Power Metal Masters Through the Years

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nightsblood
Posts: 2352

Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#1 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:31 pm

I tend to think of each decade as dominated by one outstanding power metal band.

80s: Helloween, who quickly fell into disrepair in the 90s

90s: Blind Guardian, who had an incredible string of 6 albums from ’88 to ’98, but quickly became subpar in the 00s

00s: Kamelot, who released four killer albums in a row between 1999-2005, but limped out of the decade with the disappointing 'Ghost Opera' and haven't been quite the same since.

10s: Atlantean Kodex. Not power metal in the traditional
sense (they get tagged with some ridiculous 'epic
teutonic powered-out doom-laden true metal' categorical
nonsense), but their first two albums, from 2010 and 2013,
are objects of glory and adoration. While the following
statement may sound very cheesy, upon first hearing the
albums I felt like I had been waiting to hear them ever
since I bought my first Overkill and Iron Maiden cassettes
back in the late 80s. That's how much the band resonates
with me. Naysayers be damned, I count myself among the
disciples of the iron crown!

A choice for the 10s is actually hard to make, as my intake of metal overall has dropped off considerably since 2012 due to more work, less disposable income, a lot less disposable time, and the inevitable cynicism of age. My only reaction to many things I hear nowadays is, "they sound just like (insert name of another band from 20 years ago)" or "that's not bad, but it's not as good as (insert name of album from 20 years ago)". Bleh,
getting old can kinda suck.

But hey, Nocturnal Rites just released their first album in 10 years, and that gives the little kid in me a rush, hoping that Johnny Lindqvist and co. deliver a barn-burner in the proud tradition of 'In a Time of Blood and Fire', 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination', 'The Sacred Talisman' and 'Afterlife'. It probably won't be THAT good, but I will listen and I will hope. You never know what killer music is waiting to be heard on the next album you
come across, whether in the dusty bins at a music fair or on a Bandcamp url. On to the next adventure! :-)
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"
-Becky

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ION BRITTON
Posts: 6644

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#2 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:59 pm

Impossible to mention just one band, especially for the 80s. Power metal was born and shaped those years and you just can't give credit to one single band for it. Dozens of bands had/have mastered the power metal sound, not all of them became famous or influential for others though. A random example, for me both Oliver Magnum and Attika have put out perfect power metal albums which are in the same league with Keeper of the 7 keys, if not higher. Everyone with a basic involvement in heavy metal knows who Helloween are, but if you ask average Joe about an album like When Heroes Fall chances are he would have never ever heard of it. So in that context, 10 bands that come immediately to mind are:

JAG PANZER (Ample destruction would be the definition of power metal if I had to choose only one album)
OMEN
CRIMSON GLORY
HELSTAR
LIEGE LORD
CLOVEN HOOF
APOLLO RA
ATTIKA
OLIVER MAGNUM
RIOT (Thundersteel/PoP era)
Good against Evil, Evil sure to win

"It really didn't matter if they liked it or not, i was going to give it to them straight down their throats" -John Stewart

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Khnud
Posts: 2247

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#3 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:03 pm

90's belong to STRATOVARIUS. But, most non-US "power metal" is filled with cheese. To me, power metal is JAG PANZER, STORMTROOPER, etc. And I'll take "Armies Of The Night" over "Hunting High And Low" any day of the week.
Laugh at you in ecstasy, wallow in the gore.
Blast you with their twisted minds, behold the Dogs Of War.

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ION BRITTON
Posts: 6644

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#4 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:25 pm

Khnud wrote:And I'll take "Armies Of The Night" over "Hunting High And Low" any day of the week.


I doubt there's anyone in this forum who doesn't. Twilight Time and Dreamspace are great albums though!
Good against Evil, Evil sure to win



"It really didn't matter if they liked it or not, i was going to give it to them straight down their throats" -John Stewart

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whiteravenmetal
Posts: 365
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Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#5 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:31 am

ION BRITTON wrote:JAG PANZER (Ample destruction would be the definition of power metal if I had to choose only one album)


This must be engraved in stone

wicked keeper
Posts: 234

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#6 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:26 pm

whiteravenmetal wrote:engraved in stone



Great album...

