Review: Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards – Napalm Records – Release: September 25, 2015.
For some time Gloryhammer was known as ‘the other band of Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes’, even though they already drew ears with their debut album “Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” from 2013. Epic power metal built around tales of cosmic fantasy. In the time since the band has gained a lot of followers with their energetic live shows and overall terrific act. Now it’s nearly time for the release of their second album and to see if the saga will continue!
Thomas Winkler – Vocals
Christopher Bowes – Keyboards
Paul Templing – Guitars
James Cartwright – Bass
Ben Turk – Drums
Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Despite lots of praise the debut album passed me by and it took me until late 2014 to actually encounter the band at a festival. And what glorious power metal awaited me! The band is a sight to behold and the music will instantly get you going.
The follow-up of “Space 1992…” starts off in the best of Rhapsody traditions; an intro foreshadowing a lot of epicness followed by one hell of a kick called ‘Rise of the Chaos Wizards’ of which fans are sure to have seen the superb video by now. And when I say Rhapsody it goes for a lot of the music as well. It’s almost as if you’re listening to the songs they never got round to writing in their early years.
Epic power metal with catchy guitars (and superb solos!), grand keyboard filling up the sound left by the rhythm section and Thomas’ slightly gravelly voice, making him stand out from all the opera style vocalists out there. Not as ragged as Grave Digger’s Chris or as gruff as Sabaton’s Joakim, but certainly in their corner of the vocal department. Mind you, he does some superb shrieks as well and is a perfect leader for some of the catchiest choruses you’ll ever hear. Just try out the fist-raising ‘Legend of the Astral Hammer’ and see if you won’t sing along to the chorus. And be sure to check that very Italian sounding violin and you’ll be lost as to which band you’re listening to again.
One of my personal highlights is ‘The Hollywood Hootsman’. The lyrics are so ridiculous, but the band makes it work because you just get charmed by the heroic sounding keys and vocals, Hoots!
With a title like ‘Victorious Eagle Warfare’ the song could’ve almost been a Sabaton song and there are definitely some hints of the Swedish battalion in there, not that I mind. It’s bombastic and you just imagine the singer standing on stage wielding an eagle-headed banner with gusto. Speaking of ‘so silly that it’s awesome’-titles; ‘Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!’ would do very well as a Bal-Sagoth song and in a way one could easily link the finger-licking synergy between the guitar and keyboard to the aforementioned band.
And the prize for catchiest song will definitely go to ‘Universe on Fire’. If you meet me at a show and you’re not dancing to this tune, I’ll probably have to get you another beer. Best described as a power metal-disco-pop hybrid and you need to have a broad taste in music to really get this one, but fuck it, it’s just pure fun and you’ll be singing the chorus deep into the night.
And then the album ends in style with the nearly ten minute epos of ‘Apocalypse 1992’, showcasing Gloryhammer in all its, well…glory! There’s more of a tension to this one with its ending tale, yet the epic chorus isn’t forgotten. This one will definitely be a highlight of shows and this song certainly ends the album in style.
With “Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards” it should be clear for all that Gloryhammer is a great band in its own right. One can only imagine what ludicrous shows could eventually befall audiences when this band really hits it big time. And they probably will, because they are one of the fastest rising stars of epic power metal!
Score: 4.8 out of 5
1. Infernus Ad Astra
2. Rise of the Chaos Wizards
3. Legend of the Astral Hammer
4. Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy
5. The Hollywood Hootsman
6. Victorious Eagle Warfare
7. Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!
8. Universe on Fire
9. Heroes (of Dundee)
10. Apocalypse 1992
11. Dundax Aeterna
Text by: Robert Popovic