Due to an absence of time (that sounds like a power metal album name), there has been a slight lack of reviews over the last few days. We’ll sort this omission by reviewing the debut release by the “heroic fantasy power metal” band, Gloryhammer.
Being called Gloryhammer, you would expect a slight power metal leaning, and you would be right. Reading the track titles alone is a power metal word cliché fest, there is Unicorn, Quest, Glory, Magic, Dragon, Princess, Hail, Epic, Rage, Furious, Thunder and Wizards. Wonderfully enough, four of those words are in one title with the gloriously titled The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder. This is one of those moments where you know you already love an album without listening to a single track yet. Unless of course you hate power metal, but then you hate happiness so fuck you.
Hitting play, we are transported to the faraway magical kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Or if you’re us, a couple of hours down the road to Dundee. A short intro track that promises that Dundee will fall leads us into the first track The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee. There’s nothing unglorious (Microsoft Word refuses to accept that as a real word) about this. With lyrics involving destiny, heroes, fireballs and epic battles, it’s like all of power metal got together to spit this out. In a live setting the chorus is definitely one to inspire a sing along with clenched fists of victory held aloft. This song appeared online a few years ago but vanished shortly after, perhaps when it was decided to turn Gloryhammer into a proper project, it’s good to have it back.
A song introducing a character with the most Scottish name ever, under Katie Morag (there’s a reference about ten people will get) follows. Angus McFife, the hero of the tale is at war with the evil wizard Zargothrax. This story plays out over the course of the album with tales of dragons, magic hammers and more.
Not content with having the most Scottish name ever, an instrumental questioning what lies Beneath Cowdenbeath precedes the most power metal song name ever. The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder is the ten minute finale (unless you count the bonus track about Wizards in the Cairngorms) to the story. It has everything you would expect, slow sweeping soft sections to big powerful choruses.
Between these two points though, songs like Magic Dragon, Amulet of Justice and Hail to Crail (this one really sounds like it could have been on an Alestorm album) deserve a mention. There’s not really a weak link on the album so it’s hard to pick stand out songs, but these are some of my favourites anyway.
As you may or may not know, it is Alestorm frontman (or mastermind as the sticker on the cover put) Christopher Bowes, that put together this questforce. Those expecting to hear his pirate yarrs will be left wanting, as he has taken to the keyboards with this release. Instead, fronting the group is Thomas Winkler from the Scottish realm of Switzerland. Winklers vocals are powerful and has a more than decent range. This is what is missing from a lot of power metal vocals these days, power! There is no thin falsetto or odd forced deepness here, just powerful lyrics about evil wizards and glorious heroes.
Honestly, if you’re a fan of power metal, there’s very little not to enjoy. It’s a straight up good time with catchy choruses, “gang” vocals, powerful vocals, powerful riffs, thundering drums, ridiculous but brilliant lyrics and of course, unicorns. Do yourself a favour and buy this if you haven’t done so yet, then come and see them on their upcoming tour.