Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of the Cavalcade of Top 10 Lists. This week, we are tackling another solo genre where I cover my Top 10 Fast Power Metal Songs. Let’s get this out of the way, this is not a list of the fastest power metal songs or a list of fast or Power Metal songs, but ten songs that are fast and are Power Metal, ya dig? Some songs are extremely fast, some are very melodic, some rightfully earn the term epic; and much more. For those that want a little trivia; this is actually the very first list I put together for the Cavalcade of Top Ten Lists and the very reason this series exists. If it wasn’t for this, I’m not sure if I’d be doing this at all. So let’s hope this one is a doozy that you’ll love. I know Power Metal is a tricky genre as some people consider it too cheesy to enjoy or it’s not heavy enough or it’s all about dragons and fire and flames. While criticisms can, will, and are made; It’s a genre I love and the fast songs helped me to appreciate the genre since I first discovered it many moons ago. The fast double bass, the rip-roaring guitars, the soaring vocals, the keyboard flourishes, and whatever other specialties each band ass to it makes it fun, and as a drummer (or at least I used to play, maybe one day again…) the constant 16th and 32nd note double bass patterns really help you to gain consistency if you practice along to the songs. Before this turns into a lamentation of me wishing I could drum again, let’s get into the rules for these lists, and through the fire and the flames we’ll carry on.
1.) These lists are in no particular order unless otherwise noted (alphabetical order, year of release, etc). Ranking these is not needed as I wouldn’t be covering these bands, songs, albums, etc if I did not love them.
2.) The lists will be formatted with the subject, FFO (For Fans Of), and a blurb (roughly a paragraph) about said subject. The FFO section is subject to change if the list is entirely about one particular subject (the genre for example)
3.) This will be a weekly series. Every Wednesday unless otherwise stated. Delays and postponements are entirely possible, but I will be keeping this up until my mind tells me to stop.
4.) No negative lists. I know that’s cool, and the clickbaity thing to do is to make lists that people can tear apart, argue over, let me know how wrong I am for including or excluding a band, etc. That’s just not me. I may occasionally make a funny title for humor’s sake, but never to just get clicks with no substance. My integrity still means something to me even if that makes me less popular.
5.) A Spotify Playlist will always accompany each list. 1 song to accommodate every point listed so 10 songs in total, unless otherwise stated in the list(s).
6.) I will still be doing my monthly album reviews and my year-end lists per usual. This is just a bonus.
7.) All thoughts are entirely my own. No paid sponsorships, no begging or pleading from any label or band. Just me and my thoughts.
*The songs are in no particular order other than what sounded good in order of a Spotify playlist. Not in order of slowest to fastest or anything, just a fun collection. And no FFO section as all of these are Power Metal songs.
So, Let’s Begin!
Ghostlights by Avantasia is not only one of my favorite power metal songs and favorite songs in general, but the album Ghostlights is one of my favorite albums of all time. It is a dark album with some of the best vocal performances you’ll hear from anyone from Dee Snider to Geoff Tate to Sharon den Adel. The title track of this album is a fun, speedy song that features a majority of vocals performed by Avantasia mastermind Tobias Sammet and Helloween front-man Michael Kiske. Both singers fit together so perfectly with their harmonies and melodies, there is an additional 2 lines sung by one of the most underappreciated vocalists of all time, Jorn Lande (who shines later on the album with the song, Lucifer). The song keeps up a fun double bass speed throughout almost the entire song sans a few stops and the guitars and bass chug along nicely to fit the mood. The keyboards and orchestration really help this song shine through the darkness. While it is hard for me to say this is the best song on the album as the album is so perfect from start to finish, if you want a fast Power Metal song that helps capture the spirit of the genre, this is a great starting choice.
