Yes, power metal can be silly and over-the-top. That’s part of its charm. Gloryhammer are the answer to the question, “What if a band leaned in hard to all the most extra aspects of power metal?”
With a multi-record storyline involving an alternate medieval Scotland set in a world with unicorns, dragons, wizards, magic, and a hero named Angus McFife, the band even take their name from a famous Nordic tale (think Thor) and reference their horde of fans in the lyrics. It’s all on the nose and in the know.
Yet—and damn yet!—the storyline is wonderfully done and certainly more structurally enjoyable than another famous, televised fantasy story that most of your friends can’t shut up about. Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex sounds hilarious, and that overt silliness only plays into how well done it is.
Further, the music’s even more impressive. Gloryhammer graduated summa cum laude from the Rhapsody Of Fire school of symphonic power metal, which is to say everything is fast, melodic, and deliriously extravagant. As bombastic as the lyrics are, the band’s sound magnify that hundredfold.
Flashy (but quite tasteful) keyboard melodies often lead the way, but triumphant guitar leads and a battle-ready rhythm section bolster the music to the highest of mystical mountains. The results are not necessarily surprising for those familiar with power metal, but even those who look down on the style (shame!) won’t be able to wipe the grins off their smug faces with how gleefully Legends plays into the band’s strengths.
That lack of surprise only highlights why Gloryhammer’s latest is so successful: they are a band who know exactly what they want to do and how to accomplish those goals. This is such a power metal album down to the smallest details that in lesser hands, it could have become a parody of itself. Instead, Legends feels like a magnificent reminder of how to pull off a style many may call cheesy. Gloryhammer are all-in on the cheesiness, and it only makes the result more endearing and excellent.