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The Official Power Metal Recommendations Thread

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It's been a while, I've got a few to add here that are long overdue. Again, some of these are old school heavy metal and NWOBHM, but they're close to power metal in the scope of things, I like the earlier power metal style best that wasn't much different, and those guys did inspire most power metal bands anyway.

 

Blind Fury - Out Of Reach:

Moderator's Note: Original video (Evil Eyes) is no longer on youtube it has been replaced here by a song from the same album.

Blind Fury were a short-lived, but awesome NWOBHM band. The band was formed by members of Satan and Angel Witch (which should inform you of the quality on display), but by the time the album was recorded, no Angel Witch members remained. The music here is very similar to Satan, but is more melodic and a bit progressive, though still heavy on great riffs. The songs here are catchy, the atmosphere driving and exciting, and it's as ballsy as it is melodic, you know, before heavy metal bands forgot how to do that. Awesome album here, melodic enough to appeal to power metal fans, in addition to any fan of NWOBHM or old school heavy metal.

 

Chastain - Mystery of Illusion:

Chastain were an awesome female fronted heavy metal band from the 80's. I know that I already posted them in the female fronted metal bands section, but they were too great to just be posted in one thread. This band is what 80's heavy/power metal is all about, big songs, epic atmosphere, excellent guitar work (especially in the leads and solos), and the stellar vocal performance by Leather Leone. Clearly one of the more charismatic and edgy vocalists of the time, she puts many of the men from this time period to shame. They were great up until she left the band, but have opted for more of a groove metal approach since her departure that leaves much to be desired.

 

Exciter - Heavy Metal Maniac:

Exciter were one of the earliest metal bands from Canada, playing absolutely killer speed metal. As I'm sure you've noticed, they took their name from one of Priest's fastest songs from their early days, and while they bear a bit of similarity to the style displayed on that track, they're much less refined and raw in their approach. The sound is dirty, the vocals messy, the performances intense and spirited, everything here is totally balls out and ass kicking. Who needs technical prowess when you can just play this hard? An excellent and influential band, don't be one of the many that forget about Exciter.

 

Hell - Human Remains:

Hell were a NWOBHM band that unfortunately never made it past the demo stage before the band's founder, Dave Halliday, committed suicide. They played a dark and occult variant of NWOBHM that wasn't being done much at the time, heavy stuff compared to many of their peers. Dave taught Andy Sneap of Sabbat how to play guitar, and Sneap decided to resurrect the band a few years ago in his memory. The music has been updated to modern standards, but the songs are still based on Dave's original riffs and ideas. This is awesome old school heavy metal done in a modern setting without fucking it up, something all of these retro bands could learn a great deal from.

 

Iron Angel - Wings of War:

Iron Angel were an awesome German speed metal band from the 80's. Their sound was originally very raw and dark sounding, bordering on black metal with songs like The Metallian, but with their second album they got a bit more melodic. Their sound is still somewhere between the rougher sounding German thrash bands of the day, and the power/speed metal of bands like Grave Digger, though I feel that they fall more towards the power/speed side of the equation. Anyway, this stuff is great for any fan of German metal in the 80's, as well as anybody into 80's power metal.

 

Manilla Road - The Deluge:

Manilla Road were one of the earliest American heavy metal bands, and have also been one of the longest lasting, still releasing albums to this day. They are most well known for their epic and triumphant style, with riffs (plenty of them) and solos that conjure up the large and fantastical images that they're singing about. Mark Shelton's vocals are very nasal sounding, and while his approach is unique, they do take some getting used to. However, once you're accustomed to hearing them, they're just another one of those elements that set Manilla Road apart from other metal bands in the 80's. An awesome and extremely consistent band that shouldn't be missed by any metal fan.