I have said it so many times in different times and areas and even up to here in 2022, I’ve yet to be proven wrong; Forever is the PERFECT Power Metal song. This is the textbook definition of not only fast Power Metal songs but Power Metal as a genre. A love song that goes beyond the grave, with constant and consistent double bass, majestic guitars and bass, keyboards that hit all the signatures of the genre, and Roy Khan's perfect vocal delivery. Seriously, if you’ve never checked out a power metal song before or if you really want to give the genre a fair shake as to what it’s all about, this song captures everything in a sweet, 4-minute package. I can’t sell it any better than that. It’s simply perfect.
Stratovarius- Black Diamond
Back in 1997, this Finnish Power Metal band released what might be their finest moment. That is a really hard thing to say as the band has so many masterpieces under their belt. But when Jens Johansson joined in 1995, the band became it’s strongest and it’s been phenomenal ever since. On his 3rd album with the band, you hear him shine like never before and Black Diamond truly showcases what he can do on the keys. That’s not at all to say the rest of the band does pull off incredible work as well as the double bass is so inspired, the vocals simply soar (especially at the end of the song) and the guitar and bass work bring everything together in perfect heavy harmony. But again Johansson is the star of this song and his Harpsichord patch on this keys that fits so elegantly with the song on display. It’s a fantastic display of how Power Metal and Classical mix together finer than any wine available.
Sonata Arctica- Wolf & Raven
Everything good about Sonata has been said, then again, everything bad about the band has also been saying. They are one of the most polarizing bands in the genre, but for this list, we really don’t need to get into why. Let’s focus on the fast Power Metal masterpiece that is Wolf & Raven, the song that got me into Power Metal Tony Kakko and Co. has been known for delivering fantastic Power Metal albums since their inception, but their sophomore album, 2001’s Silence may be their best work (Though that argument can be said for any of their first 4-5 albums). Like Forever by Kamelot that I mentioned earlier, Wolf & Raven is another example of a perfect Power Metal song. It’s absurdly fast, and the keys are the perfect blend of elegant and whimsical. Tony Kakko’s vocals are absolute fire and the guitars and bass lay the perfect foundation for Kakko’s vocals. While I will always wish they had more songs like this in their more current catalog, I can’t ignore that they still have something like this up to their sleeves if they choose. Wolf & Raven is regarded as one of the best Power Metal songs ever written and it’s hard to disagree, I mean, just listen to it; you’ll get it.
Masterplan- Black in the Burn
Masterplan is not the first choice many go-to when it comes to not only fast Power Metal but Power Metal in general. That is a crying shame4 as they are one of the finest examples of making the genre that overused term for all the wrong reasons, but so apt in Power Metal in this description...epic. They don’t just write songs, they write stories, they write soundtracks to those stories and not only give you the perfect audio dream, but when you close your eyes and listen, they give you that perfect visual display, helping you imagine the stories imagining right in front of you. Black in the Burn is such a perfect description of what epic Power Metal is all about. Jorn Lande easily is the shining showcase of this song and it’s his vocal delivery, ESPECIALLY at the ending climax of the song that makes your jaw drop from its excellency. Of course, the music has to match that as well and the rest of the Masterplan lineup at that time more than sealed the deal with this song. It may even be the most obscure song on this list, but maybe with me putting this list out, it won’t have to be hidden in the shadows anymore. Bring Masterplan to the forefront and enjoy what they’ve done with every lineup and every album they have in their career.
Blind Guardian- Born in a Mourning Hall
Fast Power Metal is Blind Guardian’s forte and it’s nearly impossible to pick just one song to justify their speed, efficiency, and brilliance in Power Metal, but I did my best here by not picking an obvious choice, but a song that I love so much and sounds even better live. Off my favorite Blind Guardian album, 1995’s Imaginations from the Other Side, this isn’t even the best-known fast track on the album, but it hits home with me. It just captures the light-speed attack of the band, showing off magnificent guitar riffs and solos, jaw-dropping drumming, and of course….HANSI KURSCH! Hansi is one of the best metal vocalists we will ever see in our lifetime and the fact that his voice sounds just as perfect now as it did back in 1995 for their 5th album is nothing short but miraculous as so many peers have sadly dropped in quality from age alone. Blind Guardian should be one of the first bands you check out in Power Metal, they are such a great example of what the genre is all about. And if you dig Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit; Hansi and Co. have you covered on so many of their songs and albums covering the novels. Press play and enjoy!
