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“One part dragon blood, one part Tolkien, two parts loincloth. Stir until crazy and serve in a human skull.”
“Journey into far awaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
Gather round, ye travellers all, and hearest thou the most mighty tale of our age, the saga of Power Metal, where the skies burn red and the epic power of the guitar solo reigns supreme! Troth, the mighty warriors of power metal hath fought bravely for many a year to bring this most triumphant form of music to your ears, now let us feast and celebrate in their honour! Power metal is a ferocious sub-genre of heavy metal, the most epic of all the sub-genres, and the one which will lead our warriors to victory in the final battle of Dagash Khatharaka, with galloping rhythms driving our chariots of doom forth into the fight. Worthy topics for power metal art dragons, war, elves, elves at war, elves riding dragons, dwarves drinking ale, vikings, viking/dragon cross-breeds, war and elf titties.
The mighty men who play this most glorious music art known to be the most masculine and powerful amongst all the metal fraternity, whilst the women art all voluptuous beauties with raven hair and shining eyes. Music scholar Peirre Shortstop describes the genre as "metal music for people who hate real life." Power metal musician Khalaar Icebrand, meanwhile, claimeth the style is "a glorious return to the days of yore, where men spaketh in true tongues, and didst ride across the land, pwning dragons and bedding fine lusty wenches!" Professional wench Gigi Pacey hath remarked "power metal guys have full beards on their penises. It's a bit strange."
Beginnings of the Genre
Power metal was originally invented by Tony Iommi, who had been experimenting with a new form of cocaine at the time. According to sound engineer Lucar Mushmuff, Tony "was buzzed, buzzed as fuck, like you wouldn't believe. He stole Ozzy's favourite jerkin and climbed up on the roof, shouting something about 'kicking the shit out of Smaug,' and started playing about eighty times faster than normal. We knew we had something special going on." When he came down from his high, however, Iommi distanced himself from his new style, commenting "I can't fucking stand Lord of the Rings."
The style was later revisited by Fyr Pasty, Iommi's personal beer can opener and thrice-convicted Viking-botherer. He would initially attempte to recreate the style by tying barbed wire to an axe and bashing it with a tankard, but the noise was describeth as "ungodly" (the attempt was, however, seen by Kerry King, who would use the same approach when recording for his band Slayer) and Pasty decided that using an actual guitar would be a better option. He recruited his friends Sauron Black-hearted, Lightbrand the Almighty and "some hyperactive kid for the drums", who would become the core members of his band The Boys from Westeros. Their debut album Walking in Mordor became a minor hit. The lead single Fireball! Fireball! Fireball! was played extensively on radio show Orc FM, and power metal began to spread.
Whilst The Boys from Westeros continued to perform, they quickly found themselves left out of the growing scene as they were, in the words of critic Pang Waffles, "the shittest thing to come out of Britain since syphillis." Other acts were quick to pick up on the style, however, and soon there were nearly seven power metal bands worldwide. The most popular of these, The War Bastards, were the highest-selling band to come out of Blandford Forum in the 21st week of 1991. Power metal's dominion was beginning. During this period sales of bodkins, leather codpieces, shields and weapon oil nearly tripled.
Seeing the growing popularity of the genre, Gandalf the Grey decided to organise the Dwarfstock Festival, a three-day event of swords, sorcery and ale. The War Bastards were hired to play, along with other up-and-coming bands such as Guardian Super Smashy, the Wizards of Oz, Fuckhammer!!! and Derren Brown. The fesitval took place in Rohan, a province of Germany, and attracted huge crowds of Dungeon Masters, Terry Brooks fanboys, girls called Melessandria and LARP obsessives. Initally the festival went well, with a storming performance of Sling When You're Winning's hit Play by tha Rules! (D & D 3rd Edition, Ya'll), but things quickly turned ugly when an orc-slaughtering competition got out of hand, resulting in the deaths of several thousand of the festival's smaller, ugly attendees. Gandalf later described the event as "fucking epic."
Over the following years, power metal increased and diversified into many distinct sub-genres, such as Viking Metal, Celtic Metal, Ranger Metal, Cleric Metal, Breton Metal, Powerless Metal (played by former slaves), Pict Metal and Level 12 Half-Elf Rogue Metal. The main genre has also continued on, despite having almost no success and even less critical acclaim.
