Metal, Power Metal

Gloryhammer – Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex (Review)

Artist: Gloryhammer
Album: Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex
Genre: (Symphonic) Power Metal
Country: United Kingdom, Swiss
Release date: 31st of May, 2019
Released via:  Napalm Records
Cover artwork © Napalm Records 2019

With the third album Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex the story of Angus McFive goes on. The bad sorcerer Zargothrax built an evil empire and rules over the Kingdom of Dundee, after he fled into another dimension with a galactic wormhole. Angus McFive XIII. enters the wormhole too to defend his homeland. In this dimension, he allies with the Mighty Hootsman…

But wait – maybe I should give a short recap what kind of band Gloryhammer is. Gloryhammer is the second band project of Alestorm founder and frontman Christopher Bowes. The idea for that band came into his mind ca. 2009. Afterwards, he was looking for the right cast for the parts of the band. He finally found the suitable voice for Angus McFive, the main protagonist and narrator of the mainstory, in the Ex-Emerals-leadsinger Thomas Winkler. All three albums tell us the adventure about Angus McFive, a mighty warrior, King of the land of Five and the fight against the evil forces of the sorcerer Zargothrax. The first album takes place in the medieval time, the second is located in the intergalactic future. The third album directly connects to the second album. The difference from other bands is that Gloryhammer tries to tell us a complete story in an entire album, which is something that did not happen too frequently for a concept band in this genre.

Other than bands with a specific theme, Gloryhammer are something different. They are totally aware what kind of band they are. Other bands try to hide that or are too serious about it, but Gloryhammer takes a piece of Powerwolf, a spoonful of Dragonforce, a part of this band, a part of that band, mix it and emerge with their own style. Although you might sometimes find a lack of quality in the production on other Power Metal albums, the production on this album is very good. In my opinion, there is a little bit too much presence of the drums hearable and sometimes the keyboards are a litle too loud, but that depends on what kind of sound you prefer to hear. Thomas Winkler‘s voice fits perfectly and you can feel how much fun the band had with this project.

The songs of Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex are typical Gloryhammer – the intro is a short orchestral song, where you hear what kind of music awaits you in the next 50 minutes. The first song “The Siege of Dunkeld” starts with a gibberish of Latin. What you can hear is that the following music tries to retell the actions with the songs. When Angus is the actor, the music often sounds braver, when Zargothrax speaks, it’s more threatening. If Angus announces to handle something, for example fight against someone, an instrumental part follows. This kind of a sonical atmospheric setting is visible throughout the entire album. Another big part of the album is the humour – e.g. when Angus tells us that in The Siege of Dunkeld, Astral-Zombies are eating the peasants of Glasgow. In the song “Gloryhammer,” he swings his “Thunder Striking Wizard Trasher”, which is very funny but also fits perfectly into the story and his logic. Similar to the two other albums, the story ends with an overlong song with 12:34 minutes. This song has four different parts that tell us how the epic main battle of the story is happening and the band culminates everything they showed us in the last nine Songs before. There are slow parts as in “Master of the Galaxy,” the fast stamping rhythm from the song “Gloryhammer” and, in the end, an emotional orchestral outro (with a cliffhanger). Gloryhammer achieve to march in all songs through different genres and musical citations, in combination with Christopher Bowes who tickles the ivories of his keyboard it’s a hell of a ride.

The story of Angus McFive doesn’t end with this album. It’s only the third in a series of planned 21 albums, as Bowes said in an interview. I hope the journey continues in this funny and symphatic way they showed us with this album. I know, this kind of concept and music are not everybody’s cup of tea. But I enjoyed it very much.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

8 / 10

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