About 10 years ago, everything aligned perfectly. I had just discovered the, urmmmm, glory of power metal, and the most ludicrous power metal band of them all released their debut record.
Gloryhammer exists on the premise that goblin dwarves are going to invade Dundee, and Angus McFife, now played by Sozos Michael (wording deliberate as each member plays a character), can defeat them with his Gloryhammer. Or something. I don’t care. I’ve never been one for concepts.
What I do know is that every time you think Gloryhammer can’t take it any further, they find a way to make it even more opposed to the whole “less is more” idea.
Let’s start at the end here. The 12-minute epic battle that concludes this album, “Maleficus Geminus (Colossus Matrix 38B – Ultimate Invocation of the Binary Thaumaturge),” is a musical. It’s an opera. It’s over-the-top. And it’s exceptional.
That’s the problem with Gloryhammer. As much as you know it’s ludicrous, when it comes down to it, you try to resist “Holy Flaming Hammer of Unholy Cosmic Frost” and the like. You can’t. What you’ll actually do is put your horns up and headbang like a modern-day Beavis And Butthead.
There are genuinely brilliant elements here, to be fair. The Euro Disco vibe of “Wasteland Warrior Hoots Patrol” is unlike anything any other band would attempt. And if, by now, you need me to tell you what “Sword Lord of the Goblin Horde” sounds like, it’s essentially an AOR escapade if it had emerged north of the wall.
“Vorpal Laserblaster of Pittenweem” sees them win, or maybe it’s “Keeper of the Celestial Flame of Abernethy.” I can’t make sense of it. Who’s supposed to? Just know that it’s as good as power metal gets.
I shouldn’t like this. I don’t like sci-fi, I don’t like Game Of Thrones, but Gloryhammer? There’s something incredible at work here.
The band that Christopher of Alestorm seemingly formed because pirate metal and the wizards in the extreme metal band he was in weren’t enough, has done it again.
Ten years and no sign of letting up. In fact, they seem very much up for continued battles here.