Grimgotts – Tales Review

Score8/10
GenreSymphonic Power Metal
CountryEngland
Runtime20:04
Release Date1 May 2020
Record LabelIndependent

England’s best adventure metallers have returned from across the sea, bringing with them all the noble majesty of the dragons of old. The mighty Grimgotts have been hard at work to deliver a new EP, having released their sophomore album, Dragons of the Ages, just last year. Entitled Tales, it contains four imaginative tracks that, while sounding a bit more touched-up, stay true to the nautical/storybook/power metal combo of Grimgotts sound.

Like their previous works, each of Tales‘ four tracks rings with bombastic optimism, cheese, and keyboard insanity (ok, maybe not insanity, but they’re soooo fucking good). Additionally, the guitars, drums, and keyboards all keep things exciting, rarely settling into a single lick for too long, and frontman Andy Barton continues to lead the way with his deliberate mid-range pipes. One of the first differences I noticed about these songs, though, is the vocal layering in the choruses. On top of that, this album also comes off as more symphonic than Dragons of the Ages did, and the backing tracks sound more refined, but, hey, maybe that’s just me.

(Think THAT’s hot? You should hear their music!)

The most impressive aspect of Tales is its variety. The songs, all close to the five-minute mark, have multiple sections and a there’s good degree of dynamism, especially between songs. As far as specific songs go, it’s tough to pull favourites from such a short tracklist, but ‘The Dawnbringer’ slightly wins it for me. The keyboards are extra cheesy and the guitarwork is a notch above the other songs. But then, the solo section in ‘Fight ’til the End’ is pretty fucking sweet. Honestly, it doesn’t take much for me to be happy with an album; just throw in some flying synth solo cheese and a couple facemelters and we’re good. (Just kidding, it takes more than that (Except not really (?).).)

Anyway, if you were already a fan of Grimgotts, you’ll love Tales. Conversely, if you aren’t a fan of Grimgotts, maybe you should get your ass in gear and check them out, especially if you dig the likes of Atlas Pain, ShadowStrike, Freedom Call, or Power Quest. AND, if you REALLY like Grimgotts, you can look forward to two more EPs by the end of the year. Yeah. How’s THAT for modern music consumerism?

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Grimgotts – Dragons of the Ages Review

Score7.5/10
GenreSymphonic Power Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime48:42
Release Date17 May 2019
Record LabelIndependent

It’s time once again to set sail with the mighty Grimgotts into the world of Vale to witness the war between the creatures of the seas. And, what better way to go on such a quest than to have the cheesiest, feel-good nautical metal by your side!

Honestly, I can’t say which aspect of Dragons of the Ages is more over-the-top. Is it the unified chanting in the choruses? Is it the relentless beating of the rhythm section? Or is it, perhaps, that the synths and fanfares sound like they were recorded from a thirty dollar Casio keyboard? One thing is for sure: these goofs are self-aware to the max and I fucking love it.

I mean, seriously. What the hell is this picture? It looks like one of those Windows 97 screensavers for fuck’s sake. I’m not complaining, I just wanted to point that out.

That isn’t to say there’s no substance to the album, because there definitely is. It’s light-spirited and undoubtedly uplifting with solid musicianship. They even took enough care to bring in guest vocalists for backing parts in a couple of the songs, which adds a bit more depth than if they had just recorded a bunch of backing tracks solely from the band’s Andy Barton. With regard to balancing honest music and a carefree attitude, Grimgotts stikes a perfect balance.

That being said, there is one thing that Dragons of the Ages severely lacks: variety. There isn’t a great deal of difference between the tracks, with the differences typically being limited to a slight lean toward pirate metal or power metal. There are two tracks that stick out, though, with the most obvious being the nine-minute closer: ‘Here Be Dragonlords’. The first section (just after the string intro) is easily the darkest part of the album, before it carries on to another familiar high and pulls back into a quiet piano run to finish it off. ‘War at Dawn’ is another unique track. The combination of a more somber chorus and a bit of rough vocals are enough to separate this one from the rest. There are highs and lows in other tracks, but these parts don’t do enough to deliver much of an impact.

My favourite part of the record has to be the drums. The super thick synth solos are a close second, but Mo Abdelgadir does a phenomenal job at pounding Dragons of the Ages through the skies and across the seas with the power of a dragon’s furiously-beating wings. Aside from laying down plenty of sick grooves (with ‘Turning the Tide’ having the best drum performance on the album), he drops blast beats in a few choruses where you’d least expect it, helping them hit even harder. The vocals and guitars are excellent, but the drumming here is something else.

Grimgott’s second album to date, Dragons of the Ages is by no means a genre-shattering album. Its sound is often similar to the recent Atlas Pain record, Tales of a Pathfinder (although I enjoyed this one much more), and it follows most of the power metal tropes fairly closely. However, Grimgotts have managed to make something original, super fun, and immensely uplifting. Fans of Power Quest, Twilight Force, Alestorm, and Galderia will love this album.

Grimgotts – Ancient Waters

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Grimgotts Confirm New Album Release Date

Epic power metallers Grimgotts have been busy for quite a while now while working on their upcoming album, Dragons of the Ages. They’ve unveiled a couple of singles to satiate their fans, but the time to set sail grows ever closer!

The adventurous concept album has been confirmed to be released on 17 May. It will feature a new lineup, guest vocalists, and the cheesy, hook-heavy magnificence that Grimgotts never fails to radiate.

Grimgotts – Ancient Waters

If you want to stay current with any new developments, go follow Grimgotts on Facebook!