 

Metalucifer - Heavy Metal Hunter:

Metalucifer are a Japanese metal band made up of members of Sabbat, and their intention is to relive the glory of old-school heavy metal. Where most retro metal acts fail, Metalucifer definitely succeed, with great and epic songs, riffs that are insanely catchy and fun, and a sound that isn't derivative of other bands that still fits with the sound they're trying to portray. The lead work is also noteworthy here, it's very unique to Metalucifer, but sounds familiar in many ways. The vocals are the only element that leave something to be desired, sounding goofy and, well, Japanese, but that's hardly enough to dull the impact of the excellent music. Heavy Metal is My Way!

 

Savage - Loose 'n Lethal:

Savage were another of those NWOBHM bands that don't seem to get as much credit as they deserve. Their debut was a raw and ass kicking slice of NWOBHM that inspired a great deal of speed and aggression in bands like Metallica, especially with tracks like Let it Loose. High speed, great melodies, and catchy and fun songs, this is what heavy metal is all about.

 

Scorpions - Taken By Force:

Scorpions may seem to be an odd choice at first. Firstly, everybody knows them, they get all kinds of radio play, hell, your parents probably like them. Secondly, they play pretty inoffensive but decent arena rock, why are they here? Well, in the 70's they did play heavy metal, and were damn good at it. My favorite album of theirs is Taken By Force, with the lead guitar master Uli John Roth kicking all kinds of ass here. This is when Scorpions were dark, heavy (especially for the time), and inventive, not really sounding like anyone else, but killing it with great song composition in tracks like this. Klaus's vocals are also in top form here, as are all of the performers, you really just can't go wrong with this album.

 

Tyrant - Too Late to Pray:

Tyrant were one of the heaviest and darkest early US heavy metal bands. They were definitely matching their thrash metal friends in terms of guitar tone and fury, but were doing so with riffs and songs grounded in standard heavy metal techniques. The vocals here are also quite different from most of the heavy metal bands at the time, with a mid-low clean range that was aggressive without being very throaty. This stuff is punishing, mid paced pummeling riffs, devastating vocals, and straight ahead songs to bang your fucking head to. If you like your metal heavy (and if you don't, you should probably see the doctor about having your balls reattached), you definitely need to give these guys a listen.

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Well, it turns out that I haven't added to this section in a LONG time, so it seems like more is in order.

 

Armored Saint - March of the Saint

Armored Saint seems to unfortunately be more well known for being John Bush's "other band" after he was snatched up by Anthrax in the 90's. This is a crime for a couple of reasons, the first of which being that Anthrax sucked in the 90's, the second being that his "other band" is pretty kick ass old school US power metal. John's vocals are a definite highlight, there's no question why he was so sought after, but the music is great too. No bullshit, straight up 80's power metal with catchy riffs, but without skimping on the heaviness.

Culprit - Guilty as Charged:

Culprit is a pretty obscure band, which is surprising considering the amount of attention the Seattle power/progressive metal scene garnered, and the fact that Culprit was one of the first bands from said sing. Alongside Queensryche, there weren't too many other bands in the early 80's putting this level of class and precision into power metal. The title track is the obvious highlight of the album, and it is well worth owning for this song alone, but the rest of the album is great too. For all that they inspired and how much ground they broke here, you owe it to yourself to check this out if you dig bands like Fates Warning and Crimson Glory.

Dawnbringer - Nucleus:

Dawnbringer are one of the few newer bands in the retro heavy metal category that will likely make my list. This is not to say that it's impossible to make good retro heavy metal, just that there are tons of shitty generic bands out there, and taking the time to sift through them to find the diamond in the rough is cumbersome. However, Dawnbringer do bring a pretty unique approach to the table that sets them apart. In a way, they remind me of Slough Feg, shedding new light on ground that has been previously tread a number of times, with some modern touches that bring things up to date without forsaking the roots of the sound. I think you'll be surprised by how fresh it sounds, considering how many of the techniques on display here can be traced back to other bands.

