Over at Invisible Oranges today, Cosmo Lee is further exploring his distaste for power metal. Personally, I like power metal. It’s cheesy and stupid and ridiculous, but it is also totally awesome. It’s like you’ve got a bunch of dudes sitting around after an epic campaign of AD&D (2nd ruleset, duh) and they’re all talking about how to make the most epic metal ever.
“Well guys, we probably need operatic vocals,” says one.
“And probably powerful sweeping guitars,” says another.
“And the guitars could have solo battles with the synthesizers,” says a third.
“Yeah, that would be rad,” says the first.
“And we probably need a constant barrage of double bass drums,” says yet another.
“And our lyrics should be about elves and unicorns and dragons and shit.”
And thus was Power Metal born into this world. If ever there was a metal genre filled with earnest as hell guys pursuing the impossible dream by making the silliest, unicorn-filled music ever, it is Power Metal.
Here is a selection of some of my favorites of the genre. Let’s start with Rhapsody, perhaps THE awesome, MOST ridiculous Power Metal band of all time. Even better, they’re Italian. This is “Power of the Dragonflame.” Is that not an awesome song title?
Next is Demons & Wizards, probably my first intro to true modern Power Metal. My friend Deegan came over one day and was all, “Dude, do you have Napster?” and I was all, “Over dial up, yeah,” and he was all, “Dude, find a song called ‘Poor Man’s Crusade’ right now,” and I was all, “Ok.” Well, I did and it was AWESOME.
This song, “Fiddler on the Green,” is from the same record. It is, I think my favorite song on the record and has a 3 and a half minute build to insanely powerful power metal magic.
Star One is a one-off side project by Anthony Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon. The record, called “Space Metal,” is a Power Metal concept record based on Science Fiction movies.
Wait. Read that again.
A POWER METAL CONCEPT RECORD BASED ON SCIENCE FICTION MOVIES. What the fucking fuck? That is so awesome. Films include Stargate, Star Wars, and fucking Dune. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that combines dork and awesome more perfectly.
Here’s a fan-made video for “Eye of Ra” from that record.
Dream Evil, who I posted one below this one, is a Swedish Power Metal band I saw for the first time live playing with Carnal Forge, Testament, Immortal, and Rob Halford—a strange line up to be sure. But they totally rock. Here’s “Fire, Battle, Metal!”
Hammerfall is another band doing epic heavy cheese as well as anyone and they totally rock. This is “Renegade.”
With this light survey of Power Metal under our belts, what do we now understand. For me, Power Metal is awesome if you are able to relax and not take yourself too seriously. While I think that there are guys in this scene who live and breathe this shit, I also think there’s a significant contingent of guys who are laughing right along with the fans. Sometimes you can make and enjoy things just because they’re fun. That, more than unicorns and dragons and elves and trolls, is what Power Metal is about for me. I love Pig Destroyer, but my music doesn’t always have to be so serious.