It’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things. Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released. I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had. Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler. To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future. I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks. Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
There are a few metal sub-genres that I’m pickier than a toddler at the dinner table with. Of the ones I am most picky with, Power Metal would probably take the cake. In my opinion, good Power Metal needs to have something I call the cheese factor (superfluousness, theatrics, high-flying-ness, not taking things too serious-ness, etc) balanced in the right place. Not enough cheese you end up with one of those sad solo Timo Tolkki records, too much and the band is just a parody of itself (Rhapsody of Fire excluded). Get it in the right and you end up with some of the greats like Helloween and Stratovarius. Now, to add to my pickiness, since I can go pop one of the already Ch-balanced records in any time I want, a new Power Metal band really has to do something unique and original to grab me by the shorty hairs and get me to pay attention. That’s the hard part and probably why I haven’t fallen for a new Power Metal band in quite some time now. Enter Canada’s Crimson Shadows and their major label debut and sophomore record Kings Among Men.
Amid the blood-soaked battle-field two great warriors stood. A warrior adorned in lavish golden armor encrusted with glistening jewels and detailed etchings steps slowly but determined through the red drenched grass of the plains of death. His sterling sword shines brightly as it miraculously finds every rare ray of sun to reflect as the fury of battle has filled the sky with clouds of dust and mists of blood. He looks with unbridled resolve toward his rival who is also carefully making his way toward the ornate battle master with a look of murderous intent in his eyes.
With fresh blood dripping from his trusty maul, the rival snorts, spits and wipes excess filth off of his beard. He begins to chuckle knowing that armor made of gold can never protect the flashy warrior from the blunt force of his massive hammer. But he is also aware of the dexterity and swift skill of the golden man. His armor may be tough, but the steel has taken much damage throughout the battle he has been fighting all morning long. He can’t let himself get too cocky as that may cost him his life he has been fighting so hard for. Lost in his battle though the hammer swinging warrior hears the golden man call something out. “What was that you flowery pansy? I can’t hear you over the screams of your dying” the bearded warrior scoffed followed by a loud snort and ‘Ha’.
With an air of nobility the golden warrior reaches up and pushes his long flowing hair from his face and shouts again, “How dare you and your people invade the great lands of Melodia. You and your like have no right to be here on our peaceful lands. Head back to your lands of dark and stone and leave us in peace. You have disgraced our realm long enough!”
“We only wished to share in your crops of melodonium. My people crave it also and our lands are incapable of growing it. We only want to share what you already have too much of.”
“Had you asked peacefully we may have come to a peaceful agreement. But, you, and your clans came…. They did unspeakable things to our peaceful people. There was rape, there were horrible accounts of brutal torture.” The golden knight for a moment let his guard down as memories came flashing back into his mind. Memories of when this whole war started. He had loved once, but the savage people of the Death Crags had taken that away from him. His wife, his children, gone and never to be seen again. This pain was not just his, but all of his lands. Many of his brethren had lost so much to the attacks of the Crag dwellers. He quickly composed himself again.
“You took our crops and lands by force. You took our lives and our love. There is no forgiveness for what you have done. I shall, right now and here, avenge all those who have fallen.” Rage burned in his eyes, but also in the eyes of the Crag warrior.
“We have tried to be civil in our attempts to acquire the melodonium. Your borders have always been blocked and when we approach we are scoffed away. Your people look at our kind as drunken fools and savages. We yearn and love just as you. Your crop allows us to achieve a balance and we have come to warn you of this. But,your people laughed at us and sent us away. If not for your selfishness and ignorance we would have never taken the land by force. This is your fault. But enough talk, words cannot settle this dispute anymore. Have at you!!!”
With both bellowing in their battle cries they charged. Remaining injured men form both camps rose and dashed through the floor of the dead to aid their leaders in battle. Swords clashed and axes tore limbs and hammers snapped bones and armor. They fought until it was just the two of them left standing. But not really standing. Both had suffered mortal wounds and it was just a matter of time until the life flowed from their bodies and back into the planet. The Crag man was the first to fall as a sword had found its way into his underarm slicing an artery leaving him bleeding with no way to stop the flow. He was the lucky one.
Having sustained a sharp blow to the chest from the maul, the golden knights bones were shattered and piercing lungs and jutting at his slowly beating heart ripping it to shreds with each thump. After the adrenaline of battle quickly wore of he fell to the ground and prayed that the medics could stop the pain and save his life. But deep down he knew this wasn’t true.
The medics did eventually come and the golden knight survived the trip back to camp with great agony. On his way back to the camp he reflected on the error of his ways. He had been selfish and arrogant. He had known that the Crag men had tried to negotiate at the borders peacefully, but like its guards, he scoffed them off. He had thought their savage ways were too crude and would make disgrace of the crop of melodonium that his people had toiled over for ages. After seeing them fight so hard in battle and hearing the glorious sounds of their realms combined the golden knight had a change of heart and felt sympathy. Struggling for breath to utter his final words on that wagon back to the camp he turned to a young nurse tending to the other wounded and dying. He grabbed the youth by the thigh and with an intent stare forced out the word “Peace” before the pain of his rib bones ravaging his internal organs overcame him and he passed out and passed on not to long afterwards.
Moved by the honorable knights final word that young nurse started to campaign the war-torn realms with messages of peace. Both sides had suffered much loss and in swift time an agreement was made. While animosity between the two still lingered in some of the people the majority had accepted each other. Denizens of both the lands started to mingle with the other and travel between the lands became common. Melodians and Crag people started to find each other and love was made ushering a mixed race of two great races.
OK, maybe I got carried way there….. anyways, to hear what the epic battle between the Melodians and Crag people sounded like and eventually led to check out this weeks super awesome full album stream. Infusing the bombastic over-the-top sounds of power metal with the crushing brutality of death metal Crimson Shadows have crafted an amazing and refreshing hybrid of the two contrasting styles and released an album that all should check out. Glory on the Battlefield is a rip-roaring listen and tons of fun and brutality from front to back. Check it out. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
For more on Crimson Shadows check out their Facebook page and give them a ‘like’ if your feeling frisky 😉