Well folks, half of 2016 is over. While this year may not have been kind to many of us, it has been exceptional for the world of metal. So many great albums have been released thus far, and many more to come. As ItH’s resident Power Metal dude, I’ve been especially happy with the sub-genre’s set of releases in these first six months. In total, I have listened to 78 Power Metal albums from January – June. Many of them were great, some were okay, and some were dreadful. For the ones that were great, I wanted to choose my 10 favorites for the first half of 2016. It was quite difficult, but I was able to cut it down.
Here, for you, are my top 10 favorite Power Metal albums for the first half of 2016:
10. Thornbridge – What Will Prevail
This was one album I was anticipating when the year began, and it did not disappoint. Pure, European-style Power Metal. Every track has a certain uniqueness to it and remains strong after several listens. Melody-driven guitars, vocals that are strong and not too overbearing, and well-produced tracks that flow very well. I’m incredibly pleased with this record.
9. Great Master – Lion & Queen
I mentioned on twitter that Great Master’s new album Lion & Queen could very well be the best Power Metal album of 2016 by the end of the year. The reason why I said this is because of the immense passion each song displays. This Melodic Power Metal record does not let up from beginning to end. Every part of it is intense. One flaw: production lacks a bit. Don’t let that sway you, it’s still a wonderful listen.
8. Helion Prime – Helion Prime
I first became aware of Helion Prime from their Drake Equation EP. I couldn’t wait to hear their full-length debut when it came out. It is even better than I thought it would be. The science-inspired Power Metal band hit it out of the park with this album. Vocals are incredibly strong and the music compliments the science theme. An all-around fun album.
7. Almanac – Tsar
My favorite Symphonic Power Metal album thus far. Victor Smolski on guitar (ex-RAGE), multiple vocalists and an incredible symphonic sound gives us a rock opera that truly impressed me. I am really impressed by the production, considering the size of the band and music from an actual orchestra (not just a keyboard). Definitely one band I need to see live.
6. Arrayan Path – Chronicles of Light
I’ve been a fan of Arrayan Path for quite a while, and their latest album is by far my favorite. What makes me love this album the most is how they incorporate more traditional heavy metal sounds. When I listen to it I hear a Manowar vibe to it. It’s stronger and heavier than past records, but still keeps that European Power Metal spirit. Perfect combination for me.
5. Innerwish – Innerwish
I was a little weary of this album when I purchased it. that feeling quickly went away once I started listening. A deeply powerful Melodic Power Metal offering that provides incredible melody with a strong vocal presence. This album has a perfect balance of speed and strength, while giving off a painful sense of passion and care. Truly a remarkable record.
4. Farseer – Fall Before the Dawn
Before I go any further, first I must say…thank Dio for Bandcamp! It was there where I first heard about Farseer. This is the debut album by the Scottish band, and it is nearly perfect. True raise-your-sword Power Metal that just filled my heart with D&D glee. Excellent musicianship, awesome “cheesy” lyrics and powerful vocals makes Farseer’s debut a must have for Power Metal fans.
3. Mob Rules – Tales from Beyond
Power Metal veterans Mob Rules have constantly released great albums, and their latest is no different. In fact, this may be my favorite of theirs. A terrific-sounding record that you can listen to from beginning to end and not want to skip a track. Well-produced and powerful, this record will definitely be around come the end of the year. Keeping the Power Metal flame going strong.
2. Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
THEY ARE BACK! After two sub par (my opinion) albums the German-based NA Power Metal band Brainstorm have released a superb record in Scary Creatures. This was the first Power Metal album I listened to in 2016 and it’s still in heavy rotation today. Much stronger, heavier and darker than the previous two and has a much better flow. My comeback band of 2016.
1. Wisdom – Rise of the Wise
The Hungarian Power Metal warriors are back and better than ever! Rise of the Wise is quite possible their strongest offering to date, and it’s everything a European Power Metal style fan could want: over-the-top lyrics, tons of melody and clean, high-pitched vocals. You won’t hear much of a change in their style, but they make up for that with catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head. I love this record.
Follow Frank on Twitter: @FVS_Metalhead