The 'Big Four' Of Power Metal ? (Just For Fun)



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Original post

Posted by ZGoten, 10.06.2011 - 21:42
Hi there everyone,

so we all know the 'Big Four' of thrash, don't we? They were huge in the 80's and still enjoy a large following that originated during that time. Just for the fun of it, I thought it might be nice to discuss what we would consider the 'Big Four' of power metal. Obviously, there is no such thing as an official list of names, and we won't create it and spread it to the world, but that's not the point of this discussion anyway. Let's just have a little fun.

Now Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax were pretty much chosen as the 'Big Four' because they were the most succesful bands of their genre, commercially speaking. I however, want to focus more on factors like influence, originality, musicianship and consistency for our little debate. That's partly because power metal has never been popular on the mass market to be honest, but mainly because there'd be no reason to discuss otherwise, since we could just look at the plain facts of who sold the most records.

Still I'd prefer a little bit of an objective debate, if that's possible. Let's not just vote our favorite bands, because else we could simply look at the band rating here on MS. Let's focus more on the above-mentioned criteria. In the poll, I've tried to name the eight bands that are most likely to match those criteria the best, but of course my musical knowledge isn't the greatest, which is why you can still vote for the option 'other'. Also, I've tried to avoid bands that are just as much another genre as they are power, bands like Wintersun with a very strong melodeath aspect to them or Symphony X, which are probably more progressive metal anyway.

Since you can only vote for one band, please choose the one that, in your opinion, would deserve a spot on the 'Big Four' the most!


Alright, now let me start with my opinion:

Blind Guardian:
This should come as no surprise. Blind Guardian have been around since the mid eighties and have been a driving force of the genre in the nineties. They've been quite consistent over all those years and that even while constantly evolving in sound. There are many BG songs, that are well-known even outside of power metal, such as 'The Bard's Song (In The Forest) or Mirror Mirror.

Helloween:
Helloween are arguably the fathers of power metal. They have been hugely influential in the late eighties, even to the early sound of Blind Guardian. Helloween has not always been quite as consistent as BG (Chameleon and PBGA come to mind), and that while being less experimental. Still, as '7 Sinners' demonstrated, Helloween is no band that simply forgets how to make great music, and their impact on the metal scene simply cannot be denied.

Kamelot:
Out of all those bands, Kamelot is probably the one that has evolved the most over time. It is arguable whether or not that has occured for better or for worse, the relative consistency is still there though. Since Roy Khan joined the band in '97, Kamelot had been steadily improving over three albums, until the incredible 'The Black Halo' came along. As of now, I can't really see how Kamelot has been influencial to the genre at all, but it's probably too early to tell anyway. However, despite the little miss step that was 'Poetry For The Poisoned', I consider Kamelot to be the best band in power metal at the moment.

???:
Blind Guardian, Helloween and Kamelot definately take three of the for spots in my opinion. I am unsure though, what the fourth band should be. To further represent the US, I'd probably go with Iced Earth, as they made quite an impact over on the other side of the ocean and have been around for quite a while. I still don't know their music well enough to confidently vote for them though.

Speaking of which, where does my vote go? Well, I'd consider Kamelot the best power metal band of today and Helloween the best and most influencial in the late 80's / early 90's. However, Blind Guardian have been consistantly very strong throughout all that time, when Kamelot still struggled to find their sound and even later, when Helloween lost some of their luster. Throughout 20 years, Blind Guardian have always been among the top of the genre if not the top at times, and that's why my vote goes to Hansi, Andre & Co..

Poll

Which band most definately deserved a spot on the 'Big Four'?

Blind Guardian
142
Helloween
109
Gamma Ray
40
Iced Earth
33
Kamelot
27
Nightwish
16
Rhapsody Of Fire
15
Sonata Arctica
13
Other
12

Total votes: 407
07.05.2020 - 20:37
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 07.05.2020 at 18:06

Written by Bad English on 07.05.2020 at 18:01

Written by JoHn DoE on 07.05.2020 at 13:03

Euro-power:
Helloween
Stratovarius
Blind Guardian
HammerFall

US Power:
Helstar
Savatage
Crimson Glory
Warlord
explain Why Specially us


lighten up buddy, it says "just for fun" in the thread title.

I made two lists, because I see US Power and European power-metal as two different things, they sound different, that's all.

I know but its interesting Why you pic it, I need think about uspm
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19.05.2020 - 17:41
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
Blind Guardian and Helloween are pretty much locked in (add Running Wild or Edguy and Gamma Ray if German only). Then I would put Rhapsody and Hammerfall.

Bands like Angra, Gamma Ray, Edguy, Sabaton, and Kamelot deserve special mentions but aren't as important as Blind Guardian, Helloween, Rhapsody, and Hammerfall.

Covers all the basis for Euro-power metal. I think US power is an entire different beast, but outside of Manowar and maybe Iced Earth its hard to find other deeply influential bands (Kamelot is good, but not that influential)
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19.05.2020 - 19:51
JoHn DoE

Written by 4look4rd on 19.05.2020 at 17:41


Covers all the basis for Euro-power metal. I think US power is an entire different beast, but outside of Manowar and maybe Iced Earth its hard to find other deeply influential bands (Kamelot is good, but not that influential)


well let's see:
Crimson Glory
Helstar
Jag Panzer
Heir Apparent
Fates Warning (with John Arch)
Savatage
even Vicious Rumors (before they went on doing those groove sounding albums)
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20.05.2020 - 19:28
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
Written by JoHn DoE on 19.05.2020 at 19:51

Written by 4look4rd on 19.05.2020 at 17:41


Covers all the basis for Euro-power metal. I think US power is an entire different beast, but outside of Manowar and maybe Iced Earth its hard to find other deeply influential bands (Kamelot is good, but not that influential)


well let's see:
Crimson Glory
Helstar
Jag Panzer
Heir Apparent
Fates Warning (with John Arch)
Savatage
even Vicious Rumors (before they went on doing those groove sounding albums)


I don't think any of those, outside of maybe Fates Warning were particularly influencing. I don't think even Iced Earth out cross this threshold for me. Power Metal just never really was that big in the US.

