I should really change this post to #METALMONDAY!
Instead of sharing a particular artist, we’ve decided to pull together some of our favorite power metal bands and smash them into one giant POWER METAL PLAYLIST! But for those of us that do not know what “power metal” is, hit the jump for our amazing playlist and a brief history on this overlooked music genre.Power metal is a style of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. The term “power metal” refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.
While widely known for instrumentation, power metal is highly focused on the vocalist with “clean” vocals being much more prevalent. Some inspirations for power metal vocalizations would be Ronnie James Dio (RIP), Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, and Geoff Tate. What is noticable would be the fact that power metal vocals are often in a high register.
Power metal’s lyrical themes though varied, often focus on fantasy and mythology, hope, personal struggles and emotions, war and death, or even a combination of all of them! Many power metal bands based their concept albums on fantasy books and national epics, as well as on their own imaginary stories.
Power metal guitarists and bassists generally play rapid streams of notes, but change chords comparatively slowly. Fast and demanding guitar solos, however are almost guaranteed. It is a common train in power metal for the bass guitar to take a back seat often simply being drowned out by lead and rhythm guitars. However some bands incorporate bass that is more audible with extreme patterns that are distinct from their rhythm guitar counter parts. Drummers usually play with a double bass petal or two bass drums and utilize them to play a constant streams of sixteenth notes with snare drum accents on the beat. Lastly, power metal bands often incorporate keyboards into their music. Some usage is subtle or have a complete melody line. In some rare cases even a full orchestra is utilized.
With all the history our of the way, the bigger question is who is own our list? Well, here is a break down for you to see who made it and what they are known for:
- Dragonforce: The infamous band that brought power metal to your home. Remember “Through The Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero? Also known as, “that really fast song that’s really hard to play?” Yeah it’s these guys.
- Dream Theater: A band that is extremely well known for their extreme technical proficiency in all areas of instrumentation.
- Gamma Ray: A band that was founded by Kai Hansen. The Godfather of American Power Metal
- Nightwish: What if a female opera singer met metal? Yeah. Meet Nightwish.
- Rhapsody of Fire: Originally known as Rhapsody, the band is famous for conceptual lyrics and a constant story in ALL of their albums.
- Sabaton: A band from Sweden that focuses the majority of their music on historical wars. Yup wars.
- Stratovarius: Originally formed in 1982. The longest going power metal band (14 albums and 1 live album)
- Symfonia: A band that is now defunct, who was known for an extremely high vocal range.
- Symphony X: An American band from New Jersey who is known to use neo-classical elements in their music.
And without further ado, the list! Enjoy and let us know your thoughts! Until next time, ROCK ON and stay METAL!