Released: 2013, AFM
It’s rare I’ll be so impressed by the debut album of a brand new band but to me, Gloryhammer is one of the most exciting bands of the past few years to come out. Although they are a new band, pretty much everyone in the band have been doing other projects over the past few years but this is the first jump to the big leagues as the band was signed to Napalm records for their debut TALES FROM THE KINGDOM OF FIFE.
The first most noticeable thing is the gorgeous cover art by what looks like Eric Phillipe. The warrior portrayed on the front is presumably the main character Angus McFife. Angus looks like he could give Hector (Hammerfall’s mascot) a run for his money in a head-to-head hammerwar. Everything about this band is totally cool. The band name, the logo, the song titles, and of course the 10 track 48 minute long album is a concept album culminating with monster epic track called, ‘The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder’!
The album has al the elements in Metal I enjoy, speed, power, soaring vocals, blazing solos, pounding double-kick drums, orchestrations and dynamic song-writing all presented with top-notch personal and individual performances by the musicians. Thomas Winkler delivers the fantastic tale of Angus McFife without the slightest bit of irony and his powerful dramatic voice really brings the story to life. From the brooding and ominous, classically-fuelled opening narration to the dying notes of the final epic, every minute of this record is Power Metal heaven. The big sing-along choruses and orchestration give the whole album a larger than life feel, which is essential to this type of Metal. Highlights for me are the tracks are the raging opener ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee’, the mid-tempo piece, ‘Quest For the Hammer Of Glory’ and the soaring and uplifting ‘Magic Dragon’.
TALES FROM THE KINGDOM OF FIFE is an early contender for album of the year for me. Even if your tolerance for epic, symphonic Power Metal is low, this is one of the better albums you are likely to hear in this style.