Good day all,
What is power metal? It is a question that has plagued generations, from the first metal settlers up to today. The reason for this question is simple and I made reference to this in the review I did for Striker’s new album Armed to the Teeth, there seems to be two different styles of power metal. First you have the power metal that utilizes the signature sounds of the synthisizer, fiddles, lutes and flutes, and many other orchestral aspects to their music. This would be bands like Kamelot, Rhapsody, Sabaton, and Elvenking. Manowar is also sometimes added to the list of bands in this type of power metal but I am not sure if they exactly fit. Sure they utilize the same basic imagery of power metal but Manowar’s main modus operandi is being as loud as possible and making the music that achieves that end. I don’t think other power metal bands are doing the same.
The other type of power metal is the power metal like Striker, Wolf, Riot, Accept, amongst others that make literally “powerful” music and they fit just outside of the other genres of heavy metal. They are not quite hair metal, and they are not quite thrash metal but they skate a fine line between them. When I listen to these bands I recognize them because in my head I say that they are “power metal” but I say this in a voice like Randy the Macho Man Savage (POWER METAL, teeth clenched, biceps taught, and fist in the air…you know what I am talking about) and it is the “power” of the songs that make me feel this way and what makes them what they are.
One of the issues I have with metal now is that there are so many different genres. When I was young and first getting into metal there was just one genre, heavy metal. Hair metal, thrash, death, black, where all under the same umbrella: metal. We didn’t really care to break them all down as we knew when we listened to the music what we liked. If you liked hair metal, which I do, it was ok to also like thrash etc… Now it seems like there has to be an excuse to like anything and if you cross over into an uncool genre you will be mocked by others. Personally I don’t care, I like what I like and I am too old to worry about what other people think, I am who I am and listen to what I want, it just happens to be metal.
Going back to the power metal issue, who owns this genre or moniker? Is it the symphonic leaning bands named above or is it the hard-driving metal of bands like Striker? I like to think it is the latter. Not that I was a world changer back in my youth but that is what I considered a lot of the bands that I couldn’t fit into the hair and thrash labels of my youth. Bands like Banshee, Accept, Manowar, Killer Dwarves and many more where just on the cusp of hair and thrash but not enough one way or another to categorize them in either. So that is where I fall in on this question, I think power metal should belong to the bands that achieve that power with their guitars and drums and not the addition of a symphony and orchestra.
To clarify I do like some of the bands that are the more symphonically driven, but I think there should be a new category for them much like we have folk metal, and melodic death metal (every time I hear, say or write melodic death metal it makes me laugh, don’t know why, just does). Power metal to me is just what Manowar sings about ad nauseum, it is about the songs that when you listen to them loud they almost rip your head off. They are the songs that instantly get your head moving and fist in the air and possibly even the air guitar comes out. These songs are so power metal that at the right volume could blast out the windows of your room or car. You know power metal because it is just that; powerful! Plus they are not singing about dragons, elves, imps, fairies, and magical lands. They are singing about metal!
As I said before as far as I am concerned there are way too many genres to begin with and apparently there are more crawling their way out of the sewers. I just saw a reference to “dub metal” in an article the other day and I have no idea what that is, but I have a feeling Johnathan Davis is responsible and he is barely metal to begin with. I mean do we really need another genre? Regardless and if it even matters I will from here in be referring to power metal as metal that is powerful! Please join me in this crusade! I hope that clears things up for everyone.
Until later, Peace!