Power Metal has always been seen as a goofy, cheesy, fun genre in the realm of metal. It certainly is. The combination of fantasy-driven lyrics, melody and high-pitched, clean singing gives you the recipe for over-the-top tunes. However, there is a sub-genre of Power Metal that deviate from this path. That is the subject of this next Power Metal guide installment.
Part IV: Melodic
Don’t get me wrong. Melodic Power Metal can still contain similar lyric and vocal styles. Writings of dragons and warriors are still prevalent. The major difference is the music. While other Power Metal sub-genres have a more upbeat, anthemic feel to them, the melodic sound has a more somber and serious tone to it. Not to say it’s sad and dreary, but it doesn’t give you that “stand up and fight” feeling. It incorporates a bit of symphonic with it, and vocally, it lends itself to a more European style.
One of my personal favorite bands in this sub-genre is Kamelot. Hailing from the state of Florida, this group of musicians have been the champions of melodic Power Metal since the late ’90s. Mixing various styles of lyrics and joining it with a more serious sound, Kamelot have set the course for many other bands, such as Sonata Arctica, Cain’s Offering and Fierine. They’ve blended Power and traditional metal, along with some hard rock.
While Melodic Power Metal can sound a bit somber, that doesn’t mean every band in this sub-genre match their lyrics to that sound. A band to break that mold is Dragony. A fairly new band from Vienna, their debut album Legends (2011) was your standard Melodic Power Metal record. The release of their second album Shadowplay (2015) gave us something different. It had those normal melodic tunes but also mixed it up. From over-the-top songs (“Dr. Agony,” “Unicorn Union”) to anthemic beauties (“Shadowrunners,” “At Daggers Drawn”), you get a little bit of everything. This album, by the way, was in my top ten Power Metal albums of 2015.
Although the melodic style isn’t the most well-known sub-genre in Power Metal, it certainly is an important aspect of it. It’s also growing at a very strong rate. It’s almost considered a more artistic form of Power Metal. Bands like Axenstar, Messiah’s Kiss and Within Silence have released some incredible albums with this style, and I expect many more in the future.
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