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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:36 am 
 

Hello i was wondering if anyone hear could help me out with a few questions regarding on exactly what power metal is supposed to be. I've heard people say Iron Maiden isn't a power metal band yet Helloween is. To me they have the same musical characteristics that sound like power metal. Now some say Maiden isn't fast enough but buy that logic couldn't you say Obituary isn't death metal because they're not as fast as Cannibal Corpse despite both still being death metal bands? It just sounds like a genre that started with Rainbow and Iron Maiden ect., and progressed from there. Maybe im missing something?

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rexxz
Where's your band?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:43 am 
 

Ok so if you think Iron Maiden should be power metal because they have the same characteristics, show me what you think just a straight up heavy metal band is? And why don't you think that band is power metal or heavy metal? Clearly you know there's some sort of distinction between the two, right? And you've mentioned that one of those distinctions is speed. You do know different genres have different standards of classification yeah? Death metal can get away with being a little slower; power metal usually can not. Do you think doom metal is still doom metal if it's played at 250 bpm 2/4 time signature? Yes, speed does have an influence on some genres. Not all of them but some for sure, 100%.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:49 am 
 

There's some bands like Manowar and HammerFall that aren't particularly fast at all to my ears and there considered power metal. This is where it gets confusing to me. What makes them power metal but not for instance Dio or Accept?

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rexxz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:53 am 
 

Manowar is generally considered by most to be just heavy metal, and Hammerfall has a significant amount of "quicker" paced songs than they do slower songs, so there you go.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:00 pm 
 

Your right about HammerFall having some quicker paced songs now that i think about it. Maybe im just getting confused between power metal and heavy metal that sounds epic/melodic?

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rexxz
Where's your band?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:05 pm 
 

There's a lot of very epic and melodic heavy metal and Iron Maiden is one of the more obvious examples. They still have a lot of rock based songs as well with more simple and straightforward riffs and structures, so I would place them at the forefront as one of those pioneering bands that heavily influenced what power metal would later become. You're right, it's very hard to tell sometimes. So honestly if its something that seems like it could be either/or, I wouldn't get too worked up over getting it exactly 100% right, because genres themselves are merely classification tools that describe a spectrum of qualities, and bands can be placed anywhere on that spectrum. Sometimes it's fuzzy. You can have a few straight up heavy metal songs that are really fast but then again you're getting into speed metal territory, which is generally just accepted to be super fast heavy metal (with an emphasis on rock/blues-based, traditional pentatonic metal riffs styles). The more outlandish and elaborate it gets with the songwriting, or in the case of early US power metal which gets more aggressive and loud and in your face in addition to that, it will probably trend towards power metal rather than heavy metal.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:24 pm 
 

Thank you that last sentence of yours helped seem to help clear that up a bit to me. Maybe its true that a lot of Americans don't quit understand what power metal is. I don't mean that to be offensive in any way either it just seems to be a style many here aren't familiar with, and it is nothing to get worked up over i know, genres labels are just there to help describe a sound. I appreciate the responses to my question.

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nightbreaker33
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:34 pm 
 

Usually simultaneously great emphasis on vocals(e.g Artch,Thor,Heavy Load) and keyboards(Stratovarius). Also lyrically it borrows from fantasy, mythology, history and rarely life issues (Savage Grace, Scavenger). There is also the USPM movement which focuses on agressive riffing (Agent Steel, Liege Lord) in some cases. There can also be major "happy" melodies in harmonies accompanied by double pedal drumming in the background. Note that a power metal song can also be slow.

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rexxz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:38 pm 
 

The distinction between these two genres is probably hazier than most of the others in metal, and that includes thrash to early death metal (some people still argue over Possessed or Morbid Angel's first albums). But to put it very concisely and without any degree of nuance, generally speaking yes if you're playing fast, melodic metal without much dissonance and harsh vocals (growls and shrieks), it's probably power metal of some sort or some kind of hybrid. The earlier US stuff is much more riff oriented and probably more closely aligned with traditional heavy metal, but I think the distinction is still warranted because the aesthetic has been elevated to another height, everything truly is more "powerful".

nightbreaker33 wrote:
Note that a power metal song can also be slow.



