Released: 2010, SPV
If you are not familiar with the lineage of PowerWorld the band line-up reads like a who’s who of second-tier German metal. There are ex-members of Gamma Ray, Freedom Call, Victory, and all of them have even served in other lesser known bands a well such as Moon Doc, Pump, Sanvoisen. There is an enormous amount of talent in the ranks of this act. Does all that technical ability all come together and translate well into a strong record? I’m very pleased to say yes!
PowerWorld despite the name aren’t all that powerful. In fact they are exceedingly melodic and the strength of the songs outweigh the heaviness factor. I didn’t hear the first album but my initial assumption that the band would be heavier than they are. After the opening few bars of ‘Cleansed By Fire’ the opening cut, I figured it would be a pretty heavy album. The opening moments sounds a bit like Priest’s song, ‘Painkiller’. However the band then throws the listener a curve ball and rapidly drops down into this uber-melodic style with huge sing-along gang vocals. An unexpected move to say the least, but a very welcome one. It made me sit up and pay attention to what was going to happen next.
What did happen next were a dozen songs of fantastic song-writing, catchy, hooky and very compelling. The band has a new front man, Andrew McDermott, but as I said, I didn’t hear the debut so I can’t say if he is better or worse in his new outfit. His voice is clear and powerful with some nice tones and even some very subtle hints of Jon Oliva as in when Jon sings slower and lower. I absolutely loved his performance on the Threshold album, DEAD RECKONING back in 2007. It was one of my top albums of the year and he sounds just as good here.
Despite being quite catchy and harmonious there are still plenty of crunchy guitars and nice soloing. Keyboards, piano and some acoustic guitar are sprinkled through the songs adding depth and character to what could be considered fairly conventionally written structures. PowerWorld are one of a few bands that hit that really sweet spot of heaviness and melody, like Pretty Maids, Bonfire, Jaded Heart etc. It’s a sound that hard to do well, but they have the ability to bridge the gap, heavy enough for the true metallers (‘Tame Your Demons’, ‘Evil In You’) and smooth enough for the melodic rockers. (‘Time will Change’). HUMAN PARASITE is a very entertaining, high-quality slab of melodic metal making it harder and harder to pick albums for the Top 20 of the year in 2010.