More Power to You!, Vol. 1
A fraction of my hope was restored during the last few weeks of 2014 upon seeing a number of you determined to give power metal more of a chance this year. While it’s true that this new conviction is more than likely a response to the weariness of being repeatedly slain with steel or the ass injury of one constantly being kicked out of the hall with steel-toed boots, it matters little. What does matter is that you’re willing to change. Plus, my father always taught me that if someone disagrees with you, you must first break them into little tiny pieces before you can rebuild them in a manner that suits you.
My intention is for More Power to You! to be a tasteless and poor man’s version of W.’s hit column Bump and Grind (explore his kickass installments here, here, here, and here), only focusing on new-ish, lesser known power metal bands. I’m at an immediate disadvantage for a few obvious reasons:
- I’m not as cool as W.
- He-Man is not as cool as R. Kelly.
- “Power metal totally sucks, dork” / “lightning bolt” / etc.
Still, stick around! I’ll be highlighting new speed metal and traditional heavy metal bands here, too. So you should be able to find something you can dig. Make good on those resolutions to be less of a poser.
Stallion is a pretty good example of a group of lads who were born tragically late, doomed to live out their prime in dark times where being a leather rebel is even lamer than it was in the ’80’s. Guess how much they care? (Hint: they named their band Stallion). Traditional heavy/speed metal is derivative by its very definition, but I’ll be damned if these Germans aren’t deriving from the very best and doing it right. If you could somehow smell music, Rise and Ride would fucking reek of unwashed hair, sweaty leather, and the contraction of myriad STIs – the highest compliment I can give to this sort of throwback band. The riffs rock hard in a this-guy-probably-plays-a-zebra-striped-guitar sort of way, and Pauly’s vocals drip with as much ’80’s sleaze as you’d expect from a dude that goes by Pauly as he powers through metal anthem after delightfully clichéd metal anthem. The entirety of “The Right One” is about how much it sucks when you can’t remember which beer on the table is yours. That should tell you pretty much all you need to know about Stallion. Listen:
Here’s some more speed worship for you cats. With a name like Skull Fist you’re probably expecting this band to play metal for the thinking man. They don’t. On their Metal Archives page, “headbutting” is listed as one of their lyrical themes. But that’s okay. As a dumb person, I can attest to the fact that dumb can be fun. To anyone with a respectable grasp of early metal’s architecture, Chasing the Dream is predictable in every sense. You’ll know where the melodies are going, you’ll know how the songs will progress, and you’ll know when the solos are going to fire in and rip off your face flesh (approximately every 15 ± 3 seconds). That’s half the fun. The other half is that every song is a straight up cooker; breakneck, catchy as hell, and all fighting for their own piece of your brain’s diminutive real estate. Consequently I usually end up falsetto-singing some broken-ass combination of 4-5 different songs while I lather and rinse obsessively. Skull Fist’s quest is to remind the world that shred is not dead, and they have me convinced. Listen:
Yet another manifestation of the recently-spurred resurgence of USPM, Visigoth brings high octane, heavy metal honor to my realm in Salt Lake City, Utah. Pay heed – they’re the most power metal selection of the day; and that makes them the best. Pulling heavy influence from pivotal proto-power acts like Jag Panzer and Omen and coupling their riff aggression with a strong dose of melody is their game, and they’re refreshingly good at it. You’ll be banging your head and pumping your fists during the first listen, and singing along with their high-speed love songs to sword, shield, and sorcery (and motorcycle) by the second. Unless your memory blows ass. Vocalist Jake Rogers is more than capable in his role, somehow managing a rock solid marriage of Piet Sielck’s (Iron Savior) gruff, mid-range bellow and the soaring, 30-ft. wingspan vibrato of Daniel “Ethereal Magnanimus” Heiman (Lost Horizon). This is a very good thing. Rogers’ powerful voice and the band’s water-tight songwriting deliver a one-two punch from an iron fist directly into your facial region. Only it doesn’t bust up your shit. Instead it feels real good. Listen:
From Final Spell (Name your price on Bandcamp).
From The Revenant King (Set for release on January 27th).