The Power Metalhead & The Sea Part II
Lo and behold, we set out once again on a voyage ‘cross the seas. After a first foray into nautically themed power metal, still available for consultation here, we venture on a brand new adventure, with some old, but mostly new musical companions. Sit back and let the waves of metallic goodness wash over you!
The Voyage: This song is part of a larger narrative running throughout “Vale” and the subsequent album “Easton Hope”, which serves as a prequel to the story of Alister Vale. In this episode Alister, a cursed man who leaves death behind everywhere he goes, is sentenced to die on the sea. During a large storm his executioners are swept overboard and once again Alister is the only remaining survivor, ultimately washing ashore on a beach in the middle of nowhere.
The Booty: Orden Ogan is the first of a few repeats from the original playlist, just because they do this sea shanty thing so damn well. From delicate piano melodies as soft as the rolling waves to the tempestuous chants leading to the sailors’ doom, it’s a rollicking adventure on the high seas and a perfect opener to not only this playlist, but to the wonderful “Vale” album as well.
Fairyland – Assault On The Shore
The Voyage: Continuing a saga started on “Of Wars In Osyrhia” and “The Fall Of An Empire”, this track follows protagonist Doryan after a short sea voyage as he launches an assault on a shore (well duh) against a group of slave traders. Heroics and combat ensue, and Doryan emerges victorious.
The Booty: One line in this song sums it up perfectly: “Feeling glorious!” That’s exactly the feeling you get from listening to it, fists in the air, shouting along at the top of your lungs. The build-up to the climactic chorus is excellent, and the pay-off even better. One of my favorite Fairyland songs, from my favorite album “Score To A New Beginning”. Other possible choices included “Across The Endless Sea Part II” and “Master Of The Waves”.
While Heaven Wept – Vessel
The Voyage: Hold on to your handkerchiefs, because this is a love story. I interpret is as the tale of two souls seeking refuge and togetherness, sailing away into an unknown sunset with nothing but their mutual love and companionship. Are you weeping yet?
The Booty: Not quite as heroic and power metal as their peers on this list, While Heaven Wept have a wonderful sense of melancholy. This is one of their sweeter songs, not quite as doomy as some of their other work. Almost the entire album “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” came into consideration, but “The Furthest Shore” clocks in at 15 minutes and is best preserved for some sort of ocean epic-playlist. And “Vessel” has that unforgettable, haunting chorus, so there’s that.
Dragonland – The Shores Of Our Land
The Voyage: Remember Stormwarrior’s “Heading Northe” and Falconer’s “Northwind” from the previous edition? Well this is another recounting of a homecoming to the shores of an unspecified northern country.
The Booty: An excellent all-encompassing sea shanty, complete with dreamy folk bridge, angelic female chants and shouting, possibly wasted, sailors. Not one of Dragonland’s catchier tunes, but its atmosphere is undeniably epic. We can only hope they revisit this type of song on the upcoming “Under They Grey Banner”, because there’s definitely room for it in a fantasy setting.
Sonata Arctica – White Pearl, Black Oceans…
The Voyage: A bit of a cheat this one, as it’s not really about a sea voyage. It tells the story of a young man in charge of a lighthouse. One New Year’s Eve he forsakes his duties to spend a night in the town with a girl he fancies. Upon his return the next morning he hears how the ship “White Pearl” has crashed on the rocks, due to lack of lighthouse guidance, killing everyone on board. Crushed by guilt the young man leaps from the top of the tower, ending his life on the cliffs beneath.
The Booty: Arguably one of the best songs Sonata Arctica has ever written, it changes moods and rhythms to accommodate the different parts of the story, while using the same instantly memorable melodies. Sweeping and tragic, and simply beautiful, a testament to the band’s finest hour “Reckoning Night”.
Saint Deamon – Oceans Of Glory
The Voyage: No complex storytelling here, just a simple tale of piracy and plunder. One would forget that is how these playlists got started. Yarr, fetch me a bottle of rum, wench!
The Booty: Judging by the covers of their two albums “In Shadows Lost From The Brave” and “Pandeamonium”, Saint Deamon like their seas and ships. Yet only two songs actually address the theme, “Deamons” and “Oceans Of Glory”. The latter is a splendid hymn to the high waters, similar in idea to Solar Fragment’s “Come Hell Or High Water”, but not quite as aggressive. Yet its melodies and message are immortal.
3 Inches Of Blood – Fear On The Bridge (Upon The Boiling Sea I)
The Voyage: More piracy right here, and the first of a triptych, together with “Lord Of The Storm” and “The Isle Of Eternal Despair”. Between the three songs, I think you can find most of the plots to the four “Pirates Of The Caribbean”-films, so you know what to expect.
The Booty: Quite a change of pace for this list, but 3 Inches Of Blood’s energetic power metal with screams captures the pirate spirit just as well as any keyboard-driven power metal band might. It challenges Solar Fragment in aggression and has some great catchy riffs and Cam Pipes’ (who has an incredibly fitting name) high-pitched wails on top of them. “In search for rum and gold!”
Solar Fragment – Race The Seas
Originally Crystal Eyes’ “Northern Rage” was scheduled here, but for some incomprehensible reason no songs from “Confession Of The Maker” are on YouTube, even if the legendary Daniel Heiman is on vocals. Seek it out at all costs!
The Voyage: Taken from the TV-series “Lost”, this is the story of Desmond Hume, who tries to prove his manliness to the father of his girlfriend Penny by participating in a sailing race around the world. Of course he ends up on the cursed Island, where he spends his days pushing a button every 108 minutes so the world doesn’t end. …Yes. Desmond and Penny’s arc is actually one of the more beautiful aspects of the show and he is one of my favorite characters from the show, so I salute Solar Fragment for honoring him.
The Booty: Calm as an ocean’s breeze in the beginning, but sweeping as the rising tide as it goes along. My favorite song from Solar Fragment’s sophomore record “In Our Hands” and a wonderful tribute to a marvelous show. But enough with the fanboy-ism.
Wuthering Heights – Weather The Storm
The Voyage: This could be the sequel to While Heaven Wept’s “Vessel”, as I believe it also narrates how two people sail the seas to new shores and how they will face any danger together. Then again these songs might all be a big metaphor for the nature of a loving and supporting friendship or relationship, you know?
The Booty: I would say this song is quite inspirational. How life is not worth living alone, and threats are best vanquished with the help of someone else. In the end, isn’t that what we all are looking for?
Kamelot – A Sailorman’s Hymn
The Voyage: Another slight cheat. This is not about the sailor, but the sailor’s wife praying for his safe return to Irish land.
The Booty: A very moving ballad and one of Kamelot’s finest songs. With minimum instrumentation it reaches maximum result and the lyrics and melodies are mesmerizing. An excellent closer to a second (but maybe not last) trip on the power metal sea.
Hope you enjoyed it and again your suggestions are more than welcome!