eh, it depends entirely on how slow we're talking here. There's got to be some sort of drive in the tempo that is close to what you'd expect from the genre. Power metal songs really aren't gonna be below 100 bpm for the most part.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:42 pm 
 

The first Queensryche EP comes to my mind to that response. It sounds like Priest/Maiden but its definitely got a heavier faster sound to it

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Opus
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:46 pm 
 

European power metal uses lots of major keys.
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rexxz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:48 pm 
 

Behemoth91 wrote:
The first Queensryche EP comes to my mind to that response. It sounds like Priest/Maiden but its definitely got a heavier faster sound to it


Here's another great example IMO of early US power metal. At its core it's very hard to say that this isn't essentially heavy metal... but the tempo is a bit quicker, there's more juice to the vocals, the drums pound harder, the songs propel with just a bit more ferocity.

Youtube: show


Then here's the band Dream Evil. The are newer, a bit more modern and really heavy... but it's not quite power metal.

Youtube: show


People could list a hundred reasons for what they think power metal or heavy metal is, and most of us would be more or less correct. The important thing to remember is what I said earlier, that genres really just represent a spectrum of qualities... and some bands may have more of those qualities while another band has less of them, and they could still be placed in the same genre.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:52 pm 
 

Power metal is usually pretty close to trad metal but with more emphasis on melody/vocals as opposed to only the riffs. And then you get into European PM which incorporates way more keys, pop/arena rock elements at times, etc. But that was just how things developed over time after Helloween's Keeper albums and stuff like early Scanner.

US Power Metal is a pretty fine line and isn't always a sure thing... bands as varied as Jag Panzer, Queensryche, Helstar, Crimson Glory and Virgin Steele have been called that and it's mostly a vibe and feeling more than set genre limits, I think. Just that generally bombastic, over the top, melodious sound as opposed to the dirty blues/rock riffing that formed early trad metal. Though some people here have way more in depth categorizations of this stuff that can be intriguing.

If you think Maiden sounds that much like Helloween, go back and give the really early Maiden albums a listen - that's not PM, though once Bruce joined and ingrained himself into the sound, they started to do things that PM bands would borrow from like the harmonized vocals, epic lyricism, the fluid songwriting, etc.
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Last edited by Empyreal on Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rexxz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:55 pm 
 

Primal Fear is a great example of a band that straddles the line between many different subsets of power metal. They've got a little bit of everything in their catalog ranging from classic traditional style heavy metal bangers to roughneck aggressive speed metal and even a lot of epic, melodic European power metal songs. They rule.
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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:59 pm 
 

Simple version: Power metal is heavy metal but more melodic and typically played in a major key. There's more nuance, of course, but that's the short version.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 2:13 pm 
 

Rainbow i think started the big bombastic sound you hear in European power metal but they dont have the speed associated with it (aside from maybe the song kill the king) but they tend to get cited sometimes as the first power metal band. I definitely dont hear there sound much in the US power metal groups

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rexxz
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:03 pm 
 

Behemoth91 wrote:
I don't mean that to be offensive in any way either it just seems to be a style many here aren't familiar with, and it is nothing to get worked up over i know, genres labels are just there to help describe a sound. I appreciate the responses to my question.


Just wanted to say you weren't offensive at all in any way, and my initial response was perhaps a touch overzealous. That's a mistake on my part; passions run deep here and especially for myself since I've dedicated much of my life to music and metal specifically. Thanks for asking the question since it gave me a good opportunity to talk about it a bit, as well as the other users contributing.
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MawBTS
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:19 pm 
 

Iron Maiden is a huge influence on power metal (particularly the dual harmony solos and epic lyrical storytelling), they have songs that would be considered borderline power metal if released by a modern band.

But they also lack a few elements associated with PM. They're slower, with no double-bass drumming or tremolo riffs. And they formed a long time before the power metal term existed, so it makes more sense to classify them as a NWOBHM band (their early albums), or just heavy metal (their later stuff).

