Keeper of the Flame: Frank’s List of the Best Power Metal of 2017

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Well, 2017 is at an end. You know what that means, don’t ya?

LISTS!!!

I’m gonna keep this intro short and sweet because this is all about the tunes. Since Nine Circles is the mecca of extreme music discussion, I’m going to change things up a bit. My list is strictly Power Metal. As the resident Power Metal guru I want to highlight 20 great albums from this awesome, yet misunderstood sub-genre. If you’re okay with Power Metal, cool! If not…LEAVE THE HALL!!! I now present to you my 20 favorite Power Metal albums of 2017.  

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burning shadows - truth in legend

20. Burning Shadows – Truth In Legend:  The five-piece from Maryland released an incredible set of tunes back in early May that not only hails the US Power Metal bands of old, but delivers a strong punch of strength and power to the scene. Truth In Legend is straight-up heavy/power metal goodness!

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paladine - finding solace

19. Paladine – Finding Solace:  Mixing symphonic and European-style elements, Greece’s Paladine impressed me mightily with their debut Finding Solace. Eight tracks of entertaining, epic music and earworms that have received frequent spins from me and there is no sign of stopping anytime soon.

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Arrayan Path - Dawn of Aquarius

18. Arrayan Path – Dawn Of Aquarius:  One of the things that drew me to Arrayan Path is that they are able to experiment while keeping that epic power metal sound. Dawn of Aquarius is their most ambitious album to date and they succeeded tremendously. The song “So It Shall Be Written” is so freaking epic!

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ironflame - lightning strikes the crown

17. IronFlame – Lightning Strikes The Crown:  The first time I heard this album, I was blown away. First of all, what a vocal performance by Andrew D’Cagna! Musically, this album has a European-style feel while still having the strength of its home USPM ancestors. One of the most mature debuts I’ve ever heard.

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blazon stone - down in the dark

16. Blazon Stone – Down In The Dark:  Ced Forsberg does it again! This dude can do no wrong. The fourth LP from the Running Wild-worshipping Blazon Stone is, in my opinion, their absolute best. Down In The Dark reminds me of Running Wild’s Black Hand Inn, which is one of my all-time favorite records. Speed/Power Metal with no filler.

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vhäldemar - against all kings

15. Vhäldemar – Against All Kings:  When I heard Vhäldemar was releasing a new album it became one of my most anticipated albums, and it did not disappoint. Gritty-sounding vocals mixed with fast-paced instruments and a real rock ‘n’ roll sound. Simply put, this in an incredibly fun album.

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MajestyRebels

14. Majesty – Rebels:  When it comes to Majesty, you’re gonna get pretty much the same thing. They play a proud, Manowar-esque style of metal. With Rebels, it’s no different, and I’m so grateful for that. This is true heavy/power to the core. There is no bullshit. Whenever I play this album I feel so lucky to be a Power Metal fan. Thank you, Majesty. HAIL!!!

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power quest - sixth dimension

13. Power Quest – Sixth Dimension:  After six long years, UK’s Power Quest is back. And what a triumphant return it is! Sixth Dimension brings back the melodic, symphonic style that made PQ such a power metal staple. New vocalist Ashley Edison delivers a powerful performance and founder/keyboardist Steve Williams & crew created a truly stupendous record.

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seven kingdoms - decennium

12. Seven Kingdoms – Decennium:  Created thanks to a very successful crowd-funding campaign, Florida power-metallers Seven Kingdoms rewarded the fans handsomely with Decennium. It’s hard to explain how much this album means to me. Led by the amazing vocals of Sabrina Valentine, Seven Kingdoms crafted a brilliant set of tunes. They are proud to call themselves Power Metal. I’m damn proud to be a fan of theirs.

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Bloodbound_War-of-the-Dragons

11. Bloodbound – War Of Dragons:  “Oh no, an album about dragons!” says the power metal haters. I say, “FUCK YES!!!” War of Dragons is one of the most energetic albums of the entire year, which is something Bloodbound always excels at. Vocally, sonically and emotionally, War Of Dragons hits on all cylinders. Much improved from Stormborn, which I love as well.

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galleria - return of the cosmic men

10. Galderia – Return Of The Cosmic Men:  First off, that is an awesome album name. Fight me! Second, what a fun fucking album this is. Listen to the second track “Blue Aura” and a huge smile will be plastered on your face. That’s what makes Power Metal so great to me. It’s just fucking fun. That’s what this album is, and that’s why it starts my Top 10.

