Releasedate: March 29th 2013
Recordlabel: Napalm Records
Gloryhammer is the new project of keyboard-player and singer Christopher Bowes from Alestorm.
Christopher’s life seems to be all about ‘epic quests’, and with this new project he steps out of the world of piracy, and into a world of ‘heroic fantasy power metal’. He gathered some fellow Scottish men around him (that you might or might not know from Emerald and Sorcerer’s spell), and Gloryhammer became a fact.
Now I have to confess, power metal really isn’t my kind of metal, neither is Alestorm. But since the last one usually manages to put a smile on my face because the high amount of silliness, I’ll give Gloryhammer a try. Looking at the tracklist of this album, first thing to my mind was: ‘is this supposed to be something serious, or just as silly as I expect it to be?’
Serious or not, when listening to the album I had to admit that the members of Gloryhammer are in fact real talented musicians, and they delivered a pretty decent album. The fact that they all personify one of the characters they sing about makes it even more interesting.
Some magic out of the Kingdom Of Fife must have reached Christopher his fingers cause he’s playing as fast like a maniac on this album. Same for guitar player Paul, who actually plays some nice solo’s, for example in The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee. I also am very impressed by the voice of singer Thomas (Bowes is only doing keyboards in Gloryhammer, and no vocals). Hitting the high notes perfectly seems to be pretty easy for him! Bass player James and drummer Ben weren’t skipped when the magic was handed out, because both of them as well deliver nice and tight work on this album.
The album starts in some nice up tempo, but slows down a bit when Quest For The Hammer Of Glory sets in, and reaches its slowest point with the ballad Silent Tears Of Frozen Princess. And even though it’s typical for power metal bands to produce some ballads every now and then, this one doesn’t really do it for me and could also have been left out.
Reaching the end of the album the tempo goes upwards again with the beginning of the instrumental song Beneath Cowdenbeath.
The album ends with The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder, which can’t be describe in a better way than epic indeed. It shows again the craftsmanship of the band members, has some nice guitar-solo’s and even some female vocals pass by.
Well, what can I say. I’m pleasantly surprised by this album. To be honest I didn’t really expect much of it, but it turned out to be pretty good. And though I can never take power metal very seriously, especially not the fantasy/unicorn/dragon-slayer stuff, Gloryhammer has produced a decent album. It is what I always like to call ‘great music while driving in my car’. It’s catchy and uptempo, perfect for staying awake, and when not driving: to party and drink on!
1) Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy
2) The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee
3) Angus McFife
4) Quest for the Hammer of Glory
5) Magic Dragon
6) Silent Tears of Frozen Princess
7) Amulet of Justice
8) Hail to Crail
9) Beneath Cowdenbeath
10) The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder
11) Wizards! (on special edition only)