Tag Archives: power metal

“Masterpieces” by Hammerfall

Artist: Hammerfall
Title: “Masterpieces”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 7/22/2008
Genre: Power Metal/Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

Lately I have been having these dreams where I am walking alone in some dark and foreboding part of town when suddenly I am surrounded by cover albums that chase me down until I run into a dead end where I am overtaken and throttled by their seemingly endless numbers. Ok, so perhaps I am exaggerating just a little bit here, but one has to admit that the amount of these types of releases that have been released over the past two years is uncanny. We’ve seen them coming from bands as different in Rock’s musical genre as Poison and Ministry, Queensryche and Def Leppard, Tesla and now even Hatebreed has jumped on board. With this in mind, I now present to you “Masterpieces”, the latest in a batch of cover tunes albums by the ever almighty Hammerfall. In Hammerfalls defense, at least most of these tracks are numbers that the band had recorded over the years and included on either their own releases of the special “tribute to” artist A, B or C as opposed to them sitting down in the studio and deciding to breeze through some classics from the past as their new album. The other great thing about the Hammerfall covers release is the fact that it once again calls to mind some of the often unsung heroes of Metal’s past such as Warlord, Stormwitch and even Chastain for that matter. These were important bands of the time and as the years went by far too many of them had come to be forgotten in the minds of the Metal public. Yes, the Old School fans always hold the banner high but this is a way for the next generation of fan to be reminded of their impact. It’s great to realize that a band like Hammerfall found influence in them, and even bands like Loudness and Riot and together placed all of these ideas into the musical memory banks as they formed their own magic for the continuation of the genre.
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“MKII” by Masterplan

Artist: Masterplan
Title: “MKII”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 3/20/2007
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

Oddly enough I had never listened to the Melodic Power Metal band Masterplan before this album even though I was well aware of the group that Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch had founded back in 2002 after being fired from the legendary Helloween. More resultant of it being a matter of time to absorb every band out there against any form of slight I was well aware of how popular they had become and meant to sink my teeth into them one way or another. Sadly by the time I got to it drummer Kusch had moved on and formed Beautiful Sin while singer Jorn Lande had departed citing musical “differences”, the all too common phrase we hear from bands around the world from time to time. My own exploration into their Power Metal glory would begin with two new members and ones I have enjoyed listening to in the past with other groups. The first was singer Mike DeMeo who many remember from his work with Riot but who also was commendable as a Bluesy-Hard Rocker with The Lizards (a band that featured Bobby Rondinelli) and madman behind the kit – Mr. Mike Terrana. Terrana has done his percussive damage in bands like Yngwie and Rage and can also be heard on over a dozen more notable artists as well. The question would be could the pair fit in and offer up a seamless transition for the band’s fan base and I am happy to report this as a yes. With no offense to Lande, I thought that DeMeo was a perfect fit for the group and with his joining forces we can all now enjoy new melodic Metal adventures as they are forged.
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“Steel Meets Steel – Ten Years Of Glory” by Hammerfall

