Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Convention metal from an unlikely source. - 84%

hells_unicorn, January 28th, 2012

My opinion on super-bands has changed a bit over the years, from being ambivalent to being mostly positive on the matter. A lot of this switch in mindset can be credited to bands like Absolute Power, an outfit just recently unleashed from the isle of Britain with about as much metallic glory as can be expected for a freshman effort. However, the members in congress are anything but freshmen, save for the fact that this is the first project I’ve heard out of each respectively that doesn’t fall into an extreme metal sub-genre. It’s a curious thing, seeing an orthodox take on heavy metal from artists like Shane Embury and Mitch Harris who made their careers ushering the most vile hybrid of punk and extreme metal influences in the late 80s with Napalm Death, as while this style may have coincided with their era of early composition, it’s about as far from what they were doing as can be.

The influences on display in this powerful debut are pretty wide in terms of bands, many from the 80s, and almost as many from the recent power metal revival, but the presentation is 100% melodic and based in the non-extreme, pre-thrash paradigm of the NWOBHM and various contemporaries. Comparisons to Diamond Head, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Metal Church (particularly the non-thrash influences) and Blitzkrieg would all fit, as would more recent offerings out of Hammerfall and Dream Evil, yet this largely avoids becoming gratuitous in the metal worship area of the latter generation in favor of a balanced mixture of fanfare and storytelling. Everything is presented in a catchy, easy to follow format, merging together the grit of a Grave Digger with the polish of a Dokken, and presenting a retro 80s sound in a present day production context.

It’s tough to really go wrong with the various songs found on here, which cover a good variety of bases within a somewhat constrained style and avoids being a mere one-trick pony. Those who like their speed metal with both gusto and a slight “Painkiller” edge will definitely go for the title song, “Raging Pursuer” and “Faster Than The Speed Of Evil”. Meanwhile those who hunger for a slightly tamer and slower variety more in line with Leatherwolf or mid-80s Accept will see “Secrets” and “Forbidden Fruit” as the clear winners. But the rabid Iron Maiden fanatics who ate up the earlier offerings of Cryonic Temple about 7 years ago will definitely want to skip to “Sea Of Horns”, a song that is about as lyrically predictable as they come, but has a nice driving gallop to it and plenty of early metal clichés to literally transport the listener back to 1983.

This is one of those albums where everything falls into place nicely and, even though it never really offers any surprises to speak of, definitely scores big in the quality department. It’s clearly possessed of a rougher, German (as in non-Helloween) character when it gets aggressive, while the lighter material nestles itself somewhere nicely between the commercial rock influences of Persian Risk and the harder edged early Saxon material. It’s definitely put together with an eye for people roughly the same age as Embury and Harris (ergo people who heard this style back when it was first pioneered), but it has a freshness to it that should carry over to plenty in the younger crowd who are more drawn to the present power metal scene.

A powerful salute to the gods of old - 80%

Xyrth, January 26th, 2012

Absolute Power is another of the so-called supergroups of late, also another indicative of the solidarity and companionship that exists within the metal community. The aim of these well-known British extreme metal musicians is clear: to fuckin’ rock in classic heavy metal fashion. The monolithic hand giving the horns on the cover artwork perfectly encompasses the music and attitude within. There’s nothing new under the sun, just the power of double bass drums, heavy riffs, good ol’ shredding and soaring vocals that pay homage to yesterday’s (and in some cases, still today’s) metal heroes. The might of Priest, Accept, Manowar, Riot and especially Saxon, amongst others, is conjured up though not plagiarized. This is all “new” unadulterated heavy/power metal, and had the names of the musicians involved been undisclosed, I’d have never guessed they are related to extreme metal bands.

Absolute Power starts with the title-track, which is one of the faster, more power metal oriented songs, and like other songs from the album it sports the talent of guest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens, who supports the Biff Biford-sounding Simon Efemey. Another high-profile guest is guitarist Brian Tatler of Diamond Head fame, who provides some extra soloing. However, the core member themselves are more than capable of writing solid material, and most of the other songs range from highly enjoyable to a bit uneventful. Actually, the pair of two-minute songs is the weak share of the bunch. “The Hidden Battle” wouldn’t totally be out of place as the soundtrack of a fantasy-themed RPG, but as an interlude in the middle of the album it feels a bit like filler. And the brief ballad “Circles” doesn’t adds much to the table, maybe serves as a calm buildup for the amazing closer that is “Faster than the Speed of Evil”, my favorite track, again featuring the sky-high shrieks of Mr. Owens, and as it name implies, the faster song on Absolute Power.

But as a whole, this record is rock-solid in terms of quality. There are plenty of sing-along choruses, like the ones found on the title-track, “Sea of Horns”, “Land of Steel” or the hard-rocking “Full Metal Roar”. Riffs are derivative stuff, but they are efficiently enough and manage to get you steadily headbanging. “Raging Pursuer”, has quite a propulsive rhythm, and wouldn’t be out of place in an early 80’s Priest album, while “Standard Bearer” feels a bit more modern mid-paced power metal, having an old Hammerfall vibe. The solos are totally 80’s shreddy stuff as expected, but they’re not overtly technical or flashy, and are usually short. As for the rhythmic section, it never gets to play at the forefront, yet it serves its purpose of providing the needed backbone, though I have to add that just like on Lock Up’s Necropolis Transparent, another recent album featuring Shane Embury’s bass, he is not heard much here, and it’s a shame, since he is an excellent bassist. In this case, the other instruments do not overpower his bass, it’s just that he mostly follows the guitar lines, vanishing in the process.

While far from being absolutely outstanding, Absolute Power is a lighthearted classic heavy/power metal album, and its good and reliable for what it is. For what one can hear, it seems that all the band members greatly enjoyed playing and recording this album, which was primarily available for download through Feto Records, although there was an intention of releasing physical copies as well. Whatever you choose to get, this is worthy and amusing. Truth is, I probably end up listening this more than many of the works of the regular bands from which these gentlemen come from.