The story of metal is not linear. We didn’t arrive at the mayhem lurking in our Spotify playlists through a measured progression of technique, style, and genre. Rather, the evolution came in leaps and bounds, with dead ends and bursts of growth and pockets of innovation. To continue the evolutionary metaphor: the Cambrian Explosion of metal shot off in the mid 1980’s, as subgenres and geniuses and success combined into a specimen closely resembling much of modern metal. But the growth, although frantic, wasn’t instantaneous; rather, it seemed to expand exponentially from a single source, a catalyst in a chain reaction. That incipient band, the patient zero of metal as we know it today, is Iron Maiden. More precisely, the stratospheric success of The Number of the Beast, with it’s intricate compositions, transgressive lyrics, and trailblazing progressivity, diverged metal from hard rock completely and legitimized metal as a commercial viability, heralding the eruption of metal in the years to follow.
I've been on a power metal kick lately. Oh, you've noticed have you? What with writing about Blind Guardian recently (and Iron Maiden, the power metal precursors), I've been dusting off old CD's. These pieces of plastic were the adornments of my teenage years, confused and lost in the same generic haze that envelops most people at that age. It was a good time, I must say. I had just discovered so many great bands: Dream Theater, Pantera, Metallica, Opeth, Children of Bodom. And Edguy. I was at the perfect age for their antics, particularly those of their earlier albums, then fresh off the press. Before they had turned up their personas to eleven, before they had signed to Nuclear Blast and released their massive Hellfire Club, Edguy was a brave band, doing many different things within their power metal classification. Mandrake is the perfect example of that, featuring a dark perspective on what power metal should be doing along with plenty of 80's pop influences. From the first track, I was hooked, my Blind Guardian saturated ears opening up completely to this new-yet-familiar sound.
Rapidfire reviews of new albums from Lorna Shore, Mutoid Man, and Adrenaline Mob.