Enforcer - Diamonds:

Enforcer is on the other side of the retro spectrum, in that they stick exactly to the formula that came before them. To their credit though, they fucking kick ass at it, and if it ain't broke... Anyway, this band is full of energy, which is one of the largest appeals, but they also totally nailed that early 80's NWOBHM sound that they were going for, with even the production and album cover looking and sounding like this could have been a long lost release from 1982. This is as legitimate as retro gets, this isn't done for the sake of novelty, but obviously out of a clear love for the sound. They definitely do it justice, so if stuff like early Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Blitzkrieg, Satan, Savage, etc... turns your crank, then you need to hear Enforcer.

Heathen Hoof - Rock Crusader:

Heathen Hoof is another retro heavy metal band doing things the right way. This is another band that isn't doing anything new, but they do have a pretty entertaining sound focusing on the more raw side of early heavy metal. The vocals and sound here are more rough and gritty sounding than a band like Enforcer with their more precise delivery, but since when has that ever been a bad thing? Unfortunately, their debut full length was nowhere near as good as their demos, but as the demos come as bonus tracks on some versions of that album, it is well worth picking up.

Liege Lord - Master Control:

I know that this isn't the first time that this band has been talked about here, as Dave seems to be a pretty big Liege Lord fan. However, as this is one of the finest power/speed metal albums of the 80's, there's absolutely no reason not to mention it further. This is power metal with actual power, huge heavy hitting riffs, tons of aggression, and killer vocals. This is everything that 80's heavy metal was about wrapped up in one devastating package, it's definitely up there with Helstar's A Distant Thunder and Jag Panzer's Ample Destruction as one of my favorite US power metal albums ever. Totally essential.

Omen - Warning of Danger:

Omen is another band that had been mentioned here previously, but it was RTC's mention of their debut album Battle Cry. Now, while Battle Cry is a fine album, I prefer the albums that followed, Warning of Danger and The Curse. These albums picked up the speed and were more power metal oriented, as opposed to the more Manilla Road like epic heavy metal sound of the debut. These albums are more aggressive, better written, and also more melodious, and represent pretty much everything that I look for in power metal. This is good stuff, definitely check it out if you're a fan of the style.

Oz - Fire in the Brain:

Oz was one of Finland's first and best heavy metal bands. While their debut was pretty tame, their sophomore outing Fire In the Brain is a raucous slab of metal intensity that would put most of their NWOBHM peers to shame. Great riffs, powerful and energized vocals, and that catchy rocking tone that will keep the songs stuck in your head for days. Also, while it has nothing to do with the music, it is a fun fact to mention that the hand holding the skull on the album cover belongs to none other than Quorthon of Bathory. It's not an easy album to find, but track it down, it's worth it.

Satan's Host - By the Hands of the Devil:

Satan's Host is just one of many forgotten US power metal bands of the 80's that didn't garner much attention before they disbanded. This is made even more surprising considering that they recruited none other than Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer as their vocalist for their debut, producing a pretty great album before calling it quits. They ended up reforming as a black/death metal band toward the end of the 90's, but that material isn't much to write home about IMO. However, they recently reformed again with Harry Conklin back behind the mic, and have merged the two sounds to create an absolutely devastating sound. Songwriting wise, this is progressive power metal, but played with a production and set of techniques that owes a great deal to black/death metal, upping the intensity a great deal, without forsaking any of that catchiness that power metal fans will adore. Put Harry's impeccable clean vocals over the top, and you have a massively potent and original sound that just can't be ignored. I wish more bands would try something like this, as albums like this one, its successor, and also their album of re-recordings from prior periods with this sound and lineup have all been huge successes IMO.

Sortilège - Sortilége:

Sortilège was one of France's most well known entries into the field of 80's heavy metal, which unfortunately still makes them pretty obscure. Since many bands of this scene wrote their lyrics in French, they didn't get much attention from non-English speaking countries. This is an absolute travesty, as they were doing everything right here with their debut EP. The vocals are magnificent, intense and forceful without sacrificing their incredible technique. The music is also extremely polished and well done for a debut EP, easily blowing many more well known albums of the era right out of the water. This is killer stuff, and has got me investigating the French heavy metal scene further, but as with Sortilège, releases from these bands are tough to come by. Still, based on what I'm hearing here, the hunt is well worth it.

