Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Release Date: September 25, 2015
In the distant future of the year 1992, Gloryhammer has returned to save the galaxy with yet another fantastic power metal release, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards. Hitting the scene only a few years ago with their debut release, Tales from the Kingdom of Fife, it only took a few days for word to get around the power metal scene of this hilariously talented group of green-armor-and-wizard-hat-clad men. While satirical bands easily come and go, very rarely will one have you laughing your ass off while slapping you in the face with fantastic heavy metal tunes. The band specializes in the traditional triplet-filled galloping power metal, perfectly arranged keyboard and choir features, and speed metal guitar solos heard in countless bands around the world. That being said, very few can get away with songs about Hootsman: the Barbarian King of California, and lyrics about crystal laser battle-axes and slashing your way through armies of goblins on the moon. It’s absolutely as ridiculous as it sounds, but honestly, this is exactly what power metal needs.
“Infernus Ad Astra” sets the scene for listeners, explaining the war on the galaxy. Like an epic score from Lord of the Rings, the orchestral arrangement builds into “Rise of the Chaos Wizards”. Beginning with Latin chants that Powerwolf may be jealous of, this song is the perfect way to kick off a Gloryhammer record; full of wizards, space knights of Crail, and the might of Zargothrax. With buzzwords bringing familiar listeners back to the tales of their first release, I was grinning like a fangirl from the first seconds to the last. Immediately following, fans hear the steel lungs of Thomas Winkler wailing about the “Legend of the Astral Hammer” followed up by one of my favorite tracks on the record, “Gobling King of the Darkstorm Galaxy” which I will happily blame my latest speeding ticket on. No Gloryhammer song is short of catchy choruses, but this one has a way of sticking with you (and you may find yourself going 82 in a 65).
“Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress” is another great song beginning with the chorus and exploding into up-tempo heavy metal riffs. The horn fanfare and driving drum patterns, all mixed with phenomenal keyboard, may distract listeners to the fact that unicorns are showing you the way to the ultimate fortress. The cherry on top of this cheesecake is a short but sweet dancing guitar solo, proving (if you haven’t gotten it yet) that there really isn’t another band out there that can do what Gloryhammer does.
Fans are Punk’d yet again with a slower and sweet ballad-like tune, “Universe on Fire” which confused so many fans when it was released as a single in August. Synth-infused rhythm and repetitive lyrics that honestly don’t make all that much sense, make this song about a dragon not as badass as you’d like to think. That being said, I do love the song, as it takes me back to when I first heard 2013’s “Silent Tears of Frozen Princess” that left me scratching my head but laughing my ass off. Bringing the album to its close, the near ten minute long track “Apocalypse 1992” hits hard and really doesn’t ever let up. Explaining the ongoing battle, with demons from hell being unleashed on the galaxy, tears of unicorns, and the cosmic rage of dwarves, this song is the epitome of perfectly entertaining power metal.
I don’t really think I can say this enough, but Gloryhammer is exactly what power metal needs. I can’t tell you how many times I stand in lines outside of shows and here fedora wearing power metal fans arguing about what a band was trying to convey in some miniscule lyric about rain, or how the incredibly deep album art of a woman riding a flying lion translates to today’s political topics. Gloryhammer just doesn’t give a fuck about all of that. They can write incredibly well-arranged songs, with fantastic musicianship all around, while singing about unicorns and Hootsmen and galactic battles fought on eagles over Mars. Who else, but Gloryhammer?
Gloryhammer, I will see you in Atlanta for Progpower in 2016, and I can not wait to share a beer with you all. Cheers!