CANTO: Amon Amarth, Tankard, Stratovarius, and More


Hey! The Bundesliga is back! And so is the Premier League. Weekend mornings just got marginally more enjoyable.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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CANTO: Amon Amarth, Stratovarius, Massacre, and More

These work days are only a little bit fun. Which, I guess, is why my nights are spent doing this?

  • Break out the drinking horns. Amon Amarth has a new album on the horizon. The Great Heathen Army is out on August 5th through Metal Blade. And yes, we do have new material to share along with that news. Give “Get in the Ring” a listen here.
  • Symphonic metal veterans Stratovarius are also releasing a new album later this year, their first is almost a decade. Survive is set for a September 23rd through earMusic, and the title track can be heard now.
  • Out of Nuclear Blast, Massacre has announced a new EP. That’s generally a good thing, because more Massacre is always the correct amount. Anyway, Mythos is out on July 1st. Check out “Behind The Serpent’s Curse”, which features Anders Odden of Cadaver, right now.
  • New Cloak dates have been added to their 2022 schedule. These are June and July dates with Bewitcher, and you can get the full scoop here.
  • And we’re going to wrap up with the video for the new single from Municipal Waste titled “Electrified Brain”. That’s the title track from their new album, which drops on July 1st through Nuclear Blast.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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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.