The RMR crew found some solace in Power Metal over the last two years or so. A heretical thought, right? Not so anymore. The genre used to be the bane of the trve metalhead. Not something that one would easily touch upon without falling out with the tougher metal crowd. But the winds of change to better quality have been hard at work.
The RMR crew lately found records that actually improved over former concoctions in our swampy review pipe. And we detected pieces from Vandor, Ilium, or – again – Rage in My Eyes1) that got us some pretty snazzy moments of juicy, powerful, yet still happy metal fun with no more cheese than your ordinary McDonalds burger.
But still, anxiety remains. Since Gloryhammer lost their luster somewhat2) and Alestorm finally shipwrecked3) on wacky Birdbrain Island, we started to fear for the genre. Because all around those giddy happy people float the bloated corpses of those who didn’t quite make it.
So, good that Fellowship roared to the top of the guilty pleasures section of the RMR Webzine. The Saberlight Chronicles somehow serve you with an overwrought dose full of that often unhinged Power Metal thing that trve metalheads despise. Or – failing that – they keep those records in the closet as their secret delights for lonely nights when nobody’s listening. And somebody always is. You there, Alexa?
And I daresay, the band around Mathew Corry won’t just go for the kitchen sink. They happily throw the whole friggin’ kitchen at you. An avalanche of whatever Power Metal holds in store, high on sugar and high-octane cosmic powers. And that may very well prove too much even for seasoned warhorses of power addicts.
The Saberlight Chronicles truly is an accomplished piece. Speedy or mid-tempo only, these guys get you this flawless execution on – well – pretty much everything. It’s thus no surprise that the record sports a theme based on a fantasy novel. And as always, a solid storyline leads to superior songwriting and a lusty tune that follows it. That makes all those elements converge into a pretty pristine production. At no moment did we get the feeling of anything lost in the mix or even the slightest sloppiness.
And Corry here screams those catchy lyrics out at pace and volume that should make Arrayan Path look up in dismay.4) This goes hand-in-hand with sing-along melodies that will surely make the crowd cook to a crisp during any of their upcoming live appearances.
But nothing goes without that pretty snazzy performance of the Brown / Wosko guitar tag team. The riffs are what they are, but Saberlight here truly soars on those often excellent solos. Even if some of them are so PM, they could have emerged straight from Helloween. Fellowship truly doesn’t reinvent the wheel over here, and sometimes they packed a tad too much Rhapsody of Fire into an otherwise fiery Power Metal piece.
Their seemingly inextinguishable source of youthful energy and this knack to mix all choice cuts Power Metal has on offer into a tasty stew probably made all the difference. Catchy tunes and singalong refrains, together with truly positive vibes made the records airtime of some 65 minutes fly by in no time. And that’s a feat for a genre that mainly thrives on same or – at least – similar tropes. Hey, they even went a-stealing a little on visuals from the sillymongers of the genre. Or why else would the drummer in the video for Until the Fires Die look like an offshoot of Angus McFive?5) Well, at least they didn’t go and hunt for unicorns in space, right? And besides, some cheese-laden and fantasy-struck tomfoolery should be allowed in a Power Metal piece. Goes with the territory.
In a way, The Saberlight Chronicles turned out to be the Power Metal surprise of the year, and we don’t believe it can be beaten. The things you can do with a ton of enthusiasm, positive projection, and a mountain of outstanding musical prowess. Well – hells bells – this sold this crew for sure. Yet, the doom ‘n’ grouch faction of the metal underworld might not quite like the taste of this. For all the others, RMR recommends to go ahead and join the joyful adepts of glitzy Fantasy Metal. You won’t regret it. Oh, and consume without moderation.
|1.||Evil tongues will call them trad or heavy, but there’s enough PM to please.|
|2.||Winkler fired, and the FNG in charge didn’t quite convince anybody – yet. To add insult to injury, Bowes kind of screwed himself into a pretzel with that message gate of his. Just sayin’. -Ed.|
|3.||Okay, technically they’re some sort of a beery version of Folk Metal. Or even no-metal at all. -Ed.|
|4.||We should all call them and give ’em a hint, right? -Ed.|
|5.||Gloryhammer’s hero of choice, until he got replaced by Angus McSix. Sigh.|