My buddy and metal guru Ben Smasher suggested that I should take a look at all the releases from No Fashion Records. While glancing through their release list, of which they have many of not only my favorite Swedish albums but metal albums in general, there were a lot I wasn’t familiar with but one name jumped out at me immediately: The Storyteller. Fucking power metal. Yes!
I was surprised to find them, considering how flowery and cheesy their form of power metal is, amongst some of the legendary Swedish black and death metal releases. It’s also their debut album so maybe they were a little rougher then.
This could be a good time to talk about Swedish power metal. If you’ve ever looked at this blog before you’ll know I’m quite fond of Swedish extreme metal (yes I count power metal as extreme) and while some of the most popular power metal of the past decade or two has come from Sweden, I don’t think the country as a whole is really recognized as a power metal power house. Maybe they are and it’s just secondary or thirdly to the amazing black and death metal the country has put out. Just a basic overview of Swedish power metal will turn up bands like Bloodbound, Civil War, Cryonic Temple, Crystal Eyes, Dionysus, Dream Evil, the almighty Falconer, power metal revivalists HammerFall, the epically missed Lost Horizon, Nocturnal Rites, current power metal dominators Sabaton, and bringing up the cheese currently, Twilight Force. A diverse group even amongst power metal, if ever there was one, and that’s just the surface.
A little below the radar you’ll find The Storyteller, who’s name is the perfect description for what they do, which is epically based, story-heavy “bard” like power metal, which is to say, the tell epic fucking stories with power metal. And as I mentioned above, this being their debut album, they hadn’t quite perfected their style yet and were indeed rougher around the edges. It still feels uniquely like Euro-centric power metal with the drama and cheese but there is that less refined quality that reminds me of the more fly by the seat of your pants style of the 80’s American power metal, or the transitional German bands from speed to power metal like Blind Guardian. There’s no progressive or technical flash here, it’s just all the power metal grandstanding: epic solos, ballads, soaring vocals, and catchy singalong songs.
But totally fucking awesome and but a nugget of where the band goes from here, which is to say they only get more grand and more theatrical and ridiculous, ridiculous being a term of endearment when talking about power metal. So check this one out because Sweden does all the genres right.