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nightsblood
Posts: 2352

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#7 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:21 pm

Sure,, there are tons of great power metal bands out there. It's just that, for me, there always seems to be one band who is my clear favorite for awhile, but then their later albums don't impress me as much and a different band takes their place. But hell yeah, the ones you listed are great:

OLIVER MAGNUM- very cool album! Love it!
JAG PANZER- I've lost count of how many copies of 'Ample Destruction' I own [Edit: I just checked, it's 10, and there's a different version still on my want list!); definitely one of the best metal albums of that decade!
RIOT- 'Thundersteel' is essential, also probably one of the Top 5 metal albums of the 80s!

So why didn't I list those three bands? Well, it is really hard to record ONE top-notch album, much less record several of them in a row. That's what make the bands I listed stand out to me; they didn't release just one great album, like OLIVER MAGNUM and JAG PANZER, and their best albums weren't split up over time with some more average records in-between, like RIOT and RUNNING WILD. HELLOWEEN, BG, and KAMELOT put out killer album after killer album after killer album after killer album.

And yes, this is all subjective; I'm sure some folks don't like 'Keeper of the Seven Keys'. That's ok.
Speaking of subjective.....

(fake rage to follow)

If ever DaN were to re-program the Corro- and let a band other than hmmrfll get the "my gay lover" script, it should be STRATOVARIUS. Arrrrg, I do not like that band! And I tried, i really, really tried! After SENTINEL STEEL gushed over them in a review from around '94/95 I ordered 'Dreamspace'. I taped-traded to get 'Fourth Dimension'. I lucked out and found 'Episode' in the used bin. I tape-traded for 'Visions'. I actually found a CD copy of 'Destiny' in a mom & pop record store in a shopping mall in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Do you know what else is in Mount Airy? A statue of Andy Griffith! Mount Airy is the town that Mayberry was modeled after for 'The Andy Griffith Show'. HOW DID I FIND A COPY OF A STRATOVARIUS ALBUM THERE?!? It was like finding a pagan love altar decorated with Rob Zombie's chest hair in the Vatican's linen closet- it just cannot exist in that location.... but it did! And every bloody time I got my mitts on one of their albums I was somewhat disappointed. One of the main flaws was pointed out in that early SENTINEL STEEL review; they tended to cut/paste way too much stuff from 'classic' metal albums. ENTINEL STEELS boldly claimed that 'Reign of Terror' was actually a BETTER version of 'Sirens' than what SAVATAGE had recorded (Denis, bless your heart, but you got a wee bit too excited in that write up. I know times were tough for US power metal fans in the early-mid 90s- I was there- but methinks you sold Timo and co. a tad too hard). And the production was always sort of thin and airy. And they always felt rushed, probably because they cranked out 7 albums in a 9-year span from 1992-2000. I'll always wonder whether they would have sounded better if they'd taken more time to work on each release instead of working so quickly. But alas, we ended up with far too many foo-foo pop-power metal albums that just didn't work for me. Sure, some songs here and there were alright, but they were lost in a sea of hurried, saccharine mediocrity. To this day I can't see a dolphin on an album cover without involuntarily shuddering- it's why I had that Death-Kill laser beam-shooting dolphin avatar on this site for so many years! DOLPHINS ARE NOT METAL! And we haven't even gotten to the obnoxious, over-inflated ego of Timo Tolkki, who managed to distinguish himself as lead wanker even among the never-ending sea of pompous, limp-wristed power metal guitar hero wankers out there. The day I finally realized that this band was never, ever going to get any better and I got rid of my STRATOVARIUS CDs was a minor holiday, still celebrated by children in certain regions of the country (but the post office no longer takes the day off) by dressing up in chains and leather and throwing crappy SPV power metal releases into bonfires while singing 'Victim of Fate'!

