Frank’s Guide to Power Metal, Part III: Symphonic

Gloryhammer
Gloryhammer

Now that we have explained the two major sub-genres of Power Metal, let’s go a little bit deeper. Although there are several more, most of them have a little number of bands associated with it. As I examined it more closely I realized there are three that seem to attract musicians to their style.

Let’s start with one that I truly enjoy!

Power Metal, Part III: Symphonic

Let me first start off with this: Symphonic Power Metal and Symphonic Metal are NOT the same. Symphonic Metal take on traditional sounds and will commonly use guttural vocals. Symphonic Power Metal normally gets its symphony sounds from a keyboard while including the European style. Sonically and lyrically speaking, it basically copies the European style, while adding the epic sound of symphony. Many bands in the sub-genre usually release concept albums.

One band associated with this style that I’ve really enjoyed is Gloryhammer. Many people who know me (through social media or real life) are aware of my love for this band. Started by Alestorm vocalist Christopher Bowes, Gloryhammer combines symphonic and epic fantasy elements to create the most over-the-top Power Metal band to date. Although very cheesy, the new album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards hits each note perfectly. It’s one of the best Symphonic Metal albums I’ve heard in a while.

Some bands tiptoe the line between Symphonic Power Metal and Symphonic Metal. Almanac and Serenity are great examples. These types of bands can be put in both genres, as they can pass for both. To my ear, they have just enough Power Metal qualities to be added to the sub-genre. There are also bands that switch from one to another. Nightwish is the perfect example. Early in their career they had a true Symphonic Metal sound. Over the past three albums, however, their Power elements increased while the symphonic aspect lightened up just a bit.

Ever since the early 2000s Symphonic Power Metal has gotten more popular. Some bands, such as Avantasia, Dreamtale and Rhapsody Of Fire, like to stick with the fun, goofy style. Others, such as Serenity, The Redhead Project and Delirion, take a more serious approach to their sound. It’s grown incredibly over the past few years that some North American PM bands will add a symphonic element in a few songs. It helped Power Metal rise back up and will continue to help it grow.

Be sure to check out Frank’s Guide to Power Metal, Part I and Part II.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @FVS_Metalhead

• • • • •