For the most part, power metal is universally a joke around metal heads due to it’s crap songwriting, lack of riffs, hardly touching down with “metal” because it’s so vagina-esque, and the unbelievably cheesy imagery, as seen above. I mean, that’s wolf shirt material right there. It might even be on a shirt somewhere. For those unfamiliar with the depths of this scene in America, it has balls. That’s right! American power metal (uspm) is another world and actually contains cool stuff. Like metal, non gay, riffs, and other nice stuff that metal heads enjoy. USPM is basically NWOBM (new wave of British heavy metal for you super falses) but with a couple twists.
It’s a bit ballsier, to sum it. It’s a bit hard to explain, but easy to hear. It all started when the hilarious band Manowar, and Manilla Road dropped the earliest USPM releases in ’80 and ’82., and we as Americans had claimed our take on the early English metal scene. Manilla Road were the first to find the sound, and Manowar (somehow) really brought it together by getting the sound out there a bit. Manowar are lame and aren’t that good anyway, so lets move on from that.
That’s the first song off of Invasion, the debut album by Manilla Road. Yep, that poorly produced, but still catchy and rifftastic tune is it. As time went on, and the genre continued, two bands came onto the scene to completely change it forever. These two groups, named Fates Warning and Brocas Helm hit the scene in ’84 and they both hit it hard. The significance of these bands is overlooked because of their subtle addition. By then, these guys were stepping up the heavy and the awesome riffs and getting some really cool song writing ideas in there. Brocas Helm really hit this scene hard, and unfortunately it made a dead impact.
The band was never really looked upon highly, or even heard of very well among the metal cretins at the time. Where these guys slam new into this genre, while other ones genres were starting and smacking audiences in the face, is their crazy song writing, amazing riffs, and harsh vocals (for the time, and the genre. obviously they aren’t very harsh at all.) These guys paved the way for all heavy uspm bands to follow. Not to mention their bassist really created an amazing texture for a treble ridden genre with his amazing chops.
So where does this all lead us? As of today, all the mentioned bands so far are still active and playing and creating. But where would a genre be without new and exciting bands? So here, I will list my three favorite modern USPM bands, and give an example of a kickin song from them with a youtube link to a kickin’ song, and my favorite albums of theirs.
Albums to check out: Down Among the Dead Men, Traveller
Albums to check out: Over the Top, High Speed GTO EP
Albums to check out: The August Engine, The Locust Years
There you have it folks. That’s my quick review of the USPM scene. If I have any details wrong, leave me a comment. If you’re right, I’ll make sure to change it. Of course, some of this is opinion, so shut the fuck up if you disagree (just kidding, I love you guys).