Some say that Power Metal is dying, like it’s outdated and isn’t interesting for no one. Nevertheless, Sabaton and Powerwolf are pretty good with regular sold out shows. “Classic” Power is ok too: e.g. Helloween‘s “Pumpkin United” tour was that good that the band went to the studio to record a new album with Kiske and Hansen. Relatively new bands are keeping up either, like Victorius, which release their new album Space Ninjas From Hell in the beginning of 2020.
The band’s fifth release is a concept album about (suddenly) ninja clan from space that want to invade the Earth. Yeah, that’s right! Well, what? If Power Metal lyrics and albums are about dragons and magic, knights and (electric) castles, wizards and other worlds, then hellish space ninjas also have right to exist. Maybe lyrically that’s what “Modern Power Metal” is about: Gloryhammer make mega-pretentious space operas, Grailknights are going to 80s superheroes cartoons style while Victorius mixing ideas and taking them too far, almost ad absurdum (just think about space ninja base on the dark side of the sun!). However, their previous release Dinosaur Warfare: Legend Of The Power Saurus was not worse than this one: dinosaurs with lasers fighting aliens; it will be even better with the artwork! But as for me, in contrast to “classic” Power Metal bands, which sing about swords and dragons, new bands are fully aware of what they do and what do they sing about, not demanding from the listener to take them seriously. So here it’ll be more appropriately to draw a parallel between Victorius and Nanowar Of Steel that just making fun or rise the bar of idiotism (hey, it’s a compliment!) so high that it can be acceptable only with a sense of humor.
Alright, it’s understood about concept and lyrics but what about music? Here things getting serious. Space Ninjas From Hell opens with “Tale Of Sunbladers” which has a major key intro and after that knocks you off your feet with its frenetic pace. Many compare Victorius with Dragonforce rightfully: hurricane drums and simple but fast riffs do their job very well. The chorus is melodic, catchy and very clingy. So it’s understood immediately what to expect from the album. Looking ahead, I’ll say that most of the songs are made with the same pattern, but I’ll talk about it later.
This album has plenty of catchy choruses: “Super Sonic Samurai”, “Evil Wizard WuShu Master”, “Wrath Of The Dragongod” – almost in every song there will be something that will stuck in your head for a long time, the chorus, the bridge or some solo. It’s possible to blame the band in some poppy motives, but hey, it work! Moreover, there are lots of elements or references to 80-90s cartoons or arcade games that make these songs even more clingy, especially if you like such aesthetics or just disgustingly nostalgic like me.
Well, Power Metal without pretentiousness isn’t Power Metal and this album has it also. Sublime and full of pathos “Wrath Of The Dragongod” sounds quite seamless in the album, the genre obliges and whatnot. But the next one “Astral Assassin Shark Attack” you can easily send to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as an etalon of pretentiousness: mega-encouraging intro, Dragonforce-esque riffs and drums, lots of synths; in a word it’s so inspiring that you want to take out your
sword katana and go to the battle for all that good against all that evil.
Against this background the sinister “Wasabi War Machine” (as far as wasabi war machine can be sinister) and lyric “Cosmic Space Commando Base”. I mean these songs could be sinister or lyrical but the album’s concept and songs’ lyrics cause only smile and laugh. However it is not bad at all, contrariwise, it’s great!
The album ends with the track named “Shinobi Strike 3000”: synth sounds and pathetic voice, which tells the story, happened in the album shortly and with humor. I don’t know why Victorius decided to put this track in the end of the album; it will be more appropriately to put it in the beginning. But on the other hand this track proves one more time that the whole story told in Space Ninjas From Hell is humor and banter, if anybody took all of this seriously until now.
All in all, Victorius‘ fifth album is fast and solid. It can be said that all the songs made with the same pattern, they cheesy and poppy – well, yes, maybe. Nevertheless, you aren’t getting tired from Space Ninjas From Hell, you don’t want to turn off the songs and like I said there are lots of catchy, clingy choruses! But the most important that this album cause you to smile every time you listen to it. That means a lot!
Space Ninjas From Hell will be released on January, 17th via Napalm Records. You can buy Vinyl LP on Amazon – https://amzn.to/2FS6n3F
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