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Gloryhammer - "Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards" (CD)

Gloryhammer - "Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards" CD cover image

"Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards" track listing:

1. Infernus Ad Astra
2. Rise of the Chaos Wizards
3. Legend of the Astral Hammer
4. Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy
5. The Hollywood Hootsman
6. Victorious Eagle Warfare
7. Questlords of Inverness, Ride to the Galactic Fortress!
8. Universe on Fire
9. Heroes (of Dundee)
10. Apocalypse 1992

Reviewed by on January 11, 2016

"It's insane and somewhere between completely serious and too ridiculous to be allowed to exist, but that's Gloryhammer for you."

Named one of our best metal newcomers of 2013 with the fantasy-driven “Tales From The Kingdom of Fife,” this epic power metal parody/tribute outfit has traded in the unicorns for astral hammers and a galaxy aflame. It was probably a good idea, because Gloryhammer's shtick may not have kept working, but tweaking it a bit to an apocalyptic future in the early '90s works quite nicely, offering the band a chance to keep pumping out absurd power metal without the formula getting stale.

Singing about chaos wizards and spacefaring goblins, there's definitely a Warhammer 40,000 flair to “Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizard,” but it's not a straight up aping and Gloryhammer plots a very (of course) over-the-top course for this sort of material, going in a dozen hilarious directions. Angus McFife for instance is still around (how'd he get from Dundee to space?), and for some reason the spacefaring peoples are all Scottish. I'm also not sure what “The Hollywood Hootsman” has anything to do with laser space battles, but for some reason we leave the greater cosmos to explore the “king of California” for one track.

If you heard the last album you know the basics of what to expect, but there's changes to be heard on this follow-up record. The title track adds in a Powerwolf feel with those backing choirs chanting “Sanctus Dominus,” while “Questlords of Inverness Ride” has a fantastic galloping beat coupled with keyboards on “Questlords of Inverness Ride.” The nearly 10 minute story advancing track “Apocalypse 1992” also goes a little darker and more atmospheric than the rest of the disc.

“Victorious Eagle Warfare” is probably the low point of the album, feeling oddly restrained for such an over the top release, and its sort of repetitive and played out. The cheesy voiceover and subsequent guitar solo saves it at the end though – and there's not many instances where that particular phrase can ever be honestly said. Eighth track “Universe On Fire” is one part 80's melodic ballad, one part Dance Dance Revolution beat, and one part sci-fi power metal. It's insane and somewhere between completely serious and too ridiculous to be allowed to exist, but that's Gloryhammer for you.

Like a less horny Steel Panther for power metal, Gloryhammer is either paying massive tribute to its base style or mercilessly mocking it – or maybe both at once. Either way it works, and the music is awesome, so you should really jump into a time machine and take part in the galactic battles of 1992 with the band's second album, which most certainly does not succumb to the sophomore slump.

Highs: There's space goblins, guitar solos, and power metal keyboards galore!

Lows: "Victorious Eagle Warfare" doesn't match the pace of the rest of the disc, and ending atmospheric track doesn't really need to be there.

Bottom line: Travel far forward into the distance future of 1992, where Gloryhammer sets the galaxy aflame with more absurd(ly awesome) power metal!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)