Welcome to the magical world of Dundee, home to warriors who possess mighty hammers and swords. Dundeeís hero, or anti-hero Angus Mcfife, defends his land, from the horrible, the evil, and god awful, invading unicorn army! Unicorns? Yes unicorns. Welcome to the magical land told by the band Gloryhammer. The music here is pure epic power metal of the highest quality. The disc is a familiar mix of Hammerfall and Rhapsody Of Fire. The mastermind behind this epic project, is none other than Christopher Bowes, lead composer and keyboardist of the pirate metal band Alestorm.
After the haunting symphonic intro of Anstrutherís Dark Prophecy, we are greeted by The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee. Galloping fast yet very melodic, this is the perfect track for a power metal disc. Angus Mcfife is next, and is portrayed by lead vocalist Thomas Winkler (check out his band Emerald) and is featured in the video (see below) for this song. Like Unicorn, this song is fast, melodic, and features a sing-a-long chorus and a melodic guitar solo from Paul Templing.
Next is the ultra-melodic, Quest for the Hammer Glory, with itís almost Manowar like title. This song brings Winklerís powerful vocals to the forefront, showing his amazing range and sense of melody. Magic Dragon is next, features a very cool harpsichord/keyboard intro from Bowes, as well as a chorus you just need to hear. With these song titles, I am sure you are thinking ďHow much more cheesy can this get?Ē While the song titles, the music, and everything Dungeons and Dragons could be considered laughable, the music and the vocals are not. Speaking of Winklerís vocals, The Silent Tears of the Frozen Princess, is probably one of the most beautiful power metal ballads, I have heard since, Rhapsody of Fireís Wings of Destiny.
Amulet of Justice, picks up the tempo to break-neck speed, and features my favorite guitar solo from Templing. Drummer Ben Turk, with his driving beats can be heard throughout this song, and his bass/tom drum playing drives the chorus of the song. Hail to Crail, is another melodic piece of power metal, featuring all the elements you heard before. Beneath Cowdenbeath is a short instrumental that leads you into the final song, the ten minute plus epic, The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder. With its movie score like opening strings, and operatic vocals, its just the calm before the storm. With its driving palm-muted riffs, and keyboard fills Epic, it is setup to be the Final Battle of Dundee. I could write an entire review on this song alone, but to sum it up, it is truly EPIC (yes, the caps are needed!). It features several different melodies, solos, and vocals you have heard before. If there was one song to learn exactly who Gloryhammer is, itís the Epic Rage of the Furious Thunder.
There will people who dismiss this as cheesy, corny, or whatever adjective fits best for them. If you listen to the music, you will find power metal, of the highest quality. I believe the band itself, had fun in making this disc, and that the music itself, is pure escapism, from reality. Like the best epic fantasy movie, that lets you forget about the world for a little while. Gloryhammer is easily recommended for those who love Fantasy/Epic Power Metal, and can have fun without being too serious.
Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is truly musical escapism. Like a fantasy movie, its an art medium, that allows you to forget about reality and enter a land of imagination.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]