Christopher Bowes, is the lead singer of Scottish Pirate Metal band Alestorm – the band that brought tales of pirates to metal. So what does this guy do when he is not plundering the high seas while brandishing the jolly roger? If his new side project Gloryhammer is anything to go by, he probably straps on his knight armor and charges forward into battles of fantasy medieval kingdoms.
Gloryhammer is a Power Metal band from Scotland and as mentioned, it is the side project of Christopher Bowes. Their debut album, titled ‘Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife’ was released on 22nd March 2013, under the label Napalm Records.
This album is a genre defining, gloriously epic piece of Power Metal. Their theme is that of a fantasy medieval kingdom, filled with unicorns, dragons, sorcerers, wizards and knights. This album feels and sounds like the soundtrack to an epic medieval fantasy saga.
The songs contain each and every element that would make up the perfect legend of the adventures of a prince. From prophecies to battles, dragons to unicorns, despair to revenge, every element is explored within the span of 10 tracks. This is a concept album that deals with the story of a prince named Angus McFife and his quest to recapture his beloved city of Dundee.
The track ‘The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee’ sets the perfect battle mood, as the evil forces invade and conquer the city. The listeners are treated to oncoming waves of glory and epic grandeur. ‘Angus McFife’ sounds like minstrels singing a metal ballad about the brave and noble prince, who seeks vengeance. The album then manages to take the listener on an epic quest to recapture Dundee.
What tale would be complete without a damsel in distress? ‘Silent Tears Of The Frozen Princess’, talks of the princess waiting to be rescued by her knight in shining armor. This track adds the essential variety to album. Other than the above mentioned tracks, ‘Magic Dragon’, ‘Hail To Crail’ and ‘Amulet Of Justice’ ensure that this tale is a complete package. The emotions of the protagonist are musically well expressed and one can feel his anger, vengeance and ambition through the songs.
Musically, everything that makes a solid Power Metal album is found here. From soaring vocals to melodic guitars, battle drums to keyboards setting the perfect atmosphere, no detail is spared and the execution is impeccable. When the singer hits the high notes, his voice soars operatically and when he dwells into the lower notes, he sounds very manly and broad. The guitar riffs are filled with power chords and they create some intense Anglo-Saxon melodies. The keyboard work, adds the much needed magic to the overall sound.
The story finally culminates in the 10 minute long ‘The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder’, creating the perfect ending to this flawless album. After sitting through this album, one gets the feel of accomplishing an epic fantasy quest. The production and mixing quality fit in perfectly with the theme handled. This album contains every aspect that can be expected from the perfect Power Metal album. If you are a fan of this genre, this is one album that you must experience.