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Top notch stuff as always BAN I'll have to snare those two Omen records at some point. I've a few albums from the end of the nineties to snare then I'll get stuck in here.

I'm stoked about that batch, lots of top shelf albums in there that I discovered after my initial blitz of posts in here years ago. I still have that Culprit song stuck in my head after posting it, and while I wasn't totally in the mood for that sounds before making the post, I now can't get enough of it after completing it. Sometimes playing some great albums is all that you need to get back in the mood.

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I took myself too seriously to really engage with power metal in the past, until a couple of years ago that is. Now I simply love Blind Guardian (which is much more than power metal in my opinion), Rhapsody (of Fire), and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. 

I think my second favourite album of 2015 was Luca Turilli's Rhapsody - Prometheus. What an amazing album. 

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Here's the title track from Luca Turilli's Rhapsody from their latest album 'Prometheus' (2015). Just awesome stuff. That whole album is brilliant. 

 

 

And here is the mighty Blind Guardian with my favourite track from them, 'Sacred Worlds' from the 'At the Edge of Time' album from 2010. 

 

 

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Haven't had much to add here in a while, but I'm trying to update all of these with new entries and fixing the broken links on the old entries. Anyhow, I've been feeling the traditional metal spirit lately, so here goes:

Angel Witch - Angel Witch:

Angel Witch should be a fairly obvious entry, being one of the earliest and most well-known NWOBHM bands. However, this is for posterity, and we wouldn't want any new fans to miss out on them, now would we? For 1980, basically the beginning of the movement, there weren't many bands that were as relentlessly heavy or as dark as Angel Witch. Bands like Saxon, Def Leppard, and even Diamond Head still had a lot of rock in their sounds, but Angel Witch was pushing pure heavy metal forward with their debut album in a big way. Faster, heavier, and more evil sounding than the likes of Iron Maiden, but still quite melodic, with great chorus hooks to offset the chunkier riffs. Essential.

Def Leppard - On Through the Night:

Speaking of Def Leppard, anyone remember that there was a time when they didn't suck? I remember hearing this for the first time after being disgusted with the band for years over their terrible glam image, awful vocals, and idiotic lyrics, and I didn't believe that it was the same band. This fits in nicely with the more rocking early incarnation of NWOBHM, reminding me a great deal of early Saxon and Diamond Head, and very little of what they would make later. Anyway, you know the name, just don't forget to check out what they were before they started wearing more makeup than your mom.

Denner/Shermann - Masters of Evil:

Denner/Shermann is merely the most recent incarnation of arguably the most dynamic guitar duo in the history of heavy metal, most well known for their obscenely great and groundbreaking work in Mercyful Fate. Some have hailed this a return to Mercyful Fate territory, and while there are a couple of early black metal riffs here, this is really just some great modern heavy/power metal. There is a great energy running all through this, with some exceptional vocals taking the killer guitar and drum work to the next level. Hearing old-school veterans deliver in the modern day always fills me with happiness and hope that maybe the legions of retro clowns will get their shit together, but I know that by and large, that won't happen. Thanks guys, we needed this.

Grim Reaper - Fear No Evil:

Grim Reaper should be another obvious choice for many due to the success of their song See You In Hell, and all of the video and radio play that song received in the 80's. I feel like they would do better work after that album though, and never having heard these later recordings, I never bothered with this band before seeing Steve Grimmett live recently. Fear No Evil is both heavier and catchier than the debut, with a more anthemic and vocal-led approach to NWOBHM than a lot of their compatriots. Also of note was that Steve still sounds magnificent after all of these years, even better in the live setting than on these classic recordings. Yet another band that shouldn't be forgotten or relegated to the past. 