Self identification also matters. I can find no examples whatsoever Iron Maiden's members declaring their band to be power metal (or even acknowledging that the genre exists). Here's Bruce Dickinson describing them as simply "heavy metal". http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/iron-m ... avy-metal/

Manilla Road and Manowar are in a similar position. A lot of their material sounds like power metal, but they existed years before the genre did, and they bear an obvious debt to NWOBHM. Again, if a modern band wrote "Necropolis" or "Power of Thy Sword", they'd be considered power metal songs. But neither band (judged as whole) comfortably fits the power metal genre.

Quote:
Simple version: Power metal is heavy metal but more melodic and typically played in a major key. There's more nuance, of course, but that's the short version.


I don't agree. Motley Crue and Scorpions are power metal bands by that standard.

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Pitiless Wanderer
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:21 pm 
 

The biggest mistake people make when figuring this out is suggesting that because something has melody it must be power metal. I see people all the time say things like Children of Bodom, (who I don't like except for one album) are power metal, when they're most certainly not. I saw someone on this forum also say the new Kalmah record (or Kalmah in general) is power metal, lol. A total joke if you think that's true. Power metal gets its characteristics from mainly vocal style and lyrical themes and a particular use of keyboards in the music.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:24 pm 
 

MawBTS wrote:
Manilla Road and Manowar are in a similar position. A lot of their material sounds like power metal, but they existed years before the genre did, and they bear an obvious debt to NWOBHM. Again, if a modern band wrote "Necropolis" or "Power of Thy Sword", they'd be considered power metal songs. But neither band (judged as whole) comfortably fits the power metal genre.


MR is a different case because of their long epics like "The Ninth Wave" or "Dreams of Eschaton." Those ones set them apart and had a real unique quality about them, an epicness, that could be called PM. Same thing for Metal Church when they did songs like "Anthem for the Estranged" or "Badlands." Just that emotional, mysterious edge.
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Behemoth91
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 11:24 pm 
 

I also don't agree with Children of Bodom being called power metal. They may have melody but the vocals are most certainly not power metal. Thats why the term melodic death metal makes more sense in their case

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Methuen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:37 am 
 

Daft lyrics about elves / goblins / swords of emerald steeeeeeeeaAAAAAALLlllll help, no ?
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HaPoStaPu
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:41 am 
 

An excessive load of cheese? Jolliness and fluffiness? I speak from a position of relative ignorance though as it's generally a genre I avoid as I don't enjoy bands like Helloween, which seems to be one of the classics, or Grave Digger and such. I'm sure there are bands that I like that are considered power metal by some, though I probably would file them under plain metal or speed metal.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:44 am 
 

HaPoStaPu wrote:
I speak from a position of relative ignorance though as it's generally a genre I avoid


Then why comment? What value does your post hold? You are wrong by the way, it's more than what you said for sure, just like any other subgenera would be more than a basic stereotype.
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HaPoStaPu
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:52 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
HaPoStaPu wrote:
I speak from a position of relative ignorance though as it's generally a genre I avoid


Then why comment? What value does your post hold? You are wrong by the way, it's more than what you said for sure, just like any other subgenera would be more than a basic stereotype.


Because I have checked out plenty of bands labeled as power metal over the years and I didn't like them. I only leave the option open that there are some that aren't an embarrassment and give metal a cheesy image. So, I already am aware that I'm, obviously, somewhat generalising, which doesn't change that this my general opinion about and impression of power metal though. Looking at the Wiki article, can't say I liked any of these bands that, to me, are power metal.

Instead of criticising and wondering why people post on an internet board (what purpose has a post like that?) you could recommend a power metal band that may win someone over who doesn't enjoy what is power metal.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:12 am 
 

HaPoStaPu wrote:

Because I have checked out plenty of bands labeled as power metal over the years and I didn't like them. I only leave the option open that there are some that aren't an embarrassment and give metal a cheesy image. So, I already am aware that I'm, obviously, somewhat generalising, which doesn't change that this my general opinion about and impression of power metal though. Looking at the Wiki article, can't say I liked any of these bands that, to me, are power metal.

Instead of criticising and wondering why people post on an internet board (what purpose has a post like that?) you could recommend a power metal band that may win someone over who doesn't enjoy what is power metal.


