Gloryhammer - Tales from the Kingdom of Fife (Napalm Records)

Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is soaked with the PG blood of battle, singed by fireballs and enchanted by a +1 to inspire an air-guitar solo.
Release Date: 
29 Mar 2013 (All day)

Gloryhammer. It may be their first release, but you already know what you’re going to get. Dungeons and Dragons style epic fantasy stories set to passionate power metal. They sing about slaying dragons, casting fireballs, fighting goblins and orcs, finding magical weapons, princesses frozen in ice… and it’s good. Heroic fantasy battle metal has found a home in the costumed heroes of Gloryhammer.

Of course, Gloryhammer is the side-project of Christopher Bowes (Alestorm), so the level of confident absurdity was always going to be present. Fearless of borrowing inspiration from their peers, Gloryhammer have created an album which is so diverse in its adaptation of heroic fantasy metal that it has honed a memorable humorous edge to its battle axe. I'm going to reference more than a few other bands here, but none of these connotations are negative. Tales from the Kingdom of Fife provides heavy melodic moments begging for a windmill or two, against symphonic interludes, a potion of triumphant hooks and a quiver full of targeted keyboard licks.

Clicking play on my stereo, the intro track Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy marched forward in such a battle-proud manner than I immediately checked I wasn’t mistakenly playing something from Ensiferum. The first song, The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee, threw out hints of Sabaton overlaid with firebolts and thunder raining from the sky. Those eagerly awaiting the release of this album have already heard the catchy power metal story of Angus McFife, but it is only a snippet of what this album holds for fans of the genre.

Quest for the Hammer of Glory evoked the heroic atmosphere of Manowar’s Hail and Kill, but to tell a tale of a long journey to the cold north to find a magic weapon. As the album marched on, Gloryhammer threw out a varied mix of upbeat adventuring tunes, drawing on symphonic metal, power metal, classic heavy metal and folk metal. With its catchy harpsichord riff, Magic Dragon has been the song I’ve been humming around the office all week.

And what heavy metal album is complete without a power ballad? Silent Tears of the Frozen Princess has the slow build and pacing you yearn for, with the strength of a Nightwish epic. Amulet of Justice brings the tempo back up, and moves the kissing stuff involving princesses back out of the equation.

Hearing Hail to Crail, some might think Turisas have momentarily come on shuffle, but this epic song is from a bunch of wizards and knights. This triumphant Battle Metal tune is catchy, memorable and holds some brilliant moments of falsetto. Instrumental Beneath Cowdenbeath harks to Children of Bodom with its balance of speedy classically inspired guitar licks against skilful keyboards. Rolling a twenty on the proverbial adventure dice, The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder provides the final epic battle to this saga.

Tales from the Kingdom of Fife provides good classic heavy metal guitar licks, power metal riffs and Iron Maiden inspired vocals. Gloryhammer just happen to set this all to lyrics about fantastical adventures, and prance about in armour and wizard costumes. Sometimes something a bit ridiculous is fun, so stop taking yourself so seriously and get some quality public rocking out done to the adventures of Angus McFife.