About a year and a half ago, Nightwish was pretty much the only symphonic metal band I listened to, but after stumbling across Xandria last year (especially their album Neverworld’s End, which is perhaps my favorite symphonic metal album so far, or at least tied with Nightwish’s Imaginaerum), I have been steadily expanding my tastes for the genre. I have realized that their often fantastical themes, ridiculously cheesy as their lyrics may sometimes be, provide wonderful inspiration for my writing (perhaps equally cheesy) fantasy.
Just recently, some new singles have been released from some upcoming albums.
First up, there’s Battle of Arcane Might from Twilight Force’s upcoming album Heroes of Mighty Magic. (How’s that for a cheesy fantasy title?)
I’m not so sure about all the girly pink and purple color scheme, but, well, there’s a dragon! Anyway, I love the track; triumphant sound, and a nice cinematic melody.
Then there’s Hammer of the Gods from Freedom Call’s upcoming album, Master of Light:
They’ve got a pretty distinct style, often featuring very anthem-like choruses. I always find them pretty catchy, and this track is no exception.
Finally, there’s The Lost Battalion from Sabaton’s upcoming album The Last Stand:
I actually couldn’t get into Sabaton’s music at first; the main singer’s deeper, grungier voice is quite a difference from the more operatic female vocals featured in bands like Nightwish and Xandria. But they’re still actually singing here. I highly doubt I’ll ever get into those uglier types of heavy metal that feature singers just vomiting into the mic.
Rather than singing about fantasy, their albums are always war-based concept albums. They don’t glorify war for its own sake, but rather tell war stories, often honoring and paying musical tribute to real men who served. So one could certainly learn some history listening to their music. And their melodies, in a different context, could almost be folk songs. But they’re just as catchy in their bombastic epic metal form.
So three upcoming albums I’m looking forward to. Xandria’s also recording a new album at this very moment, which is awesome. Now I just want Ancient Bards to release a new album…