Review Report – The Gloryhammer Albums

Well this is gonna be a little different, today we ain’t talking about a movie, anime or anything like that. Today I’m gonna be talking about music, specifically music from my favorite band, the Anglo-Saxon powermetal band Gloryhammer. Metal has been my bread and butter for years now, some of my favorites being Get Scared, Falling in Reverse, Starset and Sabaton. But my love for powermetal is truly personified with Gloryhammer. So today I’m not only bringing back Review Report, I’m also gonna do something new and review an album. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

(Left to right) Hootsman, Proletius, Angus McFife XIII, Zargothrax, Ralathor

Tales from the Kingdom of Fife

Their debut album, and they flaw the scene with an amazing album that tells a wonderfully fantastical tale of wizards and dragons, all to the tune of some great melodic powermetal. This album sets the trend for Gloryhammer as well, that being each album is a story told over the course of the songs. The story for this album is…

In a medieval and magical version of Scotland, the evil wizard Zargothrax besieged the city of Dundee with an army of corrupted undead Unicorns. As the princess Iona McDougal is taken away, the prince of Fife Angus McFife sets out to take her back. In his quest he retrieves 3 relics of untold power, the Hammer of Glory, the Amulet of Justice and an ancient golden dragon he shall ride upon to Zargothrax. His weapons obtained, backed by the undefeated Knights of Crail and the barbarian warrior of Unst, Angus lays siege on the Citadel of Dundee Zargothrax lies in wait. Angus triumphs and seals Zargothrax in magical ice, ending his evil reign, at least for now…

This album is fun, and sets the scene for the kind of tone that Gloryhammer has kept. I’d say this album is the most consistent with the quality of the songs. The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee is a great song to start this journey on, a great beat and some amazing backing vocals to accompany the main vocals sung by Angus McFife (Real name Thomas Winkler). Angus Mcfife is iconic for this band, a bumping melody and a fabulous instrumental. But the songs that really stand out are Quest for the Hammer of Glory and the finale of the album The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder. Quest for the Hammer of Glory is my favourite Gloryhammer song, it’s near perfect with its beat, speed, verses and lyrics, all coming together into a perfect package. The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder, aside from having the sickest name ever, is a wonderful 10 minute extravaganza of a song bringing this story to a close with many variations and styles for the songs segments. Each Gloryhammer album has a long 10 minute finale song and this one is great.

Grade: 4/5

As their debut album, this album kicks all the ass. An amazing medieval vibe that melds beautifully with the heavy powermetal tones of this band. It stands as probably my favourite album based purely on the iconic songs it has. The tone and story of this album is different to the next two since Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards takes us to the galaxy and the stars above. If you’re a fan of melodic powermetal and like your music with a side of cheesy goodness and some medieval insanity, definitely give Tales from the Kingdom of Fife a listen.

Thor must be feelin’ kinda scared right now. If not…he should be.

Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

This is where the tone and story of this universe changes, taking a step into the realms of galactic voyaging and space battle. The feel of this album and its successor are distinct compared to Tales from the Kingdom of Fife but the same wacky tone is still felt. The story this time?

In the distant Future of 1992, the evil wizard Zargothrax is freed from his icy prison, intent on conquering the galaxy. Angus McFife XIII, a descendant of the original Angus McFife sets out with the legendary Astral Hammer to defeat him. During his quest he brings with him many allies, including the barbarian cyborg king of California Hollywood Hootsman, the ancient hermit Ralathor and the Space Knights of Crail and their leader Ser Proletius. Zargothrax in the meantime is pursuing a far more sinsiter goal, taking the crystal key of the Darkstorm Galaxy Goblin king to awaken the evil elder God Kor Vilriath. The ultimate battle ends with Angus pursuing Zargothrax through a wormhole for the eternal glory of Dundee…

