Metal tends to be so serious sometimes, and as such can be a great parody target. Granted, some are not amused by such things, but with the right sense of humor, parodies can be entertaining, like Spinal Tap. Gloryhammer returns with their second album of very over –the-top epic symphonic power metal, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards to fill that parody metal void.
Formed by Christopher Bowes of Alestorm, Gloryhammer released their first album Tales from the Kingdom of Fife on Napalm Records in 2013. Finding real factual information on the band is not the easiest task as even their “official” bio is filled with all sorts of epic siliness as one can see with the description of the band members and what instruments they play. The general theme for the album is that there is an evil plan afoot to release an evil sorcerer, Zargothrax, from his icy prison which will imperil the Galactic Empire of Fife. Production and mixing are spot-on perfection as one would expect for a symphonic power metal album. Expect lots of keyboards, guitar solos, soaring vocals and choruses and a bass and drum rhythm line that provides some great drive to the songs.
Opening with an intro track that opens with an overly dramatic spoken line,” In the distant future of the year 1992…war has returned to the galaxy,” followed by an extended orchestral section, even the unfamiliar start to get the concept of what is to come. If fantasy lyrics that are a bit overly exaggerated and set to symphonic power metal are not your idea of a good idea, then it’s best to just stop here and not proceed. Personally, I found the whole concept pretty amusing. Musically, the band has the talent to play things seriously or not-so-seriously, and while the band may incorporate so many power metal concepts into every song that it causes disbelief, the arrangements are such that it all seems to work. Very simply, I liken this to a symphonic power metal equivalent of Tim Lambesis’ Austrian Death Machine project.
“Rise of the Chaos Wizards” literally explodes in a fury of fast double bass and choral like vocals after the intro track “Infernus Ad Astra” and from that point on the album roars to life and basically doesn’t slow down much until the end of the last song, the nearly 10 minute long “Apocalypse 1992”. I could spend a good bit of time and effort documenting all of the metal elements that are incorporated into the songs on this album, but for me a good bit of the fun in listening to it was hearing them and picking out all of the influences. This is one of those fun albums that you can pull out from time to time and enjoy, not only for the great performances but also for the clever and ridiculous lyrics and concept that have been woven into a great adventure story.
Written by John Jackson
01. Infernus Ad Astra
02. Rise of the Chaos Wizards
03. Legend of the Astral Hammer
04. Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy
05. The Hollywood Hootsman
06. Victorious Eagle Warfare
07. Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!
08. Universe on Fire
09. Heroes (of Dundee)
10. Apocalypse 1992
Thomas Winkler – Vocals, Angus McFife, Crown Prince of Dundee, Heir to the Kingdom of Fife
Christopher Bowes – Keyboards, Zargothrax, Dark Sorcerer of Auchtermuchty
Paul Templing – Guitar, Ser Proletius, Grand Master of the Templar Knights of Crail
James Cartwright – Bass, Hootsman, Barbarian Warrior of Unst
Ben Turk – Drums, Ralathor, the Mysterious Hermit of Cowdenbeath
“Tales from the Kingdom of Fife” (2013)
“Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards” (2015)
Record label: Napalm Records, Sept. 2015
Video for ‘Rise of the Chaos Wizards’
Lyric video for ‘Universe on Fire’