Hideous growl a microsecond later: "…Magical Forest!!!""
One Word Review: Entertaining
Power Paladin… As soon as I heard the name, I knew there was great potential here, and I had to check them out.
Originally named Paladin and forged in Iceland, they changed their name in 2020, and fortunately, did not fall into the trap of one of their inspirations, to name their band Paladin Of Fire. Instead they opted for the clearly much more impressive Power Paladin. Power Rhapsody would not have worked either, but I am one of those people, who have never really gotten over what happened back in 2006. Sorry, back to the album...
This is the most entertaining symphonic heavy metal album, I have heard in several years. Just based on the band name, I imagined that these guys must have a great sense of humor. This turns out to be true. Fortunately, they also know how to play and write great songs.
With a singer that goes all in, and overboard whenever possible, and musicians that play fast, hard and with a strong sense of melody, this is an album of overblown proportions. But in the good way. The band really nails the balance between every single element in their music, and manage to create songs that are immediately captivating, and contain depth and lots of fascinating detours. This is no mean feat. The two guitarists Ingi and Bjarni deserve a special mention, as they tie the music together with strong riffs and great playing.
Highlights are scattered all around the battlefield. Charging right out of the gates at high speed, Kraven The Hunter opens the album with a vigorous attack on the senses. It is a strong opener and it sets the stage. Righteous Fury follows in pure melodic fashion. It has a feel of early Rhapsody going on, which is very convincing and brings moments of true happi-metal-ness.
Evermore has a bit of narration, that feels like it has sprung forth from a lost Rhapsody album, only here, it feels like the narrator is galloping over the music and is swiftly gone, almost before you notice him. Thankfully.
Dark Crystal showcases that great sense of humor, I mentioned. In a song that is beautifully constructed, the addition of short, manic growls, which suddenly pop in to finish sentences, make me laugh out loud. They just fit perfectly here. I am not a fan of growling vocals, but the timing is perfect, and they add to the tension, in a way that is both extremely overblown and hilariously comical, yet completely serious. Add one of the best choruses of the album, and you have my current favorite song.
This song reminds me of glorious Rhapsody moments of yore. "We're in search of the dark crystal" has never, ever, had such a powerful impact. The way the song embraces everything from the highest, ear-piercing screams to the deepest growls, through spacey keyboards, epic melodies and hymn-like choruses, is just fist-clenchingly satisfying.
The great moments keep coming throughout the album. While listening to Ride The Distant Storm, I imagine guiding an imaginary orchestra, and often flail my arms wildly, while sitting in my couch sipping a beer. This music has that effect on me, and it underlines the positive effect the album has. I want to conquer that storm they are singing about.
Fortunately the band doesn’t fall prey to The Narrator’s Curse. Instead, they gently incorporate short and extremely silly narration when deemed necessary, as in the beginning of Creatures of the Night. It brings a smile to my face before the song has even begun, as I can imagine this being taken straight out of a Monty Python sketch.
Into The Forbidden Forest sounds like a title to an Adventure Gamebook of the eighties. The song opens with a brilliant guitar melody, leading the way into total epicness. The chorus is superbly powerful, and I get the urge to sing along madly. Hopefully I will catch this band live one fine day, and they will play this song. When the slow “He is the chosen one...”-part arrives, I can't help but yet again think of Rhapsody, and their urge to underline epic moments with narration. Here the epic atmosphere is captured without the need of anyone talking over the music, and I really appreciate that. Closing the song, that brilliant chorus puts a powerful ending to a majestic song.
There Can Be Only One closes the album with piano slowly building up to another totally epic song. The way it builds and releases its power in the first verse is very special. As lead singer Atli Guolaugsson goes into subsonic falsetto, I can’t help but smile widely, and try to shriek along in joyous celebration, even as I turn up the volume to drown out my own voice. The feeling of this song is just so great, as every instrument works together in what feels like a huge river of melody, where everything flows together, be it guitar drums, keyboard, piano, voice and whatever else the band can throw in. It is a chilling ending to the album.
It feels like a lot of fun went into the creation of With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel. This shines through often, and it gives the album a special vibe. Small atmospheric touches dot the album, and add to its many colored flavors.
If you are looking for a Heavy Metal album that is powerful, symphonic, fun, melodious and sing-a-longly, you can do no better than Power Paladin's With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel. It is a most impressive debut, and I hope we are on the threshold of a band, that will explore and expand all their potential even further in the future.
Written By Steen
Online: Friday, March 25, 2022
Kraven The Hunter
Creatures Of The Night