Power metal

From Academic Kids


Power metal is a style of heavy metal music. There is some dispute about the term, which can refer to two different, but related styles: one pioneered and largely practiced in North America, and one based in Germany and Scandinavia. In contemporary usage, "power metal" generally refers to the European style.


American power metal

American power metal arose in the early 1980s as a faster and more aggressive descendant of "classic metal" bands from the NWOBHM, such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Metal Church, Savatage, Jag Panzer, Manowar, and similar bands formed the core of this movement, which shared some characteristics of thrash metal. Some consider modern American bands like Iced Earth and Nevermore to be the descendants of this style, but others claim that the movement has ended, swallowed by more well-known styles like thrash and European power metal.

European power metal

In the mid-1980s, European bands such as Helloween (Germany) and Europe (Sweden) began focusing more on triumphant, catchy melodies in both guitar and vocal parts, while maintaining extremely rapid tempos and demanding guitar solos. The term speed metal has also been applied to this style, although that term has not found general consensus in its usage and has been applied to multiple styles. The Helloween albums Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1 (1987) and Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 (1988) are generally regarded as a milestone of this genre. Subsequently, European-style "happy metal" has spread across the continent (particularly to Finland) and worldwide, though it is comparatively unpopular in the United States.

Musical characteristics

Power metal, as the term is used today, places primary importance on an "epic" sound, usually at high speeds and with catchy melodies. Whereas most rock lyrics focus largely on "the real world" - personal experience, historical incidents, social commentary, etc. - power metal often treats cosmological or metaphysical themes. Many power metal songs draw inspiration from science-fiction, mythology, and fantasy, and they tend to be more optimistic than most metal lyrics. These lyrics, combined with power metal's tendency for histrionic and high-pitched vocal performances, have led to some criticism of the style as overly campy.

Power metal vocals are generally "clean" (as opposed to the growling vocals that characterize Death Metal) and delivered by a trained vocalist; following in the tradition of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, power metal vocalists tend to sing in a high register, often in falsetto. Some singers, such as Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, record multi-layered vocals reminiscent of Queen. Because of the primary importance of vocals in power metal, vocalists generally do not double as guitarists as in other styles of metal.

Power metal guitarists and bassists generally play rapid streams of notes, but change chords comparatively slowly, with a harmonic tempo of once per measure or slower. Fast and demanding guitar solos, however, are almost guaranteed.

Power metal drummers generally play with two bass drums for added speed, often playing a constant stream of sixteenth notes with snare drum accents on beats 2 and 4. Some bands defy this formula, but it is surprisingly universal.

Many bands also play with a keyboardist and a few, such as the Italian band Rhapsody, have been known to record with more symphonic elements. Rhapsody actually calls their style of music "Hollywood Metal," emphasizing its resemblance to modern film scores.

This style is most popular in Europe, Japan, and some countries of South America, and has a growing popularity in certain parts of North America.

Examples of power metal bands

External Links

de:Power Metal pl:Power metal fi:Power metal


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