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Gloryhammer - Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex Award winner

Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex
by Martin Knap at 08 July 2019, 8:14 PM

At this point I think it’s safe to say that GLORYHAMMER are the biggest rising star of UK Power Metal, which is kind of odd given that they come across almost as a parody band. For some reason Euro-Power Metal didn’t take hold much in the UK and the UK Power Metal bands that are well know internationally have a different attitude from those on the continent. DRAGONFORCE revamped Euro-Power Metal, making it less nerdy and self-serious and more palatable for broader audiences. Another UK band that has achieved big international success is ALESTORM, who gained popularity with their lighthearted, almost comical take on Folk/Power Metal. GLORYHAMMER are a brainchild of Christopher Bowes, ALESTORM’s lead vocalist and keyboardist, and the project has his sense of humor written all over it.

GLORYHAMMER lovingly satirize the Symphonic Power Metal sound of RHAPSODY OF FIRE and Luca Turilli’s solo work, especially his 2002 neoclassical Power Metal magnum opus “Prophet of the Last Eclipse,” that is a little bit more hard-hitting and less flowery and theatrical than RHAPSODY OF FIRE, but at the same time very elaborate and layered. The similarities go down to the use of piercing “techno” synths that are often prominent in the songs, which is no wonder given that Christopher Bowes is a keyboardist. The songs are fun, catchy, hard-hitting (just like ALESTORM’s), but there is more of neoclassical drama and pomp melodically, and of course rich orchestration is incorporated. The result is, again, often a LUCA TURILLI worship, but they are not aping one band’s music. GLORYHAMMER is very “meta” or satirical not just in its lyrical content but sonically as well, the discerning Power Metal fan will detect that they are taking jabs at Teutonic and Swedish Power Metal as well.

Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex” faithfully follows the classic Power Metal format: it has an overdramatic intro with spoken word and nine songs in total; most of them are short to medium length and the closer is a twelve and a half minutes long epic number. Songs like “The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust),” “The Land of Unicorns,” or “Legendary Enchanted Jetpack” are very energetic with big, uplifting, anthemic choruses. They can be exhilarating to the point of being funny, what makes them so entertaining are also the simplistic rhyming schemes in which words like “ring – king” or “story – glory” which are chosen for maximum impact but it also has a comical effect. Besides the more theatrical RHAPSODY-esque songs “Gloryhammer” is an obvious HAMMERFALL parody: it has a less neoclassical feeling and has more of that “steely”, chest-thumping HAMMERFALL vibe; the somewhat solemn “Battle of Eternity” has bit of a STRATOVARIUS vibe, and it features STRATOVARIOUS-esque keyboard solo as well. “Hootsforce” stands out with its bubbly, flamboyant folk melody, I suspect that it was a bit inspired by the song “New Century's Tarantella” from “Prophet of the Last Eclipse”.

This album is a blast front to back, it’s zany, over the top and very entertaining. The production is amazing, with full orchestra backing and even full-blown orchestral sections (like the gorgeous outro in the final song), the guitar shredding and synth playing is top notch, and let’s not forget Thomas Winkler’s vocal performance that is equally outstanding. If you want some lighthearted music that’s also super tight musically, GLORYHAMMER have what your heart desires.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Into the Terrorvortex of Kor-Virliath
2. The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)
3. Masters of the Galaxy
4. The Land of Unicorns
5. Power of the Laser Dragon Fire
6. Legendary Enchanted Jetpack
7. Gloryhammer
8. Hootsforce
9. Battle for Eternity
10. The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny

James Cartwright - Bass
Ben Turk - Drums
Paul Templing - Guitars
Christopher Bowes - Keyboards
Thomas Winkler - Vocals

Record Label: Napalm Records


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