Power metal is a genre of music rooted firmly in the shrieking and widdling school, with strong influence from the explosive and pompous composers who wrote such masterpieces as 99 Problems (But a Slattern be Not One) and Ride, Sons of Mothers! The music is exclusively loud, fast, galloping and ga'thikkha. Many power metal bands include classical elements to their songs, although these typically exclude influence from the "utilises modulation, harmony and complex structure" style, concentrating instead on the "has some violins stuck in there somewhere" style. The only known exception to this is Nightwish, who are lead by John Williams.
Power metal songs are, virtually without exception, sung about how great war and fighting are. It has been unheard of for songs in this genre to ever refer to the horror of battle, the waste of human life, the screams, the blood or the shady political backstories. Instead war is generally treated as a more spirited take on Club 18-30. Also extremely common are completely original fantasy stories not ripped off from anyone. A typical power metal story (or "lay," something power metal musicians write a lot but rarely do) may run as follows:
“Kadarak the Mighty, scourge of the Nine Kingdoms, didst ride forth in a blaze of fire towards the Mount of the Snapped Shins, persued by fierce Orks and Asheepi wytches. There layeth his love, the beauteous princess Audraliana Rose, suspended in time by the Bastard Demon King, Karrrrrrrrrrg. Pounding heels to his horse, Kadarak...”
And so on. The stories all tend to finish in the same way, with the mighty demon/Viking hordes/hippies mercilessly slaughtered and everyone going home for a round of ale and some fucks, accompanied by guitar solos that have been known to outlast the life of the guitarist themselves. Then they go and do it all again, in reference to the gloriously unreadable fantasy classic The Worm Ouroboros, a novel which reached new heights of bumpf and gibberish for the genre.
Luca Turilli did once try and write a song about love, but his fingers caught fire and he was kicked into a vegatative state by Christopher Bowes of Alestorm. Luca has continued to tour with Rhapsody of Fire and is now operated as a puppet by Jon Schaffer.
Like most heavy metal sub-genres, power metal comes with its own related dress code, behaviour style and dedicated fan base. Fans of the genre regularly meet at festivals, referred to as Camp Moots, where they discuss the oiling of weapons, the bondage of fellowship and penetrating into the heart of the enemy hordes. The Camp Moot has swelled notably in size as more men continue to attend it. Female attendees are rare and routinely ignored as they often lack the required muscle to dress in the common costume of leather and bear fur.
Male power metal fans are known as a tight group of lads, but have been loosening up lately. Fraternisation with fans of party metal and hard rock have shown them the joys of expanding their bases and experiencing new things, both exciting and painful. Common activities among power metal fans include swinging their axes around, comparing sword length, camping under the stars and various adventures involving beasts with two backs. Entry into the power metal scene is difficult to obtain, with new recruits having to go through a secretive joining ritual, followed by a forced washing of their elder brethren's feet. Once accepted, the brethren have access to all the resources available to the power metal fanbase. As of 2011 this consists of two cans of Red Bull, some rope, a Blind Guardian CD and a battered copy of Belgarath the Sorcerer.
To date no ex-power metal fans have written of their experiences. The only known description of the process survives carved into a church wall, it reads simply: One Ring to Please Them All. Ouwch...
Relationship With Other Metal Sub-genres
The genre is known for its nationalistic views on other heavy metal territories. The motto of power metal, "death to false metal," has led to the slaughter of countless Limp Bizkit fans and the complete destruction of the UK's Download festival, and power metal fans are currently in the middle of a heated war with the black metal guerilla army over ownership of the world's forests. The KVLT forces, led by field-marshall Varg, are leading an assault as they want the forests for running around in dresses and screeching at super 8 cameras. The fantasy batallion are attempting to reclaim them for LARP purposes and to avoid dragon attacks. The battle is currently evenly matched.
Relationship With Other Forms of Music
Or so they'd have you believe.
- Real name John Wills.
- Later discovered to be Animal from the Muppets.
- Syphillis was actually invented in France.
- Orcish word for "containing synthesisers."
- Power metal guitar solos are usually performed by a team of experts working in shifts.
- Jon has a special harness so he can hang over the stage and work the strings.
- This statement also doubles as a war cry, a tombstone inscription and the penultimate line of a wedding ceremony.
- The unofficial motto, "metal or death," has led to countless suicides.