic choirs. Through the rest of the album, we encounter sick riff after sick riff (not the least of which can be found in ‘Awakening’ and ‘Broken’) in all their beefy, syncopated glory, as well as beautiful interludes and pulled back sections. Another aspect that makes Aequilibrium stand out is the fact that, while there’s a dark tone to most of the album, it’s never depressing and it’s always energetic.

Full Review

14. Scimitar – Shadows of Man

Canadian pagan metal warriors Scimitar have been around for just over a decade. Early on in their career, they released their debut album, Black Waters, but the band took a bit of a break soon after. Now, nine years later, the band have finally unleashed their sophomore album. Shadows of Man is gritty, furious, and packs way more variety into it than I would have ever expected. With a sound that’s in the realm of Ensiferum and Vanir (although far less refined, production-wise), Scimitar’s combination of death, black, and folk elements will be welcome with any fan of the dark side of folk metal.

(Yeah, I know this is, like, the third melodeath/folk metal album on a “melodic metal” list. Deal with it. This is MY house.)

Full Review

13. Brymir – Wings of Fire

Brymir is extreme metal for the power metal fan and Wings of Fire is no exception. If it weren’t for the rough vocals, it’d be epic symphonic power metal through-and-through.No, I shouldn’t say that. It’s way too epic to be just that. It’s the kind of epic that’ll make you believe that you can crush mountains and fly through the sky as the bringer of life or death, sole judge of the universe, with all of the power of the gods in your hands, under your hands, through your hands, about your hands (but not over your hands). It’s that. Fucking. Epic.

Full Review

12. Sabaton – The Great War

This year saw the release of Sabaton’s ninth record: The Great War. Despite a lengthy career of two decades, the Swedish metal heroes are showing no signs of slowing down, and they prove that they’re here to stay by delivering their biggest, boldest, most bombastic blast of metal in years. Other than slamming the epic pedal down to the fucking floor, The Great War separates itself from Sabaton’s prior works by hanging a darker atmosphere over the music, as well as putting more emphasis on classical scales, especially in its guitar solos.

Full Review

11. Majestica – Above the Sky

After six years of hiatus, power metal cheeseballs Majestica (formerly ReinXeed) are back with their seventh album, Above the Sky. Aside from a drastic name change, Majestica’s sound has grown more mature, despite their lyrical content becoming more juvenile than ever. Of course, these are perfect qualities to have in a power metal album: bullshit, nonsensical lyrics over technically impressive music.

Full Review

10. Galneryus – Into the Purgatory

The finest neoclassical power metal band east of the Silk Road have unleashed yet another album of facemelting ferocity. Into the Purgatory is the twelfth album to come from the mighty Galneryus and, despite such a long career, it lives up to the band’s glory, and then some. A slice of Galneryus’ neoclassical edge has been swapped for a bit more of a progressive influence this time around so, while you can still expect a melodic work of shred insanity, it’s different enough from their other albums to keep things feeling new.

Full Review

09. Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura

Formed by ex-Temperance members Chiara Tricarico and Giulio Capone 2018, Moonlight Haze is a symphonic metal project that combines the talents of musicians from Elvenking, Sound Storm, and Epica to create a melodic, emotionally dynamic, technically-pleasing work of female fronted metal that stands high above your typical Delain or Nightwish ripoff. Complete with countless folk and world music elements, De Rerum Natura is as unique as a symphonic debut could be.

Full Review

08. Wind Rose – Wintersaga

Dwarf metallers Wind Rose are back with a rugged sound in their fourth album, Wintersaga. As usual, the Tolkien themes are strong, as is evident in half of the song titles. Additionally, the album is split into two sections; the first contains the fun, catchy party tunes, and the second, which encompasses the final three songs, features a more power prog approach that hearkens to the band’s earlier works. However, the core sound of Wind Rose has shifted as a whole from their progressive power metal roots to settle upon a more bombastic, anthemic sound.

Full Review

07. Twilight Force – Dawn of the Dragonstar

As you can expect from Twilight Force, Dawn of the Dragonstar is full of unlimited, overblown storybook energy. With the exception of maybe two moments, the album is consistently happy and heroic from the very first seconds of the galloping ‘Dawn of the Dragonstar’ into its final piano notes. This hyper-melodic, smile-demanding work isn’t just sheen and shine, though; there’s an absolutely staggering degree of talent and proficiency to behold in every track.

