2018 was a pretty rough year for power metal; out of more than 200 releases (no, I didn’t listen to all of them, but I listened to a lot, and skimmed through a lot more), only a handful really stuck out. Not to worry, however, because the ones that are worth listening to are actually pretty good.
Here’s my list of the seven top power metal albums from last year.
7. Guardians of Time – Tearing Up The World
Norwegian outfit Guardians of Time has released yet another hit in Tearing Up The World. It’s pretty straightforward; it’s full of heavy beats and the solos are fun. There are also two feature tracks, with Abbath and Ripper Owens both lending vocal support to a song apiece.
I’m not particularly crazy about Bernt Fjellestad’s (Susperia) vocals. They aren’t bad by any means, I just can’t seem to warm up to them. However, with a manageable runtime of forty five minutes and the band being steadily proficient, Tearing Up The World earns its place as Number Seven.
6. Dragony – Masters of the Multiverse
Masters of the Multiverse cooks up a healthy serving of synth-driven cheese and catchy backup-rich choruses. The overall atmosphere is happy and uplifting and the songs are dynamic, making for a pleasant listen.
Dragony has released two other albums, both being very similar in sound and feel to Masters of the Multiverse. Compared to others on this list, the album isn’t terribly heavy, but it certainly deserves a listen.
5. Arrayan Path – Archegonoi
The eighty-minute Archegonoi continues Arrayan Path’s theme of mythology but with a war-march sound that is prominent throughout. The choruses are more akin to repetitive chanting, which reinforces the warrior feel.
The album is missing usual drummer Stefan Dittrich, instead featuring session drummer Mark Zonder, who has done work for more than a dozen bands, including Warlord and Fates Warning. His technical ability makes the album all the better, regardless of the change.
There is an apparent upward trend in quality from Arrayan Path’s first album into Archegonoi, despite the fact that 2016, 2017, and 2018 each saw an album release. Hopefully, this trend will continue and the next record will be even better.
4. Frozen Land- Frozen Land
Finnish metallers Frozen Land’s self-titled debut album is unadulterated, true power metal. The album lacks the ever-too-common instrumental intro (thank the gods) and jumps right into a hard, pounding riff.
The melodies are catchy and most of the songs are consistently heavy. An exception would be the ballad ‘I Would’, which is actually quite tasteful and has a lot going on, proving that Frozen Land isn’t just another power metal outfit that can play nothing but fast double-bass beats.
All in all, Frozen Land is a respectable ensemble and their debut has definitely ignited a promising career.
3. Unlucky Morpheus – CHANGE OF GENERATION
Holy Hell, is this album ever impressive. After twelve previous albums, you’d expect Unlucky Morpheus to be a miss at some point, but that’s far from the case. While the songs are primarily TouHou arrangements, they attack with such ear-splitting intensity that the only thing that matters is how hard these guys rock.
The members of Unlucky Morpheus bleed show-stopping ability and each easily earn a place as some of my favourite metal performers. CHANGE OF GENERATION lays down some funky breaks, and, despite every song tempo being allegro at the slowest, there is plenty of variety. The violin adds an especially unique flavour to the music, and Jinya’s guitar solos are simply ridiculous.
The only bad thing about this album is how silly I find the music video posted below.
2. Orion’s Reign – Scores Of War
The second Greek record to make the list, Scores of War, is nothing short of a phenomenal display of power metal. The mixing is near-perfect, the instrumentation produces a massively full sound, and Michael Batistatos’ flying solos will literally melt your face off.
Orion’s Reign has mostly done Christmas and cover songs, which is a shame because their originals are incredible.
There really isn’t a thing I dislike about this album. It’s epic, heavy, and every single bandmember delivers an awe-inspiring performance. Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.
Also, look at that album artwork. That should be more than enough to convince you to listen to it.
1. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
What can I say? Of course Number One had to be Powerwolf. The Sacrament of Sin is their seventh album, and it only solidifies the proof of their being power metal heavyweights.
The lyrical content remains its usual heathen self and every song on the record could easily be on a “Best Of Pump-Up Music Ever” playlist. With a formula that has never failed to bring it worldwide popularity and progressions that sound the same but are probably different in minor ways, The Sacrament of Sin will give you exactly what you expect, plus a little extra.