Well I dunno, I disagree with your assessment that it's any cheesier than any other metal subgenre - no more than black metal corpse paint, trad metal singing about warriors and how cool they are, death metal with OTT gore, etc. It's all cheesy at times. Just comes with the package. Personally I also think dismissing entire subgenres is silly and everything has some good stuff in it. And in a thread about what constitutes PM, I hardly think a post bashing the genre really adds much.

I would say Tad Morose, old Kamelot (Black Halo era), Dark at Dawn, Pharaoh, Black Majesty, Wardrum, Thy Majestie, Dynazty, Falconer, Excalion, some old Brainstorm albums like Soul Temptation, and Fireleaf are all great examples. I'd also list early Sonata Arctica and the last Avantasia album as superb examples, though you probably already heard that type of stuff if you were just going through a Wiki page.
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HaPoStaPu
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:03 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
HaPoStaPu wrote:

Because I have checked out plenty of bands labeled as power metal over the years and I didn't like them. I only leave the option open that there are some that aren't an embarrassment and give metal a cheesy image. So, I already am aware that I'm, obviously, somewhat generalising, which doesn't change that this my general opinion about and impression of power metal though. Looking at the Wiki article, can't say I liked any of these bands that, to me, are power metal.

Instead of criticising and wondering why people post on an internet board (what purpose has a post like that?) you could recommend a power metal band that may win someone over who doesn't enjoy what is power metal.


Well I dunno, I disagree with your assessment that it's any cheesier than any other metal subgenre - no more than black metal corpse paint, trad metal singing about warriors and how cool they are, death metal with OTT gore, etc. It's all cheesy at times. Just comes with the package. Personally I also think dismissing entire subgenres is silly and everything has some good stuff in it. And in a thread about what constitutes PM, I hardly think a post bashing the genre really adds much.

I would say Tad Morose, old Kamelot (Black Halo era), Dark at Dawn, Pharaoh, Black Majesty, Wardrum, Thy Majestie, Dynazty, Falconer, Excalion, some old Brainstorm albums like Soul Temptation, and Fireleaf are all great examples. I'd also list early Sonata Arctica and the last Avantasia album as superb examples, though you probably already heard that type of stuff if you were just going through a Wiki page.


Thanks for the recommendations, will def check them out over the coming days. My post was obviously a little bit provocative/not super serious but I just had checked out Grave Digger the night before, trying to find more classic German metal, and really didn't like it. I don't have anything against the image, lyrics and so on, quite the opposite, I'd rather listen to epic dragon slaying phantasy stories than politics, that's what almost makes it more annoying that somehow it's the music (of the bands I've checked out) that's rubbing me the wrong way. In theory I should love it. Anyhow, hope I'll be proven wrong and discover some cool bands I didn't know yet.

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Rodman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:42 am 
 

HaPoStaPu wrote:
Empyreal wrote:

Well I dunno, I disagree with your assessment that it's any cheesier than any other metal subgenre - no more than black metal corpse paint, trad metal singing about warriors and how cool they are, death metal with OTT gore, etc. It's all cheesy at times. Just comes with the package. Personally I also think dismissing entire subgenres is silly and everything has some good stuff in it. And in a thread about what constitutes PM, I hardly think a post bashing the genre really adds much.

I would say Tad Morose, old Kamelot (Black Halo era), Dark at Dawn, Pharaoh, Black Majesty, Wardrum, Thy Majestie, Dynazty, Falconer, Excalion, some old Brainstorm albums like Soul Temptation, and Fireleaf are all great examples. I'd also list early Sonata Arctica and the last Avantasia album as superb examples, though you probably already heard that type of stuff if you were just going through a Wiki page.


Thanks for the recommendations, will def check them out over the coming days. My post was obviously a little bit provocative/not super serious but I just had checked out Grave Digger the night before, trying to find more classic German metal, and really didn't like it. I don't have anything against the image, lyrics and so on, quite the opposite, I'd rather listen to epic dragon slaying phantasy stories than politics, that's what almost makes it more annoying that somehow it's the music (of the bands I've checked out) that's rubbing me the wrong way. In theory I should love it. Anyhow, hope I'll be proven wrong and discover some cool bands I didn't know yet.


Add mid-era Blind Guardian to the list.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:50 am 
 

I don't even really like epic dragon stuff so much. I guess some bands I listed do it but it's hardly something I really seek out.

