This week it is all about the power and the pomp of metal.
Axel Rudi Pell has a new release that is out on CD & DVD called Live on Fire. It features the flamboyant guitar of ARP and well as his able vocalist Johnny Gioeli. There are 13 tracks on here spanning his career played to the high standard that you would expect from ARP and his band. If you are a fan of the man then by all means seek this out. Those curious could do worse than picking this up as it is light on the fluff and puts the music in a very good light.
The Giants of Auld by Cnoc An Tursa is quite the album. Instead of relying on Norse myths, this album has lyrics based on Celtic (Irish) folklore. While the lyrics are delivered at times by deathly vocals, this is more power than extreme metal. The addition of traditional Celtic instruments adds a nice flair to the tracks. Only grumble is that it isn’t in Gaelic.
Finsterforst have released an album called Rastlos which could easily have been the soundtrack for Skyrim, the big PC RPG hit. If you want folk metal that fully grasps the snow covered wastes of Northern Europe in the winter, then this is it. This is a German band that sing in German who are named after Germany’s black forest. The tracks and the album just work on so many levels that it is hard not to enjoy this release.
Gloryhammer are, as you might expect from the name, all about the power and the glory of metal. Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is all about galloping drums and bass twinned with over-the-top vocals and guitar. In short, it is a glorious blast of power metal at its most pure. It will win no converts to the genre but will please its fans. Oh yes, and it is rife with Scottish history, think Braveheart in song. The band grew out of the beer soaked metal of Alestorm.
Serenity have returned with more of their symphonic power metal in the form of War of Ages and it might just top their last effort. This is awesome stuff, with its dueling male and female vocals, catchy choruses, and epic tunes. There is not one duff track on here and at 53 minutes they are well aware you can have too much of a good thing. Everything on this release is in its proper place and proportion. A good early contender for album of the year.
Ethera is the new release from Visions of Atlantis and, while not as consistent as some in the genre, this is a solid release. There might be a touch too much reliance on electronica and keyboards for some and the interplay between male/female vocals could be improved. Some of the female vocals sound a bit flat to me for some reason. This is less of instant album than some others in the genre. It takes a few listens to appreciate it above finding it merely decent.
As always stay safe and rocking out there people.