It should come as no surprise that Germany has produced another top-notch power metal band – Gloryful, whose second album “Ocean Blade” is coming out on June 10. The new album is a fun listen built on the gritty directness of heavy metal riffing, sometimes upping things to a frantic speed metal pace, and embellishing it all with epic vocals and fantastic subject matter. Singer Johnny LaBomba’s vocals vary from hard and aggressive, to high notes that have a mournful, hymnal air, and even a Halford-esque shriek at one point. The subject matter adds even more epic flair: “Ocean Blade” is a concept album about an adventure on the high seas in search of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna, who is portrayed on the album as a monster that the adventurers must fight. The momentum and rousing chorus of the first song, “Hiring the Dead,” draw the listener into this fantastic journey — only to have their ears blasted off by the thunder of blazing guitars opening the second song, “E Mare, E Libertad.” The band continues to show off their guitar prowess with the racing riffs of “The Master’s Hands” and the thundering “All Men To The Arms,” and to carry the listener along with irresistible fist-pumping choruses. In between these songs is a change of pace in the grandiose heavy metal epic (complete with galloping bassline) “Cradle of Heroes,” and the acoustic and folky “Black Legacy,” a lovely song worthy of Blackmore’s Night. A surprising hit is the oddly named but very catchy “McGuerkin on the Bridge” – I can’t help headbanging to its speedy riffs and playful melodic leads. The journey ends with “Siren’s Song,” the most unabashedly power metal song on the album with fast, melodic guitar leads, less grit in the vocals, and choir of female voices near the end, and then an outro track of crashing waves and languid strings. If you’ve a taste for power metal and fantastic adventure, then this album is sure to satisfy you on both counts.
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