Full Review

06. NorthTale – Welcome to Paradise

NorthTale was born of vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force), drummer Patrick Johansson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteem) and guitar maestro Bill Hudson with the dream of bringing back the glory of late 90s/early 00s power metal. Whether you’re in the mood for that golden-age power metal, anthemic stadium metal, or even a vegan happy meal, Welcome to Paradise delivers all that and more, complete with facemelting solos, exciting diversity, and catchy melodies. This is one of the year’s best power metal albums and is as technically impressive as it is fun.

Full Review

05. Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Eluveitie have hit their peak in their eighth record, Ategnatos. It’s fantastically fluid for such a diverse folk metal album, and, while it retains the trademark Eluveitie sound, it’s a distinct experience from their other releases.

The songs range from huge melodeath blast beats with rough vocals to softer, mournful tracks like ‘Eclipse’. There’s even a bouncy tune in ‘Ambiramus’ that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks (but don’t worry, you’ll welcome it). The broad instrumentation of this Swiss septet includes traditional instruments and shamelessly skilled drums, as well as three different vocal styles, my favourite of which are the versatile pipes of Fabienne Erni. The control she displays is insane and honestly, without her, the album wouldn’t have made it as one of my top picks.

Full Review

04. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination

Not many bands can pull off an exceptional atmospheric album so, when one does, I always get excited. One of the few (and latest) this year to accomplish such a feat are Boston’s Wilderun with their third album, Veil of Imagination. The album combines elements of death, symphonic, progressive, and folk metal to make a sound that bands like Wintersun have been trying so desperately to embody. It expertly conjures deep feelings of wonder, determination, aggression, hate, fear, reflection, and everything in between. With rich orchestrations supporting it, Veil of Imagination is almost impossible colourful.

Full Review

03. Gloryhammer – Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex

Epic, cheesy, heroic. These are words I often use when describing my favourite albums, but make no mistake; I only use these words if I mean it. So, if I were to say that Gloryhammer’s third and latest album, Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex, was one of the most ridiculously epic tales of heroism that I’ve ever heard from a power metal album, you can be damn sure it’s true.

Between the powerful cries of Angus McFife and the cosmic colours created by the rest of band, there’s no room to criticize the skill of these galactic warriors. Additionally, while the core sound is true, pure power metal (with a healthy dose of symphonic backing tracks), the songwriting is pleasingly dynamic. So, bust out your most enchanted headphones and get a load of this ultra-melodic cheesefest and see for yourself why this just might be the greatest power metal album of the year (or of all fucking time).

Full Review

02. Dream Theater – Distance over Time

Dream Theater are legendary. There’s no question about it. These guys are some of the best musicians metal has to offer, and they’ve given rise to more than a few prog masterpieces. While it’s true that their material has lost a bit of steam over the last decade, Distance over Time recaptures all of their former velocity as their best album since Black Clouds and Silver Linings. There’s a perfect mix of mathematical intricacies, solid melodies, and headbangable grooves, and, despite having a sound that’s closer to their earlier works, this is the freshest they’ve sounded in years.

Full Review

01. Beast in Black – From Hell with Love

Insane solos? Check. The best vocal performance in modern heavy metal? Check. Synthetic fanfares that demand the construction of a training montage? Check. Pack it up, every other band ever. Beast in Black have achieved the pinnacle of music. It’s all downhill from here. Go home. Show’s over. Nothing else will ever excite you as much as this album will.

Just kidding. Well, kind of. From Hell with Love is what every 80s revival album strives to be: catchy, fun, and technically impressive. Between the limitless voice of Yannis Papadopoulos and the songwriting gold of Anton Kabanen, this album holds nothing back. It’s intense. It’s fucking doused in cheese. It’s the pump up record to end all pump up records.

What a year! January is just around the corner, and that means that PowerThorn’s One Year Anniversary is close, too. It was reassuring to watch the viewership increase from a few tens a day all the way up to a few hundred. Between successful weeks of six reviews and desolate weeks of one, it’s been fun so far! Whether this is your first visit or you’re a regular reader, I deeply thank you for your support.

Look forward to more power metal content in 2020!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/