Power metal is among the most interesting subgenres of the vast sea that is the hard rock and metal community. Unlike say thrash metal, death metal, black metal and other more aggressive subsets of hard rock and metal, it is not quite as respected as its noted counterparts. Sure, great bands, such as Judas Priest, Sabaton, Dragonforce, and Metal Church have served to make the genre at least somewhat respectable. However, thanks to bands, such as Manowar, Stratovarius and Freedom Call, the genre has also continued to maintain its place as the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the hard rock and metal community. That is due to the grandiose and over the top nature of the genre’s musical arrangements, what with its soaring guitars and operatic vocal delivery styles. The genre’s lyrical themes, which often focus on elements of fantasy – dragons, wizards, magic, etc. – also play into that reputation. Even Judas Priest has fallen victim to this, having crafted a song about the Loch Ness Monster, of all things, on its 2005 album Angel of Retribution. Ironically, even with the reputation that it has developed, power metal still has its audience, and that audience does not seem to be waning any. The forthcoming release of fledgling power metal band Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP supports that statement. The five-song record is a presentation that fans of that unabashedly cheesy side of power metal will appreciate in part because of its musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content featured alongside said musical arrangements adds to that appeal for the noted audiences. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s overall production and mixing puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here does its own unique part in making Battle Born an appealing record for the most devoted power metal fans. All things considered, they make the record a hopeful start for what is just one of the latest additions to the power metal community.
Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is a positive start for the up-and-coming power metal band. That is because in part, the 24-minute EP takes on all of the musical trademarks of the genre. The warp speed drumming, orchestral keyboard line and guitars, to the over-the-top chants of “bring the metal back” and even the use of the harp in the EP’s come together to serve as a clear example of that familiar musical style for which the genre has come to be known. The same applies with the guitar and drum-driven arrangement at the center of ‘Man of War.’ It takes itself so seriously that it is just gloriously cheesy. It takes itself so seriously that one can’t help but love how absurdly cheesy it is, like something from a 80s hair metal band. ‘For Our Home,’ the album’s penultimate song, is just as saccharine in its so serious its comical approach. The Manowar influence oozes from the steady driving drum beat, vocals and contemplative keyboard line. Now keep in mind, this is not meant to speak disrespectfully of Battle Born. Rather it is meant just to point out the fact that the EP’s over-the-top musical presentation is everything that power metal fans have come to expect and appreciate about the genre. Much the same could be said of the EP’s opener, ‘Battle Born’ and its finale, ‘Sovngarde Awaits.’ It is an approach that fans of the genre will appreciate. What’s more, the band – Jack Reynolds (vocals), Will Kerr (guitars, keyboards), Tom O’Dell (guitars, vocals), Chris Beattie (bass) and Charles Lamacraft-Perett (drums) – has crafted five arrangements here that while are trademark power metal opuses, are still unique compositions to the band. The band worked to make the EP’s songs sound unlike arrangements from its power metal counterparts. They are not wholly unlike works from other power metal bands, but do still boast their own identity. To that end, it’s one more way in which the EP’s musical arrangements will appeal to the most devoted power metal fans. The EP’s musical content is just one way in which the record makes itself appealing to the noted listener base. Its lyrical content adds to that appeal.
The lyrical content featured in Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is important to note because it is another way in which the record meets the norms of so much power metal. The record, for the most part, is centered on elements of Bethesda Game Studios’ popular fantasy game Skyrim. The fifth installment of the popular Elder Scrolls role-playing game series, Skyrim, follows the story of The Dragonborn in its effort to defeat a dragon named World-Eater. This focus on a fantasy story from a video game is unique in its own right, even as the connection between power metal and fantasy stories is in the bigger picture, more common place. It stands out from say, the fantasy story at the center of Unleash The Archers’ forthcoming album Abyss and even more so from, say, most albums from Blind Guardian in its matter, but more closely to works from perhaps twilight Force and Rhapsody. The only seeming break from the fantasy stories in this record comes in the EP’s second song, ‘Bring The Metal Back.’ This song, which is certain to be a live favorite for fans, just touts the positives of metal music. Other than that one moment, the rest of the EP’s lyrical theme stays in the fantasy realm. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear by now why this EP’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as the record’s musical arrangements.
The musical and lyrical content featured in Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP does a lot to make the record a work that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate. That has been hopefully clearly pointed out here. For all of the impact that it has on the EP’s presentation, it is only a portion of what said audiences will appreciate. The record’s production and mixing makes that noted musical content work as well as it does. The EP’s opener and title track is a prime example of the impact of the production and mixing here. The song, which lends itself to songs from Sabaton in its arrangement, balances very well, the steady time keeping of drummer Lamacraft-Perett, the guitar work of Kerr and O’Dell and the keyboards with Reynolds’ vocals. Reynolds’ delivery is expertly balanced with the instrumentation from his band mates. The punch of the drums as the EP’s second entry, ‘Bring the Metal Back’ is a pivotal moment for the song. Between that and the chanting, the two elements together make it a key moment that really is the song’s biggest accent. In the same vein, the balance of the vocals, keyboards and drums in ‘Man of War’ makes for its own impact. The vocals lead the way, but the drums are so well-balanced with the vocals while the keyboards add just enough punch to the song to keep listeners engaged. The addition of the bass and guitar to the song is handled just as well as the song progresses. The end result of all of these elements being combined is a work that is just as powerful and engaging as any of the EP’s other songs. When it is considered with the result of the production and mixing in the other songs addressed here and that of the EP’s other two songs, the result is a clear picture of why the EP’s production and mixing is so important. The result of the EP’s production and mixing makes it a presentation whose sound is just as appealing for audiences as the record’s overall content. Keeping all of this in mind, all three noted items come together to make the EP a presentation that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate.
Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is a work that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate. It doesn’t necessarily break any new ground within the genre. That is the case in examining the record’s musical and lyrical content. At the same time though, that it is everything that the noted audiences have come to expect from the genre will still appeal to audiences. Add in that the arrangements are unique despite being comparable to works from the band’s more well-known power metal counterparts, that makes the EP more appealing to the noted audiences. The record’s lyrical themes are everything that audiences have come to expect from the power metal world, but are still unique in their own right, too. The production and mixing makes everything noted sound good. All three items noted here are key in their own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make Battle Born a record that while maybe not a groundbreaker in the power metal realm, still a record that fans of said genre will enjoy. It will be available Friday direct from the band. More information on Battle Born is available along with all of Battle Born’s latest news at:
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