Fantasy metal masters Gloryhammer return with their fourth album and first with a new vocalist, Sozos Michael.
Gloryhammer has released four albums going back to 2013 with Tales from the Kingdom of Fife being their debut in 2013. The brainchild of Alestorm vocalist Christopher Bowes had the band from the start representing characters and performing in costume as their representative characters. Over the years, the band toured with the likes of Stratovarious, Blind Guardian, and Hammerfall, played lots of festivals in Europe, toured North America, and was nominated for awards. In 2021, the band parted ways with longtime vocalist Thomas Winkler and named Sozos Michael as his replacement. Note: Winkler has gone on to form a similar band, Angus McSix.
For the uninitiated, Gloryhammer is essentially power metal with fantasy-themed and somewhat comical lyrics describing the adventures of Angus McFife. All the elements of power metal are well-represented even if the keyboards and vocals are a bit too dominant in the mix for my liking. Production quality is excellent and all the instruments do come through in the mix. For those who know of the rough edge and aggression in Winkler’s vocals, you may be surprised to hear the soaring, clean vocals and range of Sozos Michael. Remaining are the catchy elements to their songs the band is known for and some that comes through multiple times in choruses when you can’t help but sing along with lines like “Wasteland Warrior Hoot Patrol” and “Holy Flaming Hammer of Unholy Cosmic Frost”, which is also the first real track on the album.