Western Metal Thread
#1
Perdition's edit - this thread will cover all variations of power metal (both USPM and Euro), progressive metal (Dream Theater-inspired stuff, plus power/prog) and speed metal. Several threads got merged into this one, so there may be continuity issues.



American-brand power metal ranks among some of my favorite regional metal sounds. List some of your personal favorite USPM bands and releases.

Riot (US) - (1988) Thundersteel

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This album is absolutely incredible! Riot originally started out as a hard rock band, but they were capable of so much more. When a few of their albums couldn't live up to their earliest releases' standards, they disbanded for a few years to come. By 1987 or 1988, guitarist Mark Reale rebounded with a new set of personnel to record this titanic. It's the right balance between Judas Priest and the classic Riot sound. Tony Moore's singing really stands out, as does Bobby Jarzombek's athletic drumming skills. "Fight or Fall" and "Thundersteel" are worthy classic tracks that deserve to be heard by ALL fans of quality power metal. This is the kind of album that would stand out really nice placed next to the likes of A Sultan's Ransom or Walls of Jericho.

Tyrant (US) - (1987) Too Late to Pray

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Legions of the Dead may have been a pretty solid heavy metal album by these Californian metal knights, but Too Late to Pray took Tyrant to the next level — brewing an excellent blend of doom metal (e.g. "Babylon"), power/speed metal (e.g. "Into the Flames"), and epic heavy metal (e.g. the title track, "Eve of Destruction", "Bells of Hades"). Glen May's an exceptional vocalist, too, and the reverbs only accentuate his mystical voice. Tyrant fucking slayed with this album, and if you like the darker side of Christian-themed heavy metal, look no further!

Chastain (US) - (1986) Ruler of the Wasteland

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Although I like The 7th of Never the most out of Chastain's albums, I find Ruler of the Wasteland to be the easiest one for curious metalheads to check out. It's loaded with fast-and-furious riffs, along with some of the craziest ear-piercing FEMALE vocals I've ever heard in metal. Listen to "The Battle of Nevermore", "Ruler of the Wasteland", and "The King Has the Power" to see if Chastain's your kind of band.

Attacker (US) - (1985) Battle at Helm's Deep

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Underrated New Jersey band! Bob Mitchell slays the beast with this epic power metal release! "The Hermit" is, simply put, one of the GREATEST songs written in USPM history — it's loaded with an excellent array of in-your-face riffs and monstrous screams! It's hard and heavy shit. "(Call On) The Attacker" was one of the first songs I heard, so I'd definitely recommend all hopefully soon-to-be Attacker fans to give that one a try. On first listen, this entire album BLEW me away, and it still continues to do so.

Attacker (US) - (1988) The Second Coming

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On the other hand, if you're more into faster stuff that borders on bits of thrash metal, get The Second Coming, which features the almighty John Leone on vocals. "Zero Hour", "Lords of Thunder", "Desecration", and "Emanon" are power-hungry riff monsters that are simply IRRESISTIBLE to skip through. It may be a short album, but it's still an exceptional USPM classic!

Liege Lord (US) - (1987) Burn to My Touch

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The production style isn't the best, but the album is definitely loaded with some truly killer tracks. "Transgressor" and "Birds of Prey" are definitely heavy-hitting openers for this underrated masterpiece, as are the over-the-top numbers "Cast Out" and "Speed of Sound" to keep this album running consistently well. Andy Michaud's also my favorite Liege Lord singer, so go figure.

Liege Lord (US) - (1988) Master Control

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I'd also recommend Master Control, which is probably the one Liege Lord album that gets the most praise. It's got a different singer and sounds closer to thrash metal, but I don't think it transcended their marvelous predecessor. Still, "Eye of the Storm" and "Broken Wasteland" are fucking killer tunes!

Fates Warning (US) - (1985) The Spectre Within

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The Spectre Within is by far my favorite Fates Warning album, with such incredible songs as "The Apparition" and "Without a Trace" to boot. It's an album that's loaded with only killers! I must admit that despite having listened to this album a billion times, I've only skipped tracks about once or twice — it's one of those albums that you just want to let the songs play on their own!

Fates Warning (US) - (1986) Awaken the Guardian

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Now, nearly every John Arch fan is crazy about Awaken the Guardian, and while it does contain a gallery of memorable songs, the album tends to drag a bit by the end. Regardless, "Guardian", "Fata Morgana", and the EPIC "Prelude to Ruin" are true power/progressive metal masterpieces!