Angra- Nothing To Say
Angra has gone through a lot of turbulent times and tear-jerking lineup changes. Thankfully, with every change, they can make the perfect for that time. With 1996’s sophomore album, Holy Land. A true gem of Progressive Power Metal, the band had what many consider to be their best lineup and wrote the perfect concept album and the perfect soundtrack around it. Nothing To Say is regarded as one of the band’s best songs and easy to see why. While the song is not as fast as other songs they have in their catalog, it fits the criteria I set forth here and really is a song to behold. Holy Land set Angra on the map and it’s why they are regarded as one of Brazil’s most famous bands. They are proggy, they hit the perfect amount of Power Metal, it’s off the beaten track if you just know traditional Power Metal and that’s what makes them stick out. Seriously, Angra has and always will rule. Go listen to Nothing To Say for an excellent reason why.
Dragonforce- Storming the Burning Fields
HA….HAHAHA! I GOT YOU! You thought with all the puns at the beginning that I was going to put Through The Fire and Flames here right? Well, honestly, that is a killer song, but it’s a couple songs after the 2004 album Inhuman Rampage opener (let’s face it, thanks to Guitar Hero, that is the best known Power Metal song, no question), where Storming the Burning Fields comes in and takes everything you knew about the band and up's the speed, intensity, adds more blast beats, occasional backing screams that makes for what might be the most intense song on the entire album. Sure, there are a couple other contenders for that prize, but I’m giving it to this one. Like I said it’s everything you know Dragonforce for, but even more so, if that was even possible. It’s a mind-melting song and while it can get lost in the chaos, if you remember it, you remember why it is such a great song.
NorthTale- Only Human
Wow, this list has a lot of songs off of sophomore albums doesn’t it? NorthTale’s sophomore album, Eternal Flame is such a killer Power Metal song. Not only is it a fun, majestic, fast song. It has one of the catchiest choruses on this list and it will get stuck in your head for days. The band did go through a lineup change and it was easily for the best as the band is stronger, writing better songs, and everything is running on every cylinder. Even with this album coming out just last year, it shows that the Power Metal flag will never fall and its best days are still here and yet to come. What a great band and a great song.
Power Paladin- Righteous Fury
Off the Icelandic Power Metal band’s debut album from this year, With the Magic of Windfyre Steel. This album is a crash course of what Power Metal is all out and Righteous Fury puts a smile on my face every single time I hear it and not just because it features the Legend of Zelda theme in the song. Yes, this band not only does Power Metal with perfect justice, but they also hit so many territories of...let’s face it….nerd culture (as a nerd) from Comic Book Villains to Video Games to 80s Fantasy Movies. If you are a nerd like me, they have already written a song for you. Righteous Fury is the fastest song and it has what might be the best chorus I’ve ever heard in a Power Metal song, it feels like the gates of Valhalla open every time it kicks in. This is not only the front runner of my favorite Power Metal albums of 2022, it may be one of my favorite overall albums of the year. This song is why I made the list in the first place and why the Cavalcade of Top Ten Lists exists. Thank you Power Paladin. Take some HP and MP potions and let’s see what that next album will grace our ears with. I hope it will be even more Righteous Fury.
And there you go folks. It might be my shortest written list to date, but it’s a great, cohesive list of ten fast Power Metal songs that will surely help you appreciate the genre...unless you already have a bias towards it, then I got nothing; but kudos for reading this anyways. Make sure to check out the Spotify playlist I have for this list and return next Wednesday for another exciting tale from the Cavalcade of Top Ten Lists.
Same Heavy Time, Same Debriefings Website!
Josh Rundquist- (Heavy Debriefings)