Everyone say hello to the new best power metal band, Gloryhammer! Started by Christopher Bowes, the mastermind of ale-drinking, pirating Alestorm and the old Shitgargler of the scatgrind band Bumilingus, this band fortunately had the right contacts and was given a label contract with the almighty Austrian Napalm Records and given a good studio to record (I mean to be epic).
Despite being a new name to the scene, Gloryhammer makes quite a name for themselves with their “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife,” debut release. I honestly believe this album was the best power metal release of 2013. Filled with symphonic synths, melodic and chugging guitars and solid vocals, Gloryhammer packs almost everything great about power metal into 50 minutes.
Even after just one listen, most of the songs managed to get stuck in my head. Gloryhammer are able to write great tracks with memorable chants, exciting riffs, and soothing synth sections. All the choruses are catchy without being cheesy or redundant. The guitar leads and rhythms are also very memorable and skilled. Although not always up to the notorious speed of Dragonforce or Yngwie Malmsteen, the guitarist does shred in few songs. The music varies from high speed shredding in “Quest for the Hammer of Glory” and “The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder” to ballads like “Silent Tears of Frozen Princess.” They combine influences from technical classical music with catchy drunken chants showing their European heritage and pride.
This album operates as a gateway to the land of Fife, a historic region of Scotland. Mixing actual places in medieval Scotland with elements of fantasy, Gloryhammer creates the perfect escape for anyone struggling with modern society. A listener can feel as if he has killed dragons, slept with beautiful damsels, and conquered evil sorcerers. The narrator sounds like the one in Bal-Sagoth (only the GODS of fantasy metal) and speaks with such an alluring deep voice about the imaginative storyline behind the release. Everything thing about this album shouts fantasy!
There is not a flaw in this album. Although some IMNs may say Gloryhammer suck due to their stereotypical themes and for not creating a new sound for themselves, I think Gloryhammer perfects the genre. They bring such an energy with themselves which would please any power metal fan. I am looking forward to their next album, however I do not know how they can do better than what they have accomplished with “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife.”
– Benjamin Kosanke