Sometimes you really do only need to look at an album cover to know what you’ll be getting, and just one glance at Space Ninjas From Hell (Napalm Records), the latest album from German power metal act Victorius will be more than sufficient. Reveling unashamedly in its distinctly mid-late 1980s vibe, the frankly ridiculous cover art features robot ninjas, laser katanas, electric shuriken, dragons, purple skies, plenty of fire, and flying sharks shooting lasers from their eyes. If none of that piques your interest even slightly then it’s probably best to move swiftly along.
Formed in 2004, this the band’s fifth full-length release, and although they haven’t really changed their style, since 2018’s Dinosaur Warfare – Legend of the Power Saurus EP (Napalm Records), the five-piece have certainly joined labelmates Gloryhammer on their quest for epic storylines and ludicrous song titles.
Opening with the bombastic Dragonforce-esque ‘Tale of the Sunbladers’, the album achieves immediate lift-off and never looks back. A pounding rhythm section that requires no time off for token ballads, swathes of glorious keyboards, and a succession of riffs that won’t quit, all covered with typically soaring vocals and a tawagoto load of epic choruses you’ll be singing to yourself in the shower or on the way to work for weeks. Those of you with more than a passing acquaintance with the European power metal scene may find a few of the melodies a little familiar, but such is the enthusiasm and quality on display, that’s an easy thing to forgive.
Whether you’re preparing to meet the ‘Super Sonic Samurai’, the ‘Evil Wizard WuShu Master’, a ‘Wasabi Warmachine’, or an army of ‘Nippon Knights’, or possibly even incurring the ‘Wrath of the Dragongod’ while getting ready for a ‘Shuriken Showdown’ or an ‘Astral Assassin Shark Attack’ at the ‘Cosmic Space Commando Base’, then the ‘Space Ninjas From Hell’ will be there to do battle with mighty choruses which are catchy as ABSOLUTE FUCK. ‘Ninjas Unite’ indeed.
Spoken word closer ‘Shinobi Strike 3000’ rounds off the utterly bonkers proceedings and you’re quickly left with only one decision. Whether to play the whole thing again straight away or to turn it up even louder and then play it again.
8 / 10