Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gloryhammer - Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife (2013)

I’ve never been a very big fan of Alestorm. Mainly because I feel that most of their songs all sound the same. When I found out that Alestorm mastermind, Christopher Bowes, put together an epic power metal project I  was skeptical. From the start it looked like he was trying to achieve the “so corny it’s good” sound that power metal is known for with Gloryhammer. When done right it sounds incredible and when done wrong, it sounds like Dragon Guardian. When I was finally able to sit down and listen to Gloryhammer, it blew me away upon the first listen. “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” is a concept album based in medieval Scotland with an alternate history. Christopher Bowes new project passes with flying colors. The album is symphonic, epic, amazing and it never lets up.

Gloryhammer’s album starts off with an epic, marching track “Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy,” that really gives the listener the direction Bowes wants to take this band. The second track, “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee,” shows what this band is really capable of. It’s epic, catchy, cheesy and one of the best tracks on the album. “Angus Mcfife” continues the album along at a great pace, but is over shadowed by the next track. The fourth song, “Quest for the Hammer of the Glory”, is the best song on the album. The galloping beat of the track gives it an old school, 80’s vibe. It begs to be listened to over and over again. The album slows down with the ballad “Silent Tears of Frozen Princess.” While it’s a ballad, it doesn’t kill the mood or the flow of the album. The next two tracks “Amulet of Justice” and “Hail to Crail” pick the speed of the album back up and lead into the incredible instrumental “Beneath Cowdenbeath.” The album closes with it’s most epic, and longest track, “The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder.” Being over just ten minutes long, it’s a very fulfilling conclusion to the album.

I hope Christopher Bowes keeps the Gloryhammer name going, because he is on to something that could redefine the genre. I can’t remember the last time a power metal album came out that was this catchy and free of filler. There is not one part on the album that drags. “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” has everything  a fan of epic power metal needs. Great vocals, blistering solos and the cheesiest lyrics since Rhapsody of Fire’s “Power of the Dragonflame.” It’s still early in the year but it’s going to be hard to top this one.  Christopher Bowes has, hands down, created the best side project since Avantasia. “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” is one of this year’s best, bar none.


- Brian DuBois

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