So you may enjoy your STRATOVARIUS albums ladies and gentlemen, I will be over in the corner asserting my manhood by blasting 'Tales from the Twilight World' and slowly dissecting a toy stuffed dolphin with an orange peeler.... they say catharsis is good for the soul.
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"

-Becky

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ION BRITTON
Posts: 6644

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#8 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:10 pm

Perhaps then a more appropriate title to this thread would be 'consistent power metal masters'

On the other hand, since we're talking about certain bands who had relatively big discographies, with the exception of Riot, all others have been mediocre or bad more time than they've been great. Does that change their impact on the scene? Probably not. However you can't help but lose some of the respect you had for them with the garbage they release from time to time. I mean, how necessary were atrocious albums like Resilient or Shadowmaker for Rolf??? Keeper of the seven keys part 3? Give me a fucking break. I checked recently a track from the last Blind Guardian album and it was truly one of the worst things I've heard in years. I kept saying to myself is this the same band that released Tales From The Twilight World and Imaginations From The Other Side?
So,sometimes I do prefer other acts that put out limited yet only good stuff and then, for whatever reason, sunk into oblivion. Running Wild , Helloween, Blind Guardian etc were all essential to the formation of the metal sound, but for me the puzzle will never be complete without the Oliver Magnums, Attikas and Majestic Rytes of this world.
Good against Evil, Evil sure to win



"It really didn't matter if they liked it or not, i was going to give it to them straight down their throats" -John Stewart

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doomedplanet
Posts: 1984

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#9 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:54 am

I have to throw into the arena POWERLORD "The Awakening" as a record that must not be left out of this thread. My greatest regret is that I have not heard all their unreleased material.

I am pleased to hear about the public expression of your love for Atlantean Kodex Alan.If my memory is correct I bought their 1st mini-cd from a guy off the Miskatonic forum. When I receive orders from individuals I always try to mail back after listening to the stuff I receive. I believe the seller asked how I liked the AK cd. Or I commented on the forum about getting the cd, I Forget exactly. Anyway I was messaging with some guy privatly there. I gushed in the appropriate manners about this masterpiece. I did not realise until after said gushing that it was Manuel that was the direct recipient of said praise. He thanked me after telling me that this is his band. He was happy to say the least.
"The type of people who buy their albums won't be offended. They like boobs and bare bottoms" - Joanne Latham.

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nightsblood
Posts: 2352

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#10 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:18 pm

Rob- funny story! They've definitely established themselves as my favorite band that's currently active.

Omen- Good points all.
Yes, some bands (probably most) eventually fall way off in terms of quality. Helloween were never the same after Keepers 2. Blind Guardian lost the plot after 'Nightfall in Middle Earth'. And I agree completely about that last BG album, 'Beyond the Red Mirror' or something like that- total garbage IMO. It was actually the BG album that made me finally decide that no, I do not need to own every BG album, 'cause no way was I putting that on a shelf alongside 'Imaginations from the Other Side' and 'Somewhere Far Beyond'! And the less said about Rolf's later work, the better!

But nevertheless, the bands I mentioned in the first post pulled off the amazing feat of releasing multiple 5-star records in a row over a number of years, and that's something very, very few bands ever do. Tons of bands do one great album, or one killer single/demo/EP, but to put out multiple full-lengths of solid gold material without some duds in between, well you just don't see that too often.

Is a string of killer albums followed by mediocrity better or worse than a band who is consistently good for a longer period but never strings together back-to-back-to-back true, top-notch albums? I don't know. The only band I can think of that might fall in that category is the mighty RIOT, who deservedly sit near the top of my Most Favorite bands list.

Okay, let's do the RIOT breakdown! (but I'm gonna get yelled at):

--Rock City- immortal classic. Only God and Lemmy know how many times I've played this album. Love it to death. Not a bad tune on it. Can play it anywhere, anytime, and instantly be happy as a black metal fan in a makeup store.

--Narita- eh, it's a fine album. But non of the songs completely blow me away. It's good. But that's all.

