ALBUM REVIEW: Babymetal – Metal Galaxy

The new Babymetal album starts off with a funky blend of techno video game and chunky 90s metal power chords. It then whiplashes into some futuristic techno power metal thing. The effect is a dizzying display of aural assault. If you aren’t into mind-bending disparate genre mixing, then you probably won’t like Metal Galaxy (earMusic/BMD Fox Records). Continue reading

BABYMETAL Shares a New Video for ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti’

Global metal sensation BABYMETAL has shared a new music video for their single ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti’ from their upcoming album Metal Galaxy out October 11th via earMUSICThe track comes in the midst of their North American tour that culminates in their first US arena show at The Forum in Los Angles on album release day, where they will bring their huge, Japanese-style production to the States for the first time. Metal Galaxy coming October 11th, features Joakim Brodén of Sabaton, Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage from Polyphia, Thai-rapper F.HERO and B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto (full tracklisting below). Watch the video now! Continue reading

Sabaton – The Great War

With a career based on stories of warfare and combat throughout the ages, it was only a matter of time until Swedish power metallers Sabaton returned to focus on one specific event in particular. Having previously dealt with different aspects of World War II on Coat of Arms in 2010 and on 2014’s Heroes (both Nuclear Blast), the band have turned their attentions this time towards World War 1 on latest offering, The Great War (Nuclear Blast). Continue reading

Civil War – Gods and Generals

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It has been three very quick years since one of, if not the biggest, power metal acts Sabaton released their crowning glory Carolus Rex (Nuclear Blast), a bastion of bombastic brilliance, and one of the best Euro Metal albums. However, guitarist Rikard Sundén, drummer Daniel Mullback and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr departed shortly after its release to establish Civil War with Astral Doors’ vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson.

Power Metal is an odd genre. Everyone is a strong, clean technician and there are so many competent acts, though it is very hard to be exceptional and damn near impossible to be distinctive or unique. Sabaton achieved that latter feat, and not just through having a characteristic vocalist in Joakim Brodén. Considering their contributions, the trio of ex-‘ton’s have done well to try and strike out and find their own voice again and while there are moments, such as ‘USS Monitor’ where you can imagine Brodén’s voice enhancing the chorus (Johansson, with a higher pitched Kai Hansen meets Biff Byford reedy voice, doesn’t have half the charisma of the Sabaton man), in the main they have managed to clear enough space to pitch their own towel on the crowded beach of Power Metal.

So, half the battle won, and Gods and Generals (Napalm) begins well enough with a rapid fire pairing of ‘War of the World’ and ‘Bay of Pigs’. However, things quickly go downhill, with the duo of ‘Braveheart’ and ‘The Mad Piper’, which it has to be said are simply fucking naff and frankly embarrassing; keyboard led, nursery rhyme melodies, (not to mention the dog-shit bagpiping) and lyrics that can’t have taken more than five minutes to write. Fortunately things do pick up and by the time the more epic ‘Schindler’s Ark’ comes around, a track with a vocal nod to legendary David Coverdale, and a musical tip to Angra, the early missteps are nearly forgotten, if not forgiven.

But, as I said, it’s easy to be a decent power metal band, but it’s hard to standout; one, because these are narrow lines we’re trapped between, and two, because the very best prove how big the gulf in class is. Civil War has a heritage to hook people in, but they need to improve the music to get them to keep coming back.

 

6.0/10

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STEVE TOVEY