Reviewed: November, 2020
Released: September 25, 2020 Hoove Child Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Canada’s Hrom actually came to my attention thanks to Traveler and Gatekeeper vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud. He posted a video to Facebook and I am so glad he did. The video he posted was Hrom’s third full length, LEGENDS OF POWERHEART: PART II. The title obviously means there is a Part One so I’m jumping in kind of late here but…..better late than never! Formed in 2008 by Jan Loncik on vocals and guitars. A native of Slovakia who relocated to Canada, the name Hrom is Slovak for Thunder! That just upped the coolness scale, right? Loncik actually handled all instruments on the debut. Traveler guitarist Matt Ries joined in 2010 so Loncik could concentrate solely on vocals. In fact, there are several connections between the two Calgary, Alberta bands. This seems to be more of an epic power metal project and the result is incredible. Being this is their third album, I am curious to dig into their back catalog but I will save that for a later time. I’d rather listen to this album without any predetermined ideas of how I think it should sound. What I found is an epic power metal album that relies on creating a huge epic atmosphere on each song.
After the intro, which I truly think is the only time this band uses any keys or symphonics, the first proper song, “Ethereal Travel” sets you up for how the next fifty minutes are going to go. Speed, riffs, soaring vocals and great solos. Of course this is power metal so the chorus is huge. “Stargunner” is another speedy number that hooks you in once the chorus hits. The tremolo riffs over Jan Loncik’s melodic vocals in that chorus is the hook. Brilliant! “Spectral Horizon” starts with a huge intro builds the atmosphere before jumping into the riffs and the speed. The melodies on this album are incredible and the chorus on this song shows you do not need anything long and drawn out to be effective….”Spectral horizon, where will I be going to next?” And at the very end of the song but what do my wonderous ears hear? Some guest screams from none other than the Traveler vocalist himself. Jean-Pierre Abboud! This is probably my favorite on the album; even though narrowing down a favorite could prove impossible since that could change. There is not a bad song to be had here. “Triforce Command” is loaded with monstrous riffs, especially that bridge immediately before and after that godly solo. Wait….there’s Jean Pierre again! Did my mind just change about favorite song? Then “Serpent Rider” is seven minutes of epic heavy metal beauty. Yep….that struggle is real!
For the past decade there has been a huge movement towards traditional heavy metal, fondly dubbed the NWOTHM. Canada is one of the leaders of this movement. The quality of metal coming out of there is incredible and Hrom is no exception. It’s not everyday you see a band you’ve never heard before and it turn out to be this exciting and this good. As I said earlier, my next step is to dig into their past catalog. This album was a complete surprise for me. The moment I heard it I knew I had to own it. I’m sure the same will happen to you. Essential metal!