--FDU- Sorry, but only part of 'Fire Down Under' is top-notch IMO. Yes, 'Swords & Tequila' is magnificent. Yes, the title track is a rip-snorter. Yes, 'Outlaw' may be the best thing ever compressed into grooved vinyl.
Now name another song of that caliber among the other seven.
I'll wait.
The other tracks aren't bad but they aren't anything special) [waits for the yelling to stop....].
this is a classic example of an album that is 'hit heavy'; you have three of the best songs this great band ever recorded..... and the rest is very, very average. But those three tracks cause a lot of people to over-hype this album.
[waits for the yelling to stop again].
Sorry, but three killer songs and 7 average ones doesn't get you on nightsblood list of immortal classic albums, no matter how damned good those three songs are.

Restless Breed- It's taken me a long time to come around and admit that this album is pretty okay overall. I like Rhett's voice, but the material is not the band's finest. I don't mind this album, and it has it's moments, but it's definitely one of their weakest IMO

BiA: This is probably the least well known album in their catalog, and yet I've always really liked it. I think this one delivers on what they were trying to do on Restless Breed but didn't quite get right on that one. Not an immortal classic, but a fine album- definitely one of the lost gems of the period.

Thundersteel- immortal classic. One of the 5 best albums of the decade. 'Nuff said!

PoP- Almost matches 'Thundersteel'! Love it to death.... but it is a step down from TS territory. I know all the sound effects and stuff seemed a bit OTT to many people, but I realy liked the way most of it came together, even on the less power metal/more mainstream-leaning songs.

The DiMeo albums- lumping them together b/c it's getting late, I'm tired, and frankly I really, really like all these albums. The band was very consistent through this period. I don't think there's an immortal classic album in the bunch, but every album was quality stuff for the most part.

Post-DiMeo- I actually like these albums a lot too.

Summary- I think that's 15 albums over 41 years, and the worst things I could say were 'Restless Breed' is maybe a little weak and 'FDU' is over-hyped but still contains several of the best songs ever.
Nobody- not 'Maiden, not 'Priest, not Motorhead- matches that track record of excellence.
"I'm sorry Sam, we had real chemistry. But like a monkey on the sun, our love was too hot to live"

-Becky

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doomedplanet
Posts: 1984

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#11 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:36 am

Riot "Born in America" will always always be my favorite Riot album. I've never met anyone that agrees with me. Simply a stone classic start to finish. Rock City is probably my most played by them these days simply because I played BiA so many times I've taken a break from it. Thundersteel is almost like a completely different sound to me and I love it. PoP I should listen to again, been so long I've sort of forgotten it. After PoP I've only heard one of their albums....
"The type of people who buy their albums won't be offended. They like boobs and bare bottoms" - Joanne Latham.

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bigfootkit
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Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#12 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:39 am

Interesting thoughts about Riot & 'Born In America'.
I didn't remember it that fondly TBH, but it was an e-mail discussion with Alan that persuaded me to give it another listen about 6 months ago & as a result, ended up buying it on CD because it was so much better than i'd recalled.
Sorry Alan, i meant to give you 'mad props' at the time for that solid steer, but i'd forgotten until now, so i'm now doffing my cap to you in this public forum by way of redeeming myself.
Your steel is true sir. :wink:
Since i've become properly (re)aquainted with 'BiA', i think the Riot discography would now make more sense to me if 'Born...' had followed 'Fire...' & 'Restless...' was the not-quite-as-good fifth album.
Maybe those time-travelling discography gremlins were about their nefarious work again?
The 'Live' EP with Rhett singing is a fine listen too, and i say that as someone who doesn't have a great deal of love for live records. I much prefer the versions of the 'RB' songs on it.
Here's where i diverge with received wisdom & popular opinion however, as 'Thundersteel' does very little for me.
Now, maybe if they'd called the band something else at that point i'd have a different view of that record.
Despite all the line-up changes they'd already been through by that point, the break in the band's continuity when they split up initially was the end of the 'real' Riot for me. As a fan, when Mark formed that version of Riot with their subsequent radical change of style it felt like he was cashing in on the name and trading on all the goodwill they'd built up with the earlier line ups.
Yes, of course, i've come to terms with it now. It's an argument for 30 years ago, and i realise that, but i still can't hear 'Thundersteel' without being reminded of the disappointment i felt back then when i didn't get what i was expecting from that album.
To me, it'll always be somewhat 'tainted', (for want of a better word), by my historic disappointment and so i fully admit that i'm unable to be objective about it, even all these years later.
I forgave Riot eventually, and although i'm not nearly as familiar with their latter-day material, even enjoyed some of those later Riot releases. They'll never match up to, or hold the same nostalgic memories for me as their early work, but there are some songs of undeniably high quality on those later records too. As a player & songwriter, Mark Reale was a class act.
Looking over the Riot discography, when you say that, "nobody - not 'Maiden, not 'Priest, not Motorhead - matches that track record of excellence", my heart says that Motorhead absolutely trumps Riot, but that's my heart.
Logically speaking, with emotion put aside, you do make a very strong case for your bold statement, and I'll be interested to see how others respond to it.
I cannot, I shall not, I will not obey.
Avenger wrote : I'm not a copyright office nor a judicial entity.

