Friday, May 14, 2021

5 Metal Albums for Geeks and Nerds.

November 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( In Black nerd circles you’ll find many of us who rock with metal, punk, and rock music—among other genres. I love heavy metal and synthwave in addition to Southern hip-hop and trap. For some of us, metal and punk were easy to get into because it’s outsider music for outsiders. Although for the rest, they just love the music because it’s different from what they grew up around.

This is just the tip of the iceberg but here are five heavy metal albums for those of us who love sci-fi, fantasy, and all that stuff.

Animetal – Animetal Marathon V (2003)

Speed metal is basically faster traditional heavy metal while power metal grew out of speed metal and focuses on sci-fi and fantasy lyrics (for the most part). That’s what Animetal played between 1996 and 2006 before becoming Aisenshi in 2013 when the band was kind of revived.

When it comes to metal in Japan, speed metal, power metal, and neo classical metal (an extention of speed and power metal) were the dominant styles for years thanks to bands like Judas Priest, Anvil, and so on regularly touring the country.

Animetal - Animetal Marathon V (2003)

Some anime themes are power metal songs such as Hunter x Hunter’s “Hunting For Your Dream” by Galneryus and the opening themes of Attack on Titan by Linked Horizon.

That brings us back to Animetal which was band whose whole gimmick was anime covers from the popular series. Animetal has a ton of albums but the main reason I picked Animetal Marathon V was for the cover of “Pegasus Fantasy” from Saint Seiya. In reality, you could pick any album and find some good covers from anime and live action shows such as Ultraman.

3 Inches of Blood – Advance and Vanquish (2004)

If you dig fantasy or you’re in the heat of battle or a raid in an MMORPG, 3 Inches of Blood is the ticket. The band played a brand of power metal called epic heavy metal or U.S power metal (depending on period). It’s a harder-edged version of power metal. Think Conan or Red Sonja compared to Lord of the Rings or Percy Jackson fantasy-wise.

This is the second album from band and delivers tales of failed kings, fighting orcs, and battles with swords and axes. Basically, if you took out all of the travel and discussion from Lord of the Rings films and was left with the battles.

Now, the one hurdle for new listeners will probably be Cam Pipes’ high-pitched shrieks and wails. I loved the vocals when I first heard them because that’s my favorite vocal style from singers like Rob Halford of Judas Priest.

The band ended in 2015 with five full-length albums to its name. Fire Up the Blades and the darker Here Awaits Thy Doom are also recommended but you can’t go wrong with Advance and Vanquish. It has a fast pace and plenty of anthems.

Recommended Songs: Deadly Sinners (extremely recommended), Premonition of Pain, Swordmaster, Axes of Evil

DragonForce – Valley of the Damned (2003)

If you’ve played Guitar Hero, you’re familiar with DragonForce. Their song “Through the Fire and Flames” is one of the harder songs to score perfect on because of the blistering guitar playing. It’s actually the main thing that pushed them to fame rapidly: incredible and incredibly fast guitar work.

It’s not unusual for modern power metal but DragonForce was one of the younger bands to crossover into the mainstream with the style. Their first album Valley of Damned doesn’t feature “Through the Fire and Flames” but features the same playing style and along with amazing vocals.

DragonForce’s songs on this album are positive while still tied into the fantasy themes of the genre.

Recommended Songs: Valley of the Damned, Black Winter Night, Heart of a Dragon

Blind Guardian – Battalions of Fear (1988)

I couldn’t feature all of this power metal in this list and not mention one of the pioneers of the genre—German band, Blind Guardian. Their earlier stuff from the late 80s-early 90s is easier to get into since it’s speed metal before it morphed into power metal. Also, this album is a great intro to speed metal while keeping with a fantasy theme.

Battalions of Fear is heavily based on Lord of the Rings as is the follow up Follow the Blind. Again, the vocals might be difficult to get into but the instruments are tight and the lyrics are stepped in wizards, hobbits, magic, and quests. I really dig this album.

By the third album in 1992, Blind Guardian was full on power metal but still far from what power metal became in the late 90s.

Recommended Songs: Majesty, Run for the Night (extremely recommended)

Iron Savior – Iron Savior (1997)

There’s a lot of fantasy in this list so I decided to drop some sci-fi here. Trust me, there will be a follow up that is mostly science fiction-themed albums. Iron Savior is another German band that is more rooted in the early/mid 90s speed/power metal.

Their 1997 self-titled debut showcases that as a faster version of Gamma Ray—another band which is basically a sci-fi version of Blind Guardian. Look out for that band in part two!

Vocally, lead singer Piet Sielck is easier on the ears for the bulk of the album. Each album is part of a large story but they’re not all concept albums. This one sets the ground work for the story involving sentient machines, entities, and adventure.

Recommended Songs: Iron Savior, Riding on Fire (extremely recommended), Watcher in the Sky

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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