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Power Theory – Force of Will Award winner

Power Theory
Force of Will
by Rachel Montgomery at 19 November 2019, 5:17 PM

POWER THEORY is an American Power Metal band featuring a traditional five-man lineup and epic, powerful music. If you’re looking for thematic but simple Power Metal with good musicianship and theming without the bells and whistles, this is for you.

Morior Invictus” is the intro to the album, featuring a heavily produced high-pitched guitar that almost sounds like a synthesizer. The musicianship is good on it, though, featuring intricate work and nice harmonies near the end, culminating in a more atmospheric tone.

Force of Will” is a traditional Power Metal song, featuring loud, heavy, melodic instrumentals. The vocalist has an operatic, powerful low tenor that lends itself well to the genre. However, like the intro, the song is highly produced, and it’s especially apparent in the guitars. The vocal harmonies are great though, especially in the chorus. The guitar solo picks up a third melody riffing off the first, keeping the song engaging with variety.

Draugr” starts with muddier guitars before launching into a speeding riff. The tone is lower than the last song, and the vocals are more intense and gravellier. The guitars have some great edge in the chorus and as the song builds. The lyrical narrative is enticing and fits well with the ominous, angry tone of the song. The song has some interesting crescendos and descends near the refrain, varying the song as it goes on.

If Forever Ends Today” has a steadier, anthemic riff from the get-go. The melody and the vocals have a slight Nu Metal bend thanks to the down-tuned guitars, steady beat and the gravelly vocals, minus the angsty lyrics.

Mountain of Death” has a slightly different melody, so it hasn’t become entirely monotonous yet, but it’s similar enough to the previous song. They both have strong, anthemic, mid-tempo music. The vocal melody line is beautiful and full of varying notes. The solo carries the vocal melody throughout with a little variation here and there. Overall, they’re both solid songs, but I’m growing concerned that the album will be full of similar-sounding songs without variation.

Th13teen” shows some promise, beginning with an intricate, almost acoustic-sounding rhythm guitar line before transitioning into a traditional Speed Metal song and a syncopated vocal opening, which is choral background pre-verse. It’s faster than the last two songs, at least, until the verse kicks in. Then, the song becomes mid-tempo and anthemic like the last two. The guitar in the solo almost has a dueling quality to it with some of the melodic starts and stops.

Spitting Fire” starts off as pure Thrash. The variety is getting good, and the vocal melody is energetic; everything from the instrumentation to the harmonies fit thematically with the song. “Bringer of Rain” brings the tempo back down with an ambient beginning with acoustic-sounding guitars. It doesn’t last long, but the thundering tempo fits into a tempest-at-sea theme. The melody shift in the chorus is harmonic and really entices the listener, bringing them back in the song.

Path of Glory” is a fully charged song that rides hard from beginning to end. It has a galloping guitar riff and a high-pitched, clear and operatic vocal melody to carry the song through. It showcases that the singer can hit the high notes well. It also features great, crashing snare throughout.

Shadow of Man” is a little slower, still low and heavy. It’s more anthemic and pounding. Some guttural emphasis in the second verse is really well-placed, punchy to draw the listener back into the song or make you pump your fist. The solo carries its own melody over the riff and the long notes are beautiful against the punchier, banging vocal melody. It’s my favorite song instrumentally and thematically. The melody change at the end was unexpected and a pleasant surprise.

The Hill I Die On” is the closing song. It sounds like a slow song because of the intro, which would make sense because of the elements shown so far on the album. Lyrically, it begins as a Folk narrative, complete with lighter, softer guitars that almost sound like a mandolin. Then, it explodes into a faster, heavier melody with drum rolls and galloping guitars. The choral elements throughout the song make for a grand finale, as do the melody changes.

Overall, the album demonstrates great theming and musicianship. While parts of it sounded heavily produced, especially at the beginning, and some sounded a little consistent, it was a great ride with overall distinctive songs. If you’re looking for a hard, fast, Power Metal ride throughout the entire album without all the songs sounding the same, this album is for you!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Morior Invictus
2. Force of Will
3. Draugr
4. If Forever Ends Today
5. Mountain of Death
6. Albion
7. Th13teen
8. Spitting Fire
9. Bringer of Rain
10. Path of Glory
11. Shadow of Man
12. The Hill I Die On
Lineup:
Jim Rutherford – Vocals
Rob “BB” Ballinger – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Carlos Alvarez – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Alan D'Angelo – Bass & Backing Vocals
Johnny Sasso – Drums & Backing Vocals
Piet Sielck – Vocals on "Spitting Fire
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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