Listening to a Gloryhammer album is like watching one of those cheesy but brilliant straight to video sci-fi movie trailers from the 1980s. You know, the ones which always seemed to begin with the same overly dramatic, gravel-throated narrator proclaiming, “it was a time of heroes”, or “it was a time of war”. Well, whereas those movies generally struggled to do justice to their wildly optimistic advertising campaigns, Gloryhammer pretty much guarantees maximum enjoyment every time.
Three albums into their career and the Anglo-Swiss power metal act formed by Alestorm frontman Christopher Bowes remain every bit as potty as they were back in 2010. However, it takes a lot of dedication to be this ridiculous, and as much as they might appear to be the result of a drunken orgy involving members of Monty Python and the casts of Battle Beyond the Stars and Excalibur, a lot of hard work has clearly gone into each of their extremely silly, but also extremely enjoyable records.
Unsurprisingly, the band’s latest offering of swords and unicorns – the magnificently titled Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex (Napalm Records) – continues the ongoing saga of Angus
McFife and his battle with evil sorcerer, Zargothrax. Opening by taking us ‘Into the Terrorvortex of Kor-Virliath’, the album kicks off properly with ‘The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)’ as it spurts hot power metal all over your face with computer game keyboards and epic choir. Sort of like Rhapsody of Fire if they were from Cowdenbeath.
Grab a sparkly keyboard and gallop riff yourself into oblivion with ‘Masters of the Galaxy’, before heading to ‘The Land of Unicorns’, a song which boasts the mightiest of Caledonian choruses. The true questing begins with the ‘Power of the Laser Dragon Fire’ as we head to the plaguelands of Caithness to find the ‘Legendary Enchanted Jetpack’. Made of ultimate cosmic steel, the song flies into the heavens with a massive hammer and a majestic “woah-oh” chorus and keeps you safe from the clutches of the castle goblin and his laser trolls.
The lyrics, “laser-powered goblin smasher”, and “thunder striking wizard thrasher” tells you everything you need to know about eponymously titled ‘Gloryhammer’. Oh yes, many thousands of plastic hammers will be held proudly aloft in large fields over the next few years. ‘Hootsforce’ is part computer game soundtrack and part the best song about hammers, rings, and Strathmiglo you’ve ever heard. “Have you ever killed a goblin on the moon?” Well, listen to ‘Battle for Eternity’ and you’ll soon wish you had.
And so, with no fear of any possible Game of Thrones final season disappointment, prepare for epic fight with ‘The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny’. Comprising no less than five parts, the imperious closing track is everything you could possibly want from twelve minutes of gloriously galactic heavy metal.
Heroically bonkers, unforgettably silly, and yet undeniably awesome, Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex is not only as epic as it gets, but will probably go some way to putting the name of Auchtermuchty on the tourism map.
8 / 10