1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

What Is Power Metal?

By

Helloween

Helloween

SPV Records

Power Metal:

Power metal mixes heavy metal with thrash, speed and symphonic elements. European bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray started the power metal movement in the late ‘80s, with the genre exploding in the ‘90s with Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, and Stratovarius leading the way for future power metal bands.

The main sound of the genre hasn’t changed much, with the vocals still soaring high and the guitar solos flying free. Nowadays, bands like Dragonforce and Theocracy are keeping power metal strong, engaging a new generation of metalheads.

Musical Style:

Most guitar work in power metal is played at a fast speed, with thrash-like riffing and wild solos that can go on for an extended period of time. The bassist usually just stays with the rhythm guitarist. The drummer relies heavily on double bass work, adding in some complex fills and cymbal work as well. The keyboard work ranges from band to band, with some bands using the keys for simple melodies, while others create an orchestration effect for the music.

Vocal Style:

Vocalists sing in a high register, quite similar to Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson and Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford. Their range is usually wide, with high notes being the norm.

Power Metal Pioneers:

Helloween
In 1987, the two-part epic concept album Keeper Of The Seven Keys put the German power metal band on the map. Both of these albums are really where the birth of power metal began. Taking NWOBHM and adding melodic elements to the sound is what led to Helloween’s early success, and the forward momentum of the power metal genre as a whole.

Blind Guardian
While forming around the same time as Helloween, it wouldn’t be until later releases where the band’s full potential would be unleashed. While they did play power metal in the early days, Blind Guardian tended to lean towards speed metal on 1988’s Battalions Of Fear and 1989’s Follow The Blind.

Gamma Ray
When Helloween guitarist and songwriter Kai Hansen left the band in 1988, he formed his own project, Gamma Ray. Hansen kept to his power metal roots in his new band, with Gamma Ray eventually becoming an underground hit for fans of the genre. The band is best known for their epic 1995 album Land Of The Free.

Recommended Power Metal Albums:

Helloween - Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1
Stratovarius - Dreamspace
Crimson Glory - Transcendence
Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free
Blind Guardian - Nightfall In Middle-Earth
Hammerfall - Glory To The Brave
Iced Earth - Horror Show
Dragonforce - Valley Of The Damned
Theocracy - Theocracy
Primal Fear - Jaws Of Death

Essential Power Metal Albums
Details of these recommended power metal albums.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.