Welcome back, brave warriors! I hope you enjoyed Part I. Because of the European style being the most recognizable for Power Metal I considered it a warm-up for Parts II – V. Power Metal has grown and evolved to reflect many different sounds and incorporate the influences of other genres. The sound becomes similar, yet different.
Confused? No worries. Let the journey continue…
Power Metal, Part II: North American
While the European style gives us melody and high, clean vocals, the North American (formerly U.S.) style goes towards the opposite direction. Sure, melody and clean singing are still prevalent, but the NA sound is stronger and darker. Guitars are more riff-oriented and lower. Vocals are deeper and somewhat angrier. The North American style of Power Metal takes influences of traditional, speed and thrash metal. Lyrically speaking, fantasy writing still applies, only it’s a bit more realistic and less positive. Themes of politics and religion are also lyrical topics.
One of the most recognizable bands who play this style is Iced Earth. For those who are unaware of them, they started primarily as a traditional/thrash band. Each album became more and more Power Metal sounding while still keeping true to the original sound. With lyrical topics such as religion, politics, and overall human nature, the feeling is dark and morose while still having that Power Metal sound.
Just like its European counterpart, the North American style isn’t limited to bands of that geographical location. A perfect example is the German band Brainstorm. Coming from the land that started the so-called “cheesy” style, Brainstorm completely diverts and goes the way of North America. Although their lyrics may suggest a more fantastical notion, their sound goes the way of a riff-lover’s delight.
Over the past few years North American Power Metal has grown tremendously. Bands such as Judicator, Unleash The Archers, Helion Prime, Lords Of Black and A Sound Of Thunder have taken the style, and the entire Power Metal genre, by storm. More and more bands are popping up. The N.A. style also appeals to metal fans who generally stay away from Power Metal. It brings toughness, if you will, to Power Metal and still honors its European counterparts.
#HAIL to Power Metal and #HAIL to you all!
Read Frank’s Guide to Power Metal, Part I: European here.
Follow Frank on Twitter: @FVS_Metalhead