Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards” marks the triumphant return of one of power metal’s most absurd, ridiculous, and beloved bands: Gloryhammer! Though this album does manage to distinguish itself from its predecessor considerably, it is unlikely to win over any new fans for the band. In other words, Gloryhammer continues to deliver their awesome brand of cheesy power metal.

The one particularly noticeable change on this album is that the band now shows a lot of influence from Rhapsody of Fire. This becomes evident immediately on “Rise of the Chaos Wizards”, as the choirs are reminiscent of just about every Rhapsody song ever written. The very next track features a section that is pure Alex Staropoli worship due to the way the keyboards are written. These are the most obvious homages to the Italian legends, but there are other more subtle ones as well.

One thing that becomes clear the further into the album you go is that many songs start out the same way: Thomas Winkler’s fantastic voice singing either a portion of the chorus or the entire thing. Though this isn’t necessarily bad, it does make quite a few of these songs relatively predictable. Nevertheless, “Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards” features many of the band’s strongest choruses. Tracks like “Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy”, “Victorious Eagle Warfare”, and “Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!” are among the band’s catchiest to date.

And then there’s “Universe On Fire”. For those who have not heard this track yet (the band boldly pre-released it), you might be in for a shock. This song is Gloryhammer’s effort at playing pop/disco/dance/something very awesome. Though the song mixes in some power metal elements, it largely shows the band moving in a different direction for a few minutes. Admittedly, this is not a style I would typically listen to, but Gloryhammer is so convincing in their attempt that it ends up being both the catchiest and best song on the album. It has a driving beat, primarily because of the lighter drumming, and is ultimately a very inspiring and uplifting tune.

Throughout the album, there are some nice surprises that the band uses to keep things fresh. For example, the aforementioned “Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy” features cowbell. Its use is somewhat minimal, but it does grab your attention. The following song, “The Hollywood Hootsman”, shows the band incorporating gang vocals, and the end of the song shows Winkler hitting the highest notes I’ve heard from him, to the point where it genuinely sounds like a different singer. This song is actually my least favourite, only because it isn’t as catchy as the rest of the album, but it is by no means weak.

As the record soldiers on, it continues delivering. “Heroes (of Dundee)” starts off a bit slower, but quickly transforms into yet another fantastic high-speed ode to glory. The “epic”, “Apocalypse 1992”, is really no different from the lengthy track of the last album in the sense that it is equally as good as the rest of the album. Though it is longer than anything else on the record, it doesn’t feel that way, which is both good and bad. It doesn’t provide the same sense of grandiosity that some power metal album closers do, but it also fits in alongside the rest of the album perfectly. Overall, it is a solid ending to a magnificent album. Though some of the band’s best songs remain on the debut, “Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards” is more consistent, and also shows the band unwilling to simply copy their first record.

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"Rise of the Chaos Wizards"
"Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!"
"Universe On Fire"
"Heroes (Of Dundee)

Final Rating
4.6/5 or 92%. 

Written by Scott 

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