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News This Week (February Week 4)

February was an incredible month. There were tons of quality album releases, which made my Top Ten List very difficult to narrow down. On top of those, a bunch of new singles came out, along with some announcements for upcoming record dates.

We’ll start off with some bits of news before we get into the singles.

(And, if you missed them, click the ‘News’ tab in the top menu and check out the previous February articles.)

Folk metal masters Elvenking announced that their new album will be released some time in September, so, if you’re into them even half as much as I am, that information is both helpful (in the sense that now we have a date to look forward to) and disasterous (because September can’t come fast enough!). However, Equilibrium’s new album has yet to have a number stuck on it.

Also in the group of bands with pending 2019 albums but no release dates are DragonForce, Sabaton, Blazon Stone, and I’ve heard rumors that POSSIBLY Gloryhammer, Sonata Arctica, Hammerfall, and Triosphere will have new material soon.

Female-fronted power metal outfit Seven Kingdoms has begun recording their next record, and has hopes of an early 2020 release.

And, before we get to the singles, there’s one more thing to add. Sabaton History’s fourth weekly episode covers small-but-legendary WWII soldier Audie Murphey, whose story is touched upon in ‘To Hell and Back’ from the album Heroes.

Sabaton History 004 – To Hell and Back

Singles (And One EP)

This Week

Grimgotts – The Last Dragon Warriors

This album just keeps on getting better. ‘The Last Dragon Warriors’ has all of the fantastical, uplifting glory typical of Grimgotts, including stellar guest performances by Hector Clark, Nick Thurtell, and Julia Zelg. The vocals aren’t the only great thing about this track; David Hills’ and Fabio Garau’s the guitar and key solos are just killer. No date has yet been confirmed for the new album.

Manegarm – Sveablotet

‘Sveablotet’ sets the stage for Fornaldsargor (out 26 April) to be as harsh as ever. There isn’t much as far as black metal in this single, which is fine by me, but the viking elements are strong and the chanting chorus gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. There is a fair amount of variety in its five minutes, which is a good indication that the album will be exciting at the very least.

Manegarm – Svaeblotet (Napalm)

Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire

Let me first say that ‘Rise of the Dragon Empire’ is way better than Bloodbounds other new single. It’s more pulled back, but the song actually goes somewhere rather than sticking to the same power beat the entire fucking time(there’s even a bridge!). The guitar solo is pretty good and the chorus is catchy, and, all things considered, I am once again very excited for their album on 20 March.

Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire (AFM)

Battle Beast – Eden

I like Battle Beast’s second single far more than ‘No More Hollywood Endings’. The orchestrations are cool and it’s an upbeat song with a decent guitar solo. That being said, though, I think it’s decent at best, which is truly disappointing from a band which we all know can kick serious ass. Even after losing Anton Kabanen they still managed to punch out Bringer of Pain a couple years ago, which was fucking awesome.

No More Hollywood Endings is set to come out 22 March, and you can catch my review here.

Battle Beast – Eden (Nuclear Blast)

Queensryche – Blood Of The Levant

Queensryche’s The Verdict came out yesterday (1 March), but this single came out last week so I’ll throw it in anyway. It’s a pretty average piece of metal, with nothing really standing out. It’s mid-tempo and the melody is pretty lazy, but the drumbeats are tasteful, so there’s that.

Queensryche – Blood of the Levant (Century Media)

Myrath – No Holding Back

Tunisian proggers Myrath are back with a new single containing their usual Middle Eastern strings parts and grooves, which adds a unique and intriguing flavour. Complete with a feel-good chorus and a tasty guitar solo, ‘No Holding Back’ is but an appetizer to what will likely be a fantastic album come 3 May.

Myrath – No Holding Back (earMUSIC)

Gatekeeper – Grey Maiden EP

Epic heavy metallers hailing from Canada, Gatekeeper, have unleashed another EP after their well recieved debut record last year. The dual guitars are prominent, the vocals are powerful, and the music is (as it should be) epic, but it’s nothing exceptional by any stretch. Nonetheless, if you’re into the old school stuff, especially Iron Maiden, you’ll love these guys.

Gatekeeper – Grey Maiden EP (Cruz del sur Music)

Singles I Missed

As much as I try to stay as up to date as possible, some things certainly fall under my radar. So, in case you missed them too, here are a couple more singles for upcoming albums!

Haeredium – Merchant of Lies

French folkers Haeredium’s ‘Merchant of Lies’ has a sassy piano line in the intro and under the verses that are simply wonderful. There’s nothing astounding about this track (or Haeredium in general), but it’s catchy, fun, and good enough for me. Ascension is set to release on 15 March.

Haeredium – Merchant of Lies (Art Gates)

The Raven Age – The Day The World Stood Still

I’m usually not into groove/borderline-alternative metal, but I really like these guys. Their upcoming album, Conspiracy, is set for release on 8 March. If this single is anything to go by, it’ll be an impressive display of angsty hooks and bittersweet riffs.

The Raven Age – The Day the World Stood Still

Waylander – Autumnal Blaze

I really wish these guys released music more regularly because they’re so fucking good at what they do. The folk instrumentals are rich, the rough vocals are intense, and the rhythm section is seldom boring. Their pagan sound is thoroughly enjoyable and I’m certain that their next album (22 March) will contain as much energy as they can muster.

Waylander – Autumnal Blaze (Listenable)

There were tons of quality album releases this month. Check out the other links at the top for more February metal.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Stay Metal \m/