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Power Curious: The Best Power Metal of 2017 So Far

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Welcome to Power Curious, a column where we bring you the glorious, the victorious and the best power metal in the lands. This time, we look at the best albums from the first couple months of 2017.

-Kevin Zecchel

ravenouseternalhunger

RavenousEternal Hunger
This new Canadian project features members of various metal bands in the Calgary scene, including Villainizer, Viathyn and Scythia. Eternal Hunger is only four songs, but there are a lot of battles, victory and glory packed into those tunes. Opener “Into the Abyss” sets the tone as a heavy and marching track with a great chorus to sing along to. Meanwhile “Adrift” is a song that echoes the more folky epic sound of Calgary power prog band Viathyn. Vocalist R.A.V. puts his deep thundering voice to great use, especially on the chorus to “Adrift” and in “Mercenary”. Eternal Hunger is a great teaser, and hopefully there is more to come from this project in the near future.

firewindimmortals

FirewindImmortals
Firewind is the other band of current Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G.. The Greek power metal band have been stalwarts in the genre for almost twenty years. Their last couple albums have left me feeling cold, but with a change in vocalists, Immortals has the band sounding refreshed and ready to strike again. New vocalist Henning Basse acquits himself quite well on songs such as “Ode to Leonidas” and “Live and Die By the Sword”. Gus G.’s guitar solos are as jaw-dropping and shreddy as ever, the solo on “Ode to Leonidas” being one that particularly stands out. Even the ballad, “Lady of 1000 Sorrows” is quite solid. It’s good to see Firewind back to writing good music again.

bloodboundwarofdragons

BloodboundWar of Dragons
I will admit, this one caught me completely off guard. The last I had heard from this band was their 2012 album, which was full of Manowar worship. Not being a fan of British loincloths, I ignored Bloodbound for a while. However, it seems that they did not stay with that style for very long, as this newest album, War of Dragons, lies somewhere between the best parts of Sabaton, Nightwish and Edguy. Opening track “Battle in the Sky” sets the stage with swathes of keyboard orchestrations and fantastically catchy chorus. Vocalist Patrik Johannson has turned into quite the powerful singer, evidenced by tracks such as “King of Swords” and “Stand and Fight”.

witherfall

WitherfallNocturnes and Requiems
Those of you that miss Nevermore might want to check out Witherfall, Nocturnes and Requiems, the debut album from this Los Angeles-based band combines the dark and heavy style of power that was the hallmark of Jeff Loomis and co, but also brings to mind Symphony X and Communic in equal measure. The vocals also very much bring Nevermore to mind, especially on songs like “Sacrifice” but are far more enjoyable than Warrell Dane’s weird wailing. The guitar-work is quite varied, moving from heavy power metal into acoustic jazz fusion and Spanish guitar, and that’s just on one track, “What Are We Dying For”. It is really quite tastefully done, and does not sound forced at all. The variety of sound on this album far outstrips many of their contemporaries.

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