Doesn't mean the bands aren't good though.
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21.05.2020 - 14:46
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
There are few people who label bands as Running Wild, Axel , Primal Fear as PM . if we need pick uf prom that chategory
Rebellion, Grave Digger, Running Wild and Primal Fear (and Axel is close) are best. Big bans, powerful bands, great albums, many albums , great music, but to me its HM

From real flower metal Blind Guardian, (3th, 4th and 5th albums are brilliant in genre, since 1th n 2end are speed metal) , Helloween, Stratovarius(I dont wanna admit, dont like band so much) and Hammerfall. Other bands are not so close.

US PM
Iced Earth, then I need think, because non are so strong as that one, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road then its hard hmmmmm one between Jag panzer, jacobs dream , Omen and Cage
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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03.07.2020 - 00:10
Ganondox

I'd consider it to be Helloween, Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, and Sonata Artica
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03.07.2020 - 17:37
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by Ganondox on 03.07.2020 at 00:10

I'd consider it to be Sonata Artica


worst pm band, even they said other bands did pm better as they
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.09.2020 - 09:39
bj_waters

I still stick to my main four of Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, and Stratovarius.
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01.10.2020 - 11:05
Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Kreator?
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01.10.2020 - 23:18
tominator
At best deranged
Written by antanasg12345 on 01.10.2020 at 11:05

Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen, Kreator?


So 2 heavy metal bands, a hard rock band and a thrash metal band form "The Big Four Of Power Metal"?
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14.10.2020 - 02:38
REDUX

"influence, originality, musicianship and consistency"
Well... Starting from that, Helloween and Gamma Ray, then Stratovarius, they have much more influence on the genre than Blind Guardian IMO.

I'd like to put Rage or Grave Digger there too, but Running Wild exists. Not a lot of you have said RW. A lot of PM bands have been influenced by RW. Such as Stormwarrior, Powerwolf, Lonewolf, Orden Ogan and most famously Alestorm with the pirate theme. Once you hear RW, you can spot if a band took influence. And that without mentioning Blazon Stone. The power metal approach Rolf took is different from Kai Hansen's approach. Less melodic and more heavier but still power metal. You cannot listen to classics such as Conquistadores, Riding The Storm, Blazon Stone, Black Hand Inn or Whirlwind and say it's not power metal. The same for the epics, like Calico Jack, Battle of Waterloo, Treasure Island and Genesis. A lot of big musicians played in RW, from Jens Becker (now Grave Digger's bassist), Stefan Schwarzmann (ex-Helloween and Accept, he played on Blood Of The Nations, ffs) to Jörg Michael (Drummer for the best Stratovarius era).
And RW have A LOT of power metal classics, from Under Jolly Roger until Masquerade/The Rivalry (this is up for debate, for me it's until Black Hand Inn) every album in that period is AMAZING. Then the downfall happened... But Running Wild really deserves a spot in the "Big 4 of Power Metal"

And honorable mentions to Virgin Steele if there is a "Big 4 of USPM".
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24.12.2020 - 08:35
Max-Ter11

I would reduce it to mainly 3:
-Helloween (Heavy/Power Metal)
-Stratovarius (Melodic Power Metal)
-Rhapsody/of Fire (Symphonic Power Metal)
In that order, then the rest would come, I would also like to give an honorable mention to Yngwie Malmsteen who, despite not strictly doing Power Metal, his neoclassical / neo-baroque contribution was huge to the genre.

Now. It is true that BLIND GUARDIAN can be the parents of many things, together with HELLOWEEN and RUNNING WILD evidently they were the generators of the pre-classic movement of "europower", but in reality, BG and RW were thrown more to the classic Heavy and Speed more than the Metal Melodic we all know (Inaugurated with the Keeper I from Helloween), they both really didn't create anything or revolutionize Power Metal unlike Rhapsody and Stratovarius. Anyone who says otherwise is patently wrong.

Having said that. I see RHAPSODY and STRATOVARIUS as the direct "guilty" of that style that I adore, because their first albums finished germinating what the previous bands planted. Later they would come: GALNERYUS, NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARTICA, KAMELOT, FAIRYLAND, DARK MOOR, ANCIENT BARDS, TWILIGHT FORCE, even bands from different sub-genres like EPICA, WITHIN TEMPTATION to FLESHGOD APOLACYPSE, a big scene of hundreds of very talented Japanese bands, and well... many of them are groups that I am passionate about.

After all, also Luca Turilli (main composer of Rhapsody) is one of the main founders of Symphonic Metal and of course, Symphonic Power Metal par excellence.

For that and more, Helloween remains by default, and Rhapsody and Stratovarius are practically by immovable here.
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08.02.2021 - 08:19
Nucky

Helloween,Stratovarius and Rhapsody..
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29.03.2021 - 15:15
blackwreath13

Helloween
Blind Guardian
Manowar
Stratovarius

All four have been around since the beginning and each are different enough to symbolise different directions the sub genre has gone.
Eg. Helloween - the standard bearers/originators
Blind Guardian - Symphonic Power Metal
Manowar - US Power Metal
Stratovarius - Progressive Power Metal
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