Artist: HammerFall
Title: “Steel Meets Steel – Ten Years Of Glory”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 10/23/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Journey with me now as we walk with torches in hand through the corridors of Metal’s caverns and hidden passages in the castle that HammerFall built. Their fortress stands high on the brink of the abyss at the end of the rainbow where its secrets are safely guarded by the templar’s of steel who are all blood bound to protect the legacy of kings. With hearts of fire this crimson thunder shall be a flame kept burning until the threshold is crossed and leads to a hero’s return. For ten years now the mighty HammerFall has been bringing us tales of Knights and Kings, Forgotten Lands and epic battles all for the sake of honor and glory and of course the purity of Heavy Metal music. Now you might be thinking that this sounds quite a bit like the kind of stuff that Manowar has been doing for decades and while I’ve liked that stuff myself at times, I have to admit that in recent years that I have found HammerFall to be more of a refreshing difference when it came to the Heroic Metal genre. I think the larger appeal in how HammerFall does their thing is based on how they focus on the epic nature more in their storytelling during the song rather than by executing long and sometimes unending forays all for the sake of “majesty”. Too many epics can get a little boring if you ask me and by keeping most of their songs at standard length HammerFall is able to kick your ass and leave you wanting some more. With seven chapters written in the bands book of Metal lore they now proudly present “Steel Meets Steel: Ten Years Of Glory”, a thirty song retrospective anthology that gives the world their best and brightest material and it’s a perfect way for all of their existing believers to reflect back on the bands accomplishments for the causes of Metal. Across the years we have seen the band change in the way of members on a few occasions and these musicians all make an appearance across the tracks on these two discs. As 2007 draws to a close we find the lineup set as Joacim Cans (vocals), Oscar Donjak (guitar), Stefan Elmgren (guitar), Fredrik Larsson (bass) and Anders Johansson (drums). Historically speaking all members save Johansson has been in the band since they began recording. Larsson however would leave in 1997 only to be replaced by Magnus Rosen, who he would in turn replace in 2007 when the bassist decided to move on. Larsson kept himself busy for a couple of these years by serving in Arch Enemy while Chris Amott was on his musical sabbatical.
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EdGuy @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/16/2007)

EdGuy is a lot of fun in concert and this gig was considered a co-headlining appearance with Into Eternity. The show brought along Echoes Of Eternity and Light This City as well and all four bands piqued our interest greatly so we got inside early enough to be able to document it properly. For more information and photos of all the groups just scroll past the logo below.

Logo - EdGuy

Artist: EdGuy
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Into Eternity, Light This City, Echoes Of Eternity
Date: 9/16/2007
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

You know that you are always in for a good time at a concert when it is an event that finds Tobias Sammet and his compatriots in the band Edguy at the center of attention. For over fifteen years they have been dishing out some of the most fun that you could legally have at a Power Metal show and their track record has yet to fail in this regard. Tonight’s event at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill would be the third time that they had appeared at the venue but it would only be their second headlining appearance. Their last trip found them as direct support for Germany’s and Nuclear Blast Records label mates Hammerfall. The guys would be continuing to support their latest release “Rocket Ride” and bring with them the might of Century Media’s Into Eternity along with Light This City and Echoes Of Eternity. It was sure to be one of those nights that you regret the next morning and here is how it happened in case you missed it.
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“Keeper of the Seven Keys – The Legacy World Tour 2005-2006” (DVD) by Helloween

Artist: Helloween
Title: “Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy – World Tour 05/06 Live In Sao Paulo”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 2/20/2007
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

Once you bypass the rather deceiving title of “Live In Sao Paolo” and realize that you are actually getting a film from three continents, the viewer gets a rousing live concert from the one and only Helloween. It captures the band during the tour that supported their most recent studio album “Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy”. While it is true that we have seen the band with numerous lineup changes over the years the viewer of this DVD will find the band is still sounding fresh, exciting and true masters of the Power Metal genre – a musical style that the original lineup of the group actually helped to launch so many years ago. If you heard the studio album for which the tour comes from you will remember that it found the legendary group returning to a purer form of the genre as opposed to experimentation and changing the style around. As you can see the concert set list is loaded with their classics numbers such as “I Want Out” and “Future World”, and while Michael Kiske will always remain a favorite among the bands original fan base there is no knocking Andy Deris for his killer performance across all the material in this film. Given the historic nature of many of the older Helloween tunes and their being regarded as classic anthems for Metal I am happy to report that Mr. Deris does really well on them and blasts through them without any difficulty. Since the new album was the focus of their tour we see that the band touches upon “TKOTSK3: The Legacy” and of the songs represented from this album, “The King For A 1000 Years” is perhaps one of the best. The DVD opens with this number and it is a blazing number that literally will bring the viewer into the mix as far as audience participation goes. It is during shows like these at countries such as Brazil that have me complimenting the people in the audience because these folks really appreciate their Metal. It seems as thought the more videos that I see shot from this location the stronger this belief is reinforced in my heart. People around the world need to treat their Metal with as much enthusiasm and energy as this region.
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