And yeah BG and 90s Virgin Steele are other ones, though I figured you'd probably know them already.
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exsiccation
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:11 am 
 

If you start looking at formative and transitional bands in a genre, then yes, you are going to see overlap. This is true of basically any genre of metal. Is Black Sabbath metal or rock? Is Venom thrash or black? Is Queensryche heavy, power, or prog? In real life the genre lines are often pretty blurry and many of those older groups did not really care about labels that would solidify later.

Genre is important for forming an overall conceptual understanding of music, its history and influences, but like the stock market, it only has value as far as people agree it does, and there's a big heap of emotion and subjective interpretation driving it. If the boundaries between genres seem muddy to you, that's because they absolutely are.

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zonfar
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:40 pm 
 

In my opinion here are a couple things that stick out with power metal to me:

Guitar: lots of fast tremolo picking without staying on one note for too long
Vocals: Clean high ranged/pitched
Drums: Typically the "thrash beat" is used. (Hi-hat with bass, then snare, and repeat)

It's all very upbeat fast paced, and typically doesn't have a very dark or grungy sound to it. Anyways, that's how my feelings on it!

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Pitiless Wanderer
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:01 am 
 

I totally agree that PM gets unfairly labeled as "cheesy," especially when you compare it to kvlt black metal bands that dress up for Halloween when they play live. You know what I am talking about - not chains or black dyed hair or a little bit of makeup - but the bands that put severed goat heads on stakes, wear tons of face paint, masks etc. I am not even suggesting that the music from these bands is bad - I like a lot of it. But I mean seriously, it's way more cheesy than a PM band singing about conquering a foreign kingdom or slaying a fucking dragon.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:03 am 
 

Pitiless Wanderer wrote:
I totally agree that PM gets unfairly labeled as "cheesy," especially when you compare it to kvlt black metal bands that dress up for Halloween when they play live. You know what I am talking about - not chains or black dyed hair or a little bit of makeup - but the bands that put severed goat heads on stakes, wear tons of face paint, masks etc. I am not even suggesting that the music from these bands is bad - I like a lot of it. But I mean seriously, it's way more cheesy than a PM band singing about conquering a foreign kingdom or slaying a fucking dragon.


I just think if you're gonna accept the BM stuff, or Cannibal Corpse singing about raping and strangling dead people or whatever, then I don't see how power metal bands singing about dragons and fantasy/sci fi worlds is such a big leap.
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Rocka_Rollas
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:38 am 
 

zonfar wrote:
Drums: Typically the "thrash beat" is used. (Hi-hat with bass, then snare, and repeat)

NO!

Hihat (or ride) on BOTH kick and snare. Otherwise it just sounds stupid. But more presicely like this:

H-H-H-H
K-S-KK-S

(hihat/ride as H, kick as K and snare as S...)


What you're describing is the "Immortal - Call of the wintermoon" type beat. I have almost never heard a power/speed metal band do it, except amateur bands whos drummer doesn't seem to get his speed up in the hihat/ride hand.

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Runko
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:48 am 
 

Image

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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:28 am 
 

Did USPM start with the Queensryche EP? Seems to embody it to me, especially "white collar" USPM.
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Bingewolf
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:22 pm 
 

To me, power metal is clean production, faster playing, major keys and, usually, some classical elements. Usually a lot of cheese in the lyrical content...

Power metal has been one of the genres that I've never gotten into. I like a couple of Sonata Arctica songs but I've never gone much further than that. Children of Bodom was probably the closest to power metal that I've gotten. Similar to when folk metal had it's moment (bands like Turisas), I just can't connect with the music.

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rexxz
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:23 pm 
 

There's a huge amount of power metal that are none of those things, though. The genre is much more diverse than that.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:25 pm 
 

Bingewolf wrote:
To me, power metal is clean production, faster playing, major keys and, usually, some classical elements. Usually a lot of cheese in the lyrical content...


A lot of people refer to that as "flower metal" to differentiate it from US Power Metal (USPM), for example.
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rexxz
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:27 pm 
 

Only basement dwelling nerds use that term unironically, tbh. I'd avoid it like the plague unless you want to look like some kind of dweeb with no friends.
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