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Victorius-Heart-of-the-Phoenix

9. Victorius – Heart Of The Phoenix:  Heart of the Phoenix was the first Power Metal album I listened to in 2017. Eleven months later, it still fucking rules! European power metal that brings an epic, uplifting sound that true fans will love. Victorius isn’t slowing down, as they have a new EP in January 2018. Can’t wait to hear it!

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terra incognita - fragments of a ruined mind

8. Terra IncΩgnita – Fragments Of A Ruined Mind:  This was a late release (11/24/17) but it so incredibly good that I had to put it this in my top 10. Terra IncΩgnita plays a strong melodic power metal that has strength, emotion and passion. With awesome vocals and tremendous musicianship Fragments of a Ruined Mind is a true gem. Greece definitely knows how to Power Metal!

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serenity - lionheart

7. Serenity – Lionheart:  I was a bit hesitant when I first heard Serenity was releasing a new album. 2016’s Codex Atlanticus was a disappointment for me. After a few listens to Lionheart, however, that hesitation quickly changed to incredible happiness. Each track on this album is more epic than the next. After several listens I still get goose bumps when “Eternal Victory” comes on. A grand slam for Serenity.

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Jag-Panzer_The-Deviant-Chord

6. Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord:  In my eyes, Jag Panzer never disappoints! Arguably America’s best Power Metal band, the veterans from Colorado delivered an absolute gem in The Deviant Chord. Ten tracks, 45 minutes of true U.S. Power Metal led by the still-insanely powerful voice of Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin. I was finally able to see them live when they played in Brooklyn last year. I will never forget seeing one of my Power Metal heroes!

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valor - arrogance (the fall)

5. Valor – Arrogance: The Fall:  Another terrific Power Metal band from Greece contributes to this wonderful sub-genre. Valor’s new album, Arrogance: The Fall is a major step forward from their last offering. This record is epic personified! Incredible melodies, powerful vocals, and passion that makes me want to grab my sword and head into battle. A near-perfect offering from Valor.

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Unleash the Archers - Apex

4. Unleash The Archers – Apex:  This was probably my most anticipated album of 2017. I was fortunate enough to review it for this very website. You can read it for yourself, but here’s the short version: this is one of the best Power Metal albums I’ve heard in my 26 years of hailing this massive genre. Every member of this band executes each song perfectly. The fat is cut, nothing is wasted, and like I said in the review, vocalist Brittney Slayes is this generation’s Ronnie James Dio.

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Evertale-The-Great-Brotherwar

3. Evertale – The Great Brotherwar:  In 2013, a band named Evertale blew me away with their debut masterpiece Of Dragons and Elves. Since then I’ve been waiting for another album. On October 27th, the wait was over with The Great Brotherwar. Not only is this album great, it’s better then their debut! Heavy, epic, powerful and passionate. Non-stop musical action that will be played in my home for years to come. THIS IS TRUE POWER METAL!!!

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Orden-Ogan_Gunman

2. Orden Ogan – Gunmen:  Another anticipated album of mine, I was expecting Gunmen to be very good. I never expected it to be this emotionally powerful for me. It’s hard to explain how much this album means to me, especially with the ups and downs in my life, but the emotion, passion and epic nature of this record makes this a personal gem. Orden Ogan has created a masterpiece with Gunmen.

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galneryus - ultimate sacrifice

1. Galneryus – Ultimate Sacrifice:  That’s right, my #1 favorite Power Metal album of 2017 is by Japan’s Galneryus. Heavy, fast, melodic, powerful…100 times over! For those who are unaware of Galneryus, they play a neoclassical/symphonic style of Power Metal with a mix of English and Japanese lyrics. For me, Ultimate Sacrifice is perfect! Guitar virtuoso Syu displays so much passion in his playing, vocalist Masatoshi Ono belts out incredible melodies and Galneryus delivers a super creative concept that is unmatched. For an album that’s 65 minutes long, the time goes by real fast. It is the best Power Metal album of 2017!

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So, there you have it…my top 20 Power Metal albums of 2017. Many thanks to the great people who run Nine Circles for allowing me to ramble about my favorite music. You’ll be seeing me a lot more here in 2018, reviewing Power Metal that’ll hopefully make next year’s list. Before I go, I want to say something. Power Metal is more than just music to me, it’s saved me from making some really dire decisions. I love this sub-genre and I will defend it to the death. I can’t wait for next year. Until then, Happy Holidays everyone.

HAIL!!!

– Frank


 

2 thoughts on “Keeper of the Flame: Frank’s List of the Best Power Metal of 2017

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