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ION BRITTON
Posts: 6644

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#13 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:05 pm

While I was never into Restless Breed, I always loved Born In America. You Burn In Me, Wings Of Fire, Where Soldiers Rule, Gunfighter... lots of great tracks on that one for sure. I have to side with nightsblood regarding FDU, only with the addition of Altar Of The King as one of the killer tracks of the album. The rest is just not on the same level.

When it comes to consistent discographies Black Sabbath are probably my first choice and Bathory coming next. There's only one BS album that I don't like at all and that is Technical Ecstasy. The period from 1980 to 1990 is also my favorite one, regardless the numerous change of vocalists they had. Bathory had two bad ones for me, Octagon and Destroyer of Worlds. The rest range from divine to slightly above average, with Hammerheart, Twilight Of The Gods, Blood On Ice and Nordland ! belonging to the pantheon of epic metal and also the ones I have heard the most from them.
Good against Evil, Evil sure to win



"It really didn't matter if they liked it or not, i was going to give it to them straight down their throats" -John Stewart

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Avenger
Posts: 8188

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#14 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:51 pm

Helloween to define an entire sub-genre for a decade?...

Not that I have anything against the band but I much prefer the US brand of Power. The lackluster 90's euro flavor that Helloween ushered in is pretty damn boring and quite frankly I hold the Helloween debut in much higher regard then the following efforts of the 80's even though they are both still very good.

To each their own I guess...

As for one band, I'm not entirely sure that's possible with so many greats. Liege Lord, Vicious Rumors, and Helstar all released consistently top notch material during the 80's.

Regarding the massive hype for Riot, again great band but they weren't Power Metal until "Thundersteel" so they don't really belong in this thread granted the criteria of multiple offerings, otherwise "Hall Of The Mountain King" would come close to crushing everything.

Just my two cents.
bigfootkit wrote:"Your Steel Is Not True"

stormspell wrote:"I hate all my releases. I only listen to Korn and Limp Bizkit, don't you know..."

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ION BRITTON
Posts: 6644

Re: Power Metal Masters Through the Years

Post#15 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:13 pm

nightsblood wrote:00s: Kamelot, who released four killer albums in a row between 1999-2005, but limped out of the decade with the disappointing 'Ghost Opera' and haven't been quite the same since.


Never bothered to check anything else after hearing Siege Perilous which signaled a quite big change of direction from the first two albums, which are among the finest power metal of the 90s. Especially Dominion. Now that I' m thinking of it, I might have heard a few things from Fourth Legacy as well, but I can't remember it being any good. It's a bit of a shame that people generally didn't pay much attention to Kamelot during their early years, that began to happen after Roy Khan entered the band.
Good against Evil, Evil sure to win



"It really didn't matter if they liked it or not, i was going to give it to them straight down their throats" -John Stewart

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