Heretic - Breaking Point:

Heretic was just one of many great one-and-done acts of 80's metal, often occupying footnote historical status for being the first band of Mike Howe, best known for replacing David Wayne in Metal Church and turning out killer albums with said band like Blessing In Disguise and The Human Factor. Metal Church is a good reference point when discussing Heretic, not just for the vocals, but also for their brawny and thrashy brand of US power metal. I have no idea why the wimpy and lifeless version of this genre caught on so strong in Europe while this style mostly died out by the early 90's, but it is always nice to find more bands occupying this kind of sound for me. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

Midnight - Complete and Total Hell:

Midnight has been making some waves over the last few years with their brazen and blistering old-school heavy/black/speed metal sound, and rightfully so given the energy and quality on display here. This is kind of a hybrid of Venom, Motorhead, and Angel Witch, and it kicks some serious ass. Punky, beer drinking, hard partying, ass kicking heavy metal is what Midnight is all about, and considering how few bands can successfully channel the old-school feeling with a bit of originality, let's hope that they continue doing so.

October 31 - Bury the Hatchet:

Based on the evolution that Deceased made on the album Fearless Undead Machines, I don't think it would surprise anyone to find out that King Fowley formed a horror themed heavy metal band. It also shouldn't surprise anyone that said band, October 31, is excellent. King's trademark vocals and vocal phrasing are here, but he does us a much clearer and less forceful tone here, and it fits the music wonderfully. Said music is kind of a combination of the traditional American heavy metal sound and the gothic/narrative heavy metal of King Diamond, a description which should have most people reading this salivating. Maybe I'm overselling this a bit, but Bury the Hatchet is pretty damn good. Check it out.

Uriah Heep - Very 'eavy, Very 'umble:

Uriah Heep is a name many may be familiar with here, but probably not within the context of heavy metal. However, they were much more than just an influence upon early heavy metal, especially on their debut album. With heavy keyboards and clean soaring vocals similar to Deep Purple's mixed with some pretty damn heavy guitar lines, I'm not sure why more early metal fans don't consider this essential listening. Well, if you like it, spread the word, since most music sites and bloggers won't for whatever reason.

Vicious Rumors - Vicious Rumors:

Vicious Rumors is just one of many US power metal bands that enjoyed some success in the 80's and early 90's, but are forgotten by most these days. This isn't just a horrible mistake on the part of supposed "heavy metal fans" moving on to more grungy pastures because of the music, but also because Carl Albert was one of the very best clean vocalists to have ever graced the metal world. The guy was an absolute powerhouse, with a clear and aggressive, but astonishingly varied and melodious style that was likely the envy of every band around at the time. He was killed in a car accident a few years after this album was released, but he left behind a killer body of work, one that should be more explored and celebrated than it currently is. This rules, and if my word means anything, know that Vicious Rumors comes with the highest of recommendations.

Witch Cross - Fit For Fight:

Witch Cross is an obscure old heavy metal band from Denmark that seems to have been recently unearthed by the internet when it was discovered that Fit For Fight was recorded at the same studio as Mercyful Fate around the time of their classic albums. I would never think to put Witch Cross into the same category, but this album is a great traditional heavy metal album that is well worth your time to check out. Just ignore the idiotic cover art, as the contents of the album are much better than what first comes to mind when looking at the poorly drawn scantily clad women and whatever that bat monster thing is. 

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Going through this just makes me realise how lacking my Heavy Metal and Power Metal collections are. It's also put me in the mood for the stuff so thanks for that.
I've been heavily in the mood for that kind of stuff lately too, so I may be making another entry before long. Just like anything else, there's a lot out there and a lot of quality to behold if you're willing to explore.

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Power metal is one of my least favorite subgenres, but this album is great in my opinion. Mephisto is basically the result of an illicit relationship between Mercyful Fate and Slayer
 
I don't hear any Mercyful Fate in there, but that is pretty fucking good. Thanks for sharing!

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