Savage Grace (US) - (1983) The Dominatress

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A five-track EP, but it manages to capture the essence of the early American power metal sound. Very Judas Priest-like riffs that make it a very good album, and songs such as "Curse the Night" prove how strong the influences are. "Fight for Your Life" and "The Dominatress" are very speedy tracks. After this album, however, guitarist Kenny Powell went on to form Omen.
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#2
Fates Warning 2nd + 3rd, Omen "The Curse" (probably in the minority in calling this their fave), Liege Lord "Master Control", Crimson Glory "Transcendence", and Manilla Road's "Mystification" are my faves. Agent Steel "Mad Locust Rising" may be my favorite song out of the entire works (I have a bad habit of mixing speed in with USPM).
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#3
It's really hard for me to rank my favorites, as those ten albums that I mentioned aren't all sitting at the top of my mental list. I was just listing off many familiar classics. I agree that the first two Crimson Glory albums slay hard.
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#4
Any fans of this legendary power/progressive metal band? Their first six albums are really good, with The Spectre Within being my all-time favorite. Awaken the Guardian isn't too far behind it. Always preferred the John Arch material. Those album covers are just insane.



Their upcoming album sounds like it'll be another decent release in a long time, but Ray Alder really needs to let go of the smokes. His highs are shot.
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#5
Spectre and Guardian I like a lot (I slightly prefer Guardian). Brocken was ok at best (didn't mind it the last time I played it though). No Exit is a strange album where my opinion on it did a 180 over the years. Historically I found the A-side to be pretty mediocre but loved The Ivory Gate of Dreams. Nowadays, I think the A-side is pretty neat and which they did more stuff like this, and found Ivory Gate to be a bit of a fragmented mess (don't really care for the episodic nature of the songwriting anymore). I can see that song as a continuation of the AtG direction though. Needed Arch and more time in the oven.

The rest of the Alder-era doesn't do much for me, unfortunately. I liked those more when I heard them back in the early 00s, but am pretty apathetic to them now.

So I guess for me they're a 2 album band - but at least those 2 albums are among the best the 80s produced.

Without a Trace and Epitaph are my favorites from Spectre. Not sure what my favorite from Guardian is - probably Guardian, Fata Morgana or Valley of the Dolls. I love the "feel" from both albums.
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#6
No Exit is indeed an inconsistent album, due to the song lengths. Ironically, it's my favorite with Ray Alder on vocals. I do think that it would've been even better with Midnight on vocals. The album was definitely written with Crimson Glory in mind.

I used to think that Night on Bröcken was an average album, but I've grown to appreciate it far more than I expected. Despite the obvious Iron Maiden worship on some songs, the band was already on their way to the perfection of their next two albums. "Misfit" bleeds speed metal, whereas "Damnation", the title track, "Buried Alive", and "The Calling" are full of epic vocal and guitar harmonies. I remember hearing "Soldier Boy" for the first time on a Metal Massacre compilation album.

They got poppy as fuck by Parallels, but I admittedly like it for mid-period Queensrÿche vibes — Operation: Mindcrime was one of the first progressive metal albums that I heard, so it's still a special album to me, despite not being as majestic as The Warning.
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#7
So far I've only heard the first three albums.  The Spectre Within is my favorite.  I bought this album only a few months ago, not knowing what to expect, but was addicted by my second listen of it.  "Kyrie Eleison" and "The Apparition" are my favorites, thought out of everything I've heard "Guardian" holds a special place.
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#8
Perdition's edit - all forms of hard rock and heavy metal can be discussed in this thread. All previous related topics were merged into this one, so forgive any continuity issues.



Animetal USA recently announced a new project. Still covers but under a new name. They still have yet to give more detail though. On the Animetal USA facebook page they have asked the fans what songs they would like covered. So i assume its still gonna be an anime song cover band.
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#9
This was my favorite area of music back in the early 00s. At least for me, things started to die off around 2007 (which is to me what 1992 is to thrashers). I don't pay attention to this type of music anymore (Japan's replaced it for me), but there are a lot of older titles I still hold dear. I tend to group power and prog together (there's some overlap). Anyway, some random favorites of mine:




I was gonna put Gamma Ray's "Beyond the Black Hole" here, but there wasn't a proper studio version.




Prog... one of my favorite songs by them.




I'm more fond of their older stuff - more emotion. Newer stuff is ok though. Pity about the Tolki-meltdown era though.

Anyone else into this stuff? What bands are you into? Do you prefer newer or older bands (or both)?
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#10
I like some Stratovarius stuff, some Helloween, my favorite Euro power metal band is a toss up between Rage and Sonata Arctica though. I've become a fan of symphonic metal band Delain in recent years too after having seen them in concert twice, Charlotte Wessels has an incredible voice.
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