power metal

Stratovarius – Polaris +live

Pairing Polaris with a 14 track live disc recorded around the world, is a great move on Armoury’s part. It is a chance for fans and detractors to hear the new guitar player (Matias Kupianinen) in live action, and he more than stands up to the challenge. Recording this over a few shows means the band can make sure it’s their best performances before it’s put out. Of course Stratovarius don’t have bad performances so I’m sure it was tough picking the tracks.

Sabaton – Coat of Arms

I dare say that Sabaton make the most uplifting songs about war this side of ‘The Trooper’! On Coat of Arms, the sixth record for the Swedish warriors but first with a proper North American release, Sabaton focus on the battles of World War II.

Delain – Lucidity

As for the bulk of the original album, it’s what you would expect from a former member of Within Temptation (Westerholt): soaring vocals, bombastic guitar solos, pounding drums, lush keyboard and symphonic string arrangements. All played with subtlety and an attention to contrast that it seems only those in power or progressive metal remember any more

Rage – Strings To A Web

My first listen to this record had me tagging it as a possibility for my album of the year, my second listen had me not too sure about it, but my third, fourth and fifth brought me right back around to my original opinion. Strings To A Web may well be Rage’s finest.

Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy

The Obsidian Conspiracy had an almost insurmountable expectation being the follow up from TGE and both solo records, which were great. Nevermore fans will be disappointed with this new album however, as the record doesn’t really deviate from the Nevermore formula and some of the songs are just plain stale.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony

The Wicked Symphony is exactly what you want from an Avantasia record. The production sounds huge, and clear, there isn’t a bum note in the playing, the songs are catchy as hell (I defy you to not sing along with “Dying For an Angel”) and the silly, tongue-in-cheekiness of the Edguy lyrics are left behind