The Fate Of Power Metal
While I’m not the end-all source of information for all things power metal, I do have my personal opinion on it; it is my favorite genre of music and there will be nothing like it. High-range clean vocals, double-bass fountains, power chords, soloing keyboards and heavily melodic leads with the usual inclusion of full-blown orchestrations could possibly be used to describe all elements used in the genre, just that so much variety could be and is done to spawn an entire catalog of bands. Even before the genre was born people like Gary Moore and bands like Iron Maiden gave the inspiration for it to be created, until bands like Helloween and Stratovarius immortalized the genre. Of course, along with these guys were Sonata Arctica, Hammerfall, Freedom Call and many more that I haven’t even listened to.
But I’m not exactly here to give a history lesson on power metal. I just really do want to point out the fact that while they were great back then, nowadays most of them are struggling to sound as good as they did before. And it’s not their fault really, a lot of things change based on how long you live, how you live your life and how you compose music.
I’ll point out the two people from two bands…whom I realize to be people I also pointed out before in a previous post…so I’m not gonna repeat what I said before about them two. Yes, I am again talking about Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius fame and Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica fame. I used these two guys as an analogy for Lux Aeterna, but now this mention is really ABOUT them and their genre of music this time around. So I said that their voices weren’t as good as they were before. But watching more live videos of them from 2011 make me realize that even though they’re still there, they’re not gonna last forever.
That goes for all the legendary power metal bands. Sure, Stratovarius’ most recent album Elysium is still my best album of 2011. Helloween’s 7 Sinners kicked major ass and is THE best representation of their brand of “dark” power metal since The Dark Ride. Sonata Arctica’s live performances (HAHAHA I am not mentioning The Days Of Grays cause I don’t like it…maybe my opinion will change…someday) are better now with Elias Viljanen filling in Jani Liimatainen’s shoes better and also the fact that they’re willing to downtune songs so that Tony doesn’t have to force the high notes he already can’t reach. Dark Moor’s Ancestral Romance, Heavenly’s Carpe Diem and Freedom Call’s Legend Of The Shadowking are all fine albums that aren’t as great as previous ones but are sure signs that these bands can still make great music.
Now the problem. All these bands are dinosaurs. Or if not, they’re going to become dinosaurs eventually. Or they did something to hasten their progression into becoming part of an extinct civilization. Point being, there is no more new power metal in general that can garner my interest anymore nowadays. They all come from bands I already know, who have already had their glory days and may possibly never have them again. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough, maybe I didn’t mention a single thing about more popular examples like maybe Rhapsody Of Fire, Nightwish and the like, but then again even those have been around for some time already. It’s like, these days, the things I hear just make me go all “this vocalist ain’t Michael Kiske” or “I’ve heard that riff before” or “This COULD’VE sounded so much better” or maybe just “interest lost” which happens the most.
I worry about my favorite genre. There seems to be no more fresh faces. And the ones I hear give the feeling of “been there, done that” for the most part. Can’t there be more innovation? Helloween and their transition into dark power metal? Stratovarius and their neo-classical influence? Sonata Arctica and their poppy but addictive sound and the progressive elements in later years? Rhapsody Of Fire and their forever-bombastic approaches? Freedom Call and their flower-power metal?
I guess I can at least look forward to what the dinosaurs are doing, what with their supergroups and all recently…but so far bands like Symfonia, with the former lead songwriter for Stratovarius’ discography pre-Polaris, Timo Tolkki along with ex-Angra/Shaman vocalist Andre Matos and the former members of Helloween and Sonata Arctica have disappointed me with their underwhelming debut album. Well, sure, it’s nice, but definitely underwhelming with a monstrous lineup like that. That’s one glimmer of hope down; I can still look forward to Fairyland’s fourth album with my favorite female power metal vocalist Elisa C. Martin of early Dark Moor back on vocals and the interesting combination that made a Guilty Gear character’s name composed of Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske working on Unisonic.
Oh well. Someday, I hope things will change for power metal…for the better…if you think they already have, feel free to point me where I can see it.
*ends post on a light note*
If not…then this genre’s fanbase can always wait for my own brand of power metal in the future HAHAHAHAHAHA
~ by rtnario on April 24, 2011.