CANTO: Cynic, Belphegor, Sonata Arctica, and More

sonata arctica

I ran ten miles and Liverpool won something. What a day.

  • Cynic have announced a reissue of their sophomore effort, Traced In Air. I mean, it’s only 11 years old, but I’m still going to check out this revision either way. It comes out on September 27th through Season Of Mist, but here’s a preview.
  • Belphegor have begun working towards a 2020 release. It will be their 12th studio album, and the anticipated release is sometime in the summer through Nuclear Blast. Here’s a snippet of a new track called “Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus”, that was recently performed live.
  • In case you missed it, Sonata Arctica are releasing a new album called Talviyö on September 6th. They’ve been dropping trailers in the build up to this, and today I’m happy to bring you the fourth installment of said trailers. This one focuses on band history and some other stuff. I think. I haven’t watched it yet.
  • Let’s close with some death metal. This is a lyric video from Abythic for a track called “Drifting Among Shadows”. Their sophomore effort, Conjuring the Obscure, drops on September 11th via Xtreem Music.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– cmb

Nine Circles ov… Power Metal 2007

2007

Ever since I left social media in early 2017 I’ve had plenty of extra time on my hands. Sure, I spend most of that extra time staring at my bedroom wall, but I also use it to go back and listen to tunes from years ago. With the influx of new music being released every week it gets increasingly hard to slow down and listen to albums that entertained you when you were younger. I am definitely guilty of this. Now that I’ve dusted off the old CDs and revisited them I have the opportunity to analyze certain things I may not have thought of the first time around.

One of the things I’ve noticed is despite the early 2000s being a dark time for power metal, the sub-genre had an amazing 2007. Some of my favorite records were released in that year, particularly Manowar, who delivered their most divisive album amongst the die hards: Gods Of War. I can go on for hours talking about Manowar (seriously, I can – ask the dudes who run this site) but there was much more that deserves your attention. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I am going to highlight some power metal albums I loved from 2007. These are not ranked but arranged in alphabetical order.
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Initial Descent: August 12, 2016

mizmor band
Ahead of a live debut at Migration Fest, Oregon’s Mizmor releases its new full-length, “Yodh,” on August 12.

Hey kids. I’m technically late with this because I’m at Migration Fest, but you know what? As I’m writing this, it’s only 9:45 AM out here in Olympia, Washington, so you can suck it. We’ll keep it quick because I’ve got a lot more to get to today — namely, exploring, festival stuff, beer drinking, etc. What’s coming out this week? Well, the highlight is Mizmor, whose new full-length, Yodh, finally drops today. There’s also stuff from Equilibrium (who I definitely didn’t realize were still a band), Vader, and all manner of other things. Marsh Dweller also technically drops on Monday, but I’m gonna cover it this week, because it’s pretty cool. So take a little look below and see for yourself — here’s what we’ve got on tap:
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CANTO: Sonata Arctica tour, Devin Townsend’s book, and more

onlyhalfthere

“Forget the past, are you still believing? Tonight’s denial dominates the dreaming.”

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

Subgenre of the Week: Power Metal

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.

There's cheesy power metal...and then there's Manowar...
There’s cheesy power metal…and then there’s Manowar…

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:

Dan’s Tracks:

  • Blind Guardian – “Mirror Mirror”
  • Manowar – “Battle Hymn”
  • Helloween – “I Want Out”
  • Gamma Ray – “New World Order”
  • Edguy – “Under the Moon”

Corey’s Tracks:

  • 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!

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up.