Power Metal is a metal sub-genre of mainly European origin. An American style of metal of the same name emerged before the European trend, but it does not have the popularity of the European subgenre. Before it established itself as a genre name, the term was used more generally for powerful metal and appeared, among other things, as the title of a Metallica demo cassette from 1982, as the self-description of the band Venom and as the name of the bands Artillery and Nasty Savage as well as the Slayer debut Show No Mercy on.
European power metal
European Power Metal is characterized by a relatively high tempo, catchy melodies and a high pitch up to falsetto . Many of the singers have completed professional vocal training. Popular stylistic devices are vibrato and glissando . The music often places an emphasis on melodies, which are often supported by the use of keyboards ; some bands also use orchestral arrangements, in which case one speaks of symphonic power metal or epic metal (see below). In contrast to many other styles of metal, the mood of the music is positive. Ballads are often encountered, either calmly and (almost) without drums or as bombastic "power ballads". Popular themes are fantasy , epic battles (as in true metal , to which there are overlaps in some bands) as well as (spiritual) freedom and self-realization.
The German band Helloween was a great pioneer of the genre with their albums Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 (1987) and Part 2 (1988). Blind Guardian , Gamma Ray and Stratovarius from Finland , which is one of the strongholds of Power Metal along with Germany, are also among the early bands . These bands showed clear Speed Metal influences in the beginning , before the more melodic and less thrash-heavy Power Metal sound developed.
The term Power Metal for this sub-genre was introduced in Europe in 1993 by the Power Of Metal tour of Gamma Ray, Rage , Conception and Helicon . In 1997 the Swedish band Hammerfall popularized the genre with their debut album Glory to the Brave . It was only from this time that the use of the term became popular. This was joined by bands like Edguy and Sonata Arctica , who in turn were under the influence of Helloween and Stratovarius. Rhapsody of Fire (formerly Rhapsody) and Nightwish established symphonic power metal. Many new bands were founded shortly before and around the turn of the millennium.
Epic and Symphonic Power Metal
In Power Metal with European characteristics there are often pompous arrangements with symphonic elements. This style is also known as Symphonic Power Metal or Epic Metal (not to be confused with the classic US American Epic Metal - see next section), the transition to Symphonic Metal is fluid. Another characteristic are epic , heroic fantasy texts that often take on escapist traits and often contain a comprehensive concept (such as the Emerald Sword Saga of Rhapsody of Fire ). The most famous representatives of this style include Rhapsody of Fire and Blind Guardian .
American power metal
American Power Metal was born in the early 1980s, but no longer has the popularity of its European namesake. Based on the title of a sampler series published by the Shrapnel label from 1981, it is like the stylistically closely related Epic Metal (a variety of heavy metal that emerged at the same time ; its best-known representatives were and are the pioneers of this style, namely Manilla Road , Cirith Ungol , Virgin Steele (in their early years) and Warlord ) are assigned to classic US metal , as these represent the first genuinely US-American varieties of metal. It differs from European Power Metal in its more aggressive mood, with guitar riffs and solos coming to the fore over the melodies. Keyboards are rarely used here, and the vocals are not necessarily as high as in the European version. There are also singers with rougher, more aggressive voices, such as Carl Albert, who died in 1995 and who played with the Ruffians and Vicious Rumors in the 1980s .
The best example of the American version of Power Metal is probably the early works of the band Vicious Rumors mentioned above . Other well-known representatives who have significantly shaped this style are Metal Church , Jag Panzer and the early Savatage . Riot can be considered a pioneer of this style due to their album Fire Down Under, recorded in 1980 . Bands like Helstar , Omen, Crimson Glory or Liege Lord and Attacker also enjoy cult status. Iced Earth's early works can also be seen as US power metal before they approached the European style.
The terms “Euro / US Power Metal” refer only to the style of the music and not to the origin of the bands; There are also bands in the United States who play Power Metal in the European style (e.g. Kamelot or Virgin Steele ) and vice versa (e.g. Brainstorm ).
Power Metal in South America and Japan
Power Metal and True Metal are also established in South America . Some of the early bands were still quite punk- heavy or were heavily influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal . Today the power metal bands of South America are mainly oriented towards the continental European style. The bands Helloween, Rhapsody of Fire and Hammerfall mentioned above have the most important influences. The most famous South American power metal bands are Angra , Kyrie Eleison and Shaman .
An underground power metal scene has formed in South America , which refers to the folklore and indigenous culture of the indigenous people . Examples are B. Aztra and Soul of Honor . The boundaries to folk metal are fluid and the topic includes the legends of the Maya , Inca and Aztecs , as well as other cultures. Most of these groups themselves consist of Indians or mestizos .
European Power Metal was even more popular in Japan . Bands like Sonata Arctica , ATTACK , Gamma Ray , Blind Guardian , Heavens Gate or Dark Moor in particular have a larger fan base in Japan than in their home countries. Apart from a few exceptions like Double Dealer , Concerto Moon , Versailles Philharmonic Quintet or Galneryus, there is hardly any well-known, well-known Japanese Power Metal.
Some well-known representatives
- Sargon The Terrible: Description of the Genres of Metal
- Venom Biography
- Michael Moynihan , Didrik Søderlind: Lords of Chaos . Venice: Feral House 1998, p. 23
- "The first sang" Deeds Of Darkness "on demoen. The beginning of the process is complete and that there is a difference between the two "Pure Power Metal". “Metalion: Artillery . In: Slayer vol. 2 1985 , p. 23. Quoted from: Jon Kristiansen: SLAYER. N ° 1 to 5 . Rosières en Haye: Camion Blanc 2009, p. 118
- Götz Kühnemund : Nasty Savage . Wage Of Mayhem . In: Rock Hard , No. 310, March 2013, p. 89
- Ron Nietas: Slayer "Haunting the Chapel" EP . In: Braindamage . No. 1 , 1984, p. 19 (English).