This album has grown on me over time. I used to find it the one with the most misses in terms of the songs, but now I’ve grown to adore most of the tracks in this epic space adventure. Hollywood Hootsman has a fabulous beat and keeps up a rapid pace with the vocals and riffs, Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy is also rapid fire but with heavy darker beats that really bring out the sinister nature of the song. The crowning songs however are Universe on Fire and Apocalypse 1992. Universe on Fire is a wonderfully extravagant villains song, sang from the perspective of Zargothrax and it has a slightly subdued synth style to it but with a fabulous chorus and truly fulfilling chorus reprise at the end. Apocalypse 1992 is the 10+ minute finale of the album and stands as my favorite over the 3 albums. It blends different tones, beats and style together bringing the story together in an explosive number with twists and turns in both the story, the vocals and music itself. It gets your adrenaline rushing with a haunting opening narration, telling you of the countdown to universal annihilation.

Grade: 4/5

I feel this album was Gloryhammer trying to find their feet with a new format and style, since they ventured to the stars and left the land of Fife behind. This album doesn’t really miss the target, but I just feel it’s the one with the most near misses. Despite that, when this album hits the target, it demolishes it with some of the best songs the band has produced yet. Definitely give this one a listen if you like the really rapid and intense stuff but with a hint of control and restraint.

I dare you to find an album cover more badass and cool than this.

Legends Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex

A direct follow up to Space 1992, Terrorvortex works as both an end to the Gloryhammer story as well as a chapter open to continuation. This time the plot goes all out with the space fairing insanity set out in Space 1992, but where does the story go now?

Following Zargothrax through the warmhole, Angus McFife XIII finds himself in an alternate reality where Zarogthrax reigns supreme. His hammer’s power useless, his allies gone, Angus retreats as Zargothrax and the corrupted Dreadlord proletius with his Death Knights of Crail continue to strike terror across the galaxy. Angus learns of a way to charge his Astral Hammer, obtaining a legendary jetpack he flies into a black hole and his hammer is revitalized with cosmic power. Leading a fleet of space submarines alongside immortal hermit turned space captain Ralathor, they engage in a climactic battle. The battle ends as Angus and the reincarnated dimensional god Hootsman vanquishing Zargothrax for good, but a terrible cost comes with their victory. As their bittersweet victory rings through the galaxy, a mysterious message sounds in the aether, hinting at the return of a dreadful evil…

This album is good, like really good, but I feel personally it has the most songs that I don’t actively seek out. But let’s talk about what i love from this album. The Siege of Dunkheld is a wonderful; enerance song, picking up right after Apocolypse 1992 with a dreadfully dark setting and melody. Masters of the Galaxy is a great villains song displaying dominant beats and a slight synth style to it. The song titled Gloryhammer is also amazing, it has that old fantasy vibe mixed with the sci-fi and feels like an optimistic and hopeful chant and call to arms for the forces of Hoots. Speaking of Hoots, Hootsforce is a great battle song with the ame up-beat fantastical tone of Gloryhammer and has probably my favourite chorus and favourite reprise. The finale song, Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny, has a wonderful collision of moments and song styles culminating in this wonderful climactic fusion of a song, brining the story together in a nice package too. Now the other songs on this album for me are otherwise somewhat skippable, they do have great moments, but not enough to grab me to them like the other songs I mentioned.

Grade: 3/5

As both a follow up to Space 1992 and as its own album, Terrorvortex is a great album. I feel it has a more concrete style than its predecessor and serves as a good blend of the first two albums. It keeps the more melodic and heavy elements and themes from Tales from the Kingdom of Fife but the vocals and general composition is more akin to Space 1992. If you liked Space 1992, you’ll like this too.

Orcs, Pyramids, Castles and Warlock statues…yep, this is cool!

Ending Thoughts

My time with Gloryhammer has been short, but they’ve woven themselves into my heart in a way that is eternal. Not since the likes of Get Scared and Lordi has a band resonated with me so much and made me feel so good to listen to. I hope we get future albums from these guys, the story is basically limitless so long as they can write it. If you want to listen to these albums yourself, I’ve linked playlists for all 3 to the title segments also check out Gloryhammer on Twitter @gloryhammer. Not much more to say other than “In Hoots we trust!!!”

One final badass image to end on folks.

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense.

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