Everyone who knows me, or knows of me, is well aware of my insane love for Manowar. For over twenty years the self-described “Kings of Metal” have made me raise my fist in the air and sing every word of their glorious tunes. They were my introduction to heavy metal. No matter how I’m feeling on a certain day, I can put on one of their many releases and it puts an instant smile on my face. To me, Manowar IS metal. Whether it’s loincloths, ass-less chaps, or tight leather, the look and attitude of this iconic band will always be my go-to in the world of loud tuneage.
Throughout the years I’ve made countless lists of my favorite songs, albums, solos, etc. So when I was asked to contribute a list for Nine Circles I immediately said yes. How could I not? It’s Manowar! Instead of just a random nine songs I wanted to choose ones that have influenced my life. There is a reason why the warrior on the album covers has no face. It is the face of us all, a mirror to reflect each human being battling the war of every day life. So without further delay, I am honored to present this Nine Circles ov… covering nine Manowar songs that have helped me fight through life’s constant battles. Continue reading →
As their career has worn on, Stockholm-based Grand Magus have morphed from a relatively standard old-school doom metal outfit steeped in the aesthetics and lyrical themes of Norse mythology into a leaner, meaner beast that combines aspects of NWOBHM, traditional heavy metal, and some slivers of speed metal. Their core sound, however, has remained intact, always reliant upon the rhythmic power and memorability of their guitar work, battle-bred lyrics, and the compelling delivery of the vocals. Their latest, Sword Songs, changes little of what they’ve established on the past few albums; it’s a fun, accessible set of war hymns, but it reaches back into some of the band’s earlier doom roots to make it even more infectious. Continue reading →
Little bit late in the day for this, but hey…these things happen when you’re not a full-time blogger. Before we start this post off, I’ve gotta say: so far, I think I’m doing okay on the whole, covering-everything-while-Corey’s-in-Germany front. Well, three days in, at least. We’ll see if/how that holds up over the next, oh…12. Anyway, it’s Wednesday, and you all know what that means–it’s your turn to weigh in on an all-new Stage Dive topic. This week, let’s focus on this question:
WHAT ACTOR OR ACTRESS WOULD MAKE A GOOD METALHEAD?
As you might have guessed from the caption I gave that image from Rock Star, merely selecting an actor or actress who’s played a metalhead of some sort is unacceptable. I will probably shun you if you do so. No, for this question, let’s focus on the actor or actress themselves–any inherent physical qualities, attitudes…hell, I’ll even take non-music-related character choices into consideration here. Who out there in Hollywood just screams metal to you? Well for me, it’d be Jason Momoa.
You might know Momoa from his roles in Stargate: Atlantis or the remake of Conan the Barbarian, or more notably, his work as Khal Drogo in the HBO juggernaut Game of Thrones. And despite the inherent metallicness of a character christened by Arnold Schwarzenegger who walks around looking like he belongs on the cover of Manowar’s Anthology, it’s that last role to which I want to draw your attention in explaining my decision. Let’s just recap here: as Khal Drogo, Momoa gets to: A. bang and impregnate the Mother of Dragons; B. fight the occasional duel to defend his honor; C. vow revenge against an entire kingdom for an attack on his wife, and most importantly, D. KILL A MAN BY POURING MOLTEN GOLD ONTO HIS SKULL!
(And, okay, E. walk around looking like he belongs on the cover of Manowar’s Anthology.)
All things considered, if that’s not one completely badass recipe for a Ronnie James Dio-esque heavy metal wet dream, I don’t really know what is. And when you factor in Momoa’s real-life long-hair-and-tattoos look, dude’s got metal written all over him. Maybe power metal, based on his role choices, but metal all the same. Coming up, he’s been rumored for the role of Aquaman in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman and Justice League movies, which is good, because as we all know…fish don’t gots no good metal to listens to.
Now it’s your turn. Make sure to share your responses in the comments section, and check back later on for Quickies!
It’s Tuesday, which you’d think makes it time for a Just the Tip post. And guess what? You’d be thinking correctly! But it’s also time for a new Subgenre of the Week, due to some unforeseen complications that arose during its normal slot yesterday. Blah, blah, blah, you don’t like excuses and neither do we, so we’ll leave it at that. Point is, we’re back with a new one, and this week, we’ll be focusing on POWER METAL.
So what is power metal? Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:
“a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional metal with speed metal, often within symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a more uplifting sound, in contrast to the heaviness and dissonance prevalent in styles such as doom metal and death metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally ‘powerful’ sound.”
Drawing from classic heavy metal acts like Dio and Iron Maiden, power metal first began to emerge on both sides of the Atlantic in the early 1980s. Bands like Manowar, Vicious Rumors and Jag Panzer carried the torch in the U.S., while Helloween and Running Wild led the European charge. As it expanded through the later ’80s and into the ’90s, bands like Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray began to emerge, and power metal saw a handful of distinct flavors emerge. While some bands began to incorporate keyboards and progressive elements, (think Stratovarius, Kamelot, etc.) others kept to more of a straightforward refresh on classic heavy metal. (Hammerfall, later Edguy)
So what are we looking for stylistically? In many cases, you get a clean, high-pitched (sometimes maybe a bit too high-pitched for one’s own good) singing style that emphasizes power metal’s melodic tendencies. Think lots of double-bass pedals and rapid-fire guitar licks, too. Oh, and CONCEPT ALBUMS. With such fantasy-oriented storylines as the Emerald Sword saga, (Rhapsody of Fire) and the Something Wicked saga (Iced Earth) floating around throughout power metal, the cheese potential could not be much higher. Shit, Blind Guardian even did an album based entirely on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion! (And it’s pretty kickass, too!)
There’s a lot to cover in the power metal realm, and a single playlist wouldn’t even begin to cover everything you need to hear from within the subgenre. (Not to mention anything you don’t need to hear, like DragonForce.) But dammit, a Subgenre of the Week post needs its 10-song playlist. Comprehensive? No. Ridiculous, cheesy fun? Yes. Here are our chosen power metal jams:
Blind Guardian – “Mirror Mirror”
Manowar – “Battle Hymn”
Helloween – “I Want Out”
Gamma Ray – “New World Order”
Edguy – “Under the Moon”
Stratovarius – “A Million Light Years Away”
Hammerfall – “Any Means Necessary”
Sabaton – “Screaming Eagles”
Sonata Arctica – “Paid in Full”
Nightmare – “Legions of the Rising Sun”
Check it out below and take your first bite out of power metal!