I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Grimgotts - "Tales, Sagas & Legends"
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Tracks: 15 / Run Time: 63:03
Release: independent, 2021
Since their formation in 2015, the UK's Grimgotts has progressed rapidly, shedding their goofball origins as a humorous Harry Potter-themed parody act and re-inventing themselves as a legit symphonic/melodic power metal band in the vein of Rhapsody or Blind Guardian. Grimgotts has been extremely prolific since they left the Potter-verse behind, creating their own elaborate fantasy worlds full of dragons and pirates and producing a multitude of singles, EPs, and albums like 2017's Lions of the Sea and 2019's Dragons of the Ages.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world in 2020, Grimgotts used their forced downtime wisely and took the opportunity to work on new material. Over the course of the past year, Grimgotts recorded and released three (!) bite-sized digital EPs, each consisting of four tracks: Tales (released in May of '20), Sagas (August), and Legends (December), as well as an additional digital single (Grimgotts Calling, January of '21).
Now Grimgotts has combined those thirteen songs and added two "bonus" tracks (one new song, "The Lost Chapters" and a "re-imagined" version of "Fight Against the World," from their 2016 debut Here Be Dragonlords) to create their newest full-length release, which will be titled (what else?) Tales, Sagas & Legends.
Tales, Sagas & Legends is scheduled to be released digitally by the band in early May, with a physical CD version to come later in the year, presumably via their longtime label home of Stormspell Records. All of the tracks have been remastered for this album release for your optimal power-metal listening pleasure.
So let's hit "play" and return to Grimgotts' fictional land of Andria, where (according to the press release that accompanied these tunes), we'll be taken on "adventures across the high seas," where we'll witness "battles with marauding Northmen, pillaging pirates, and evil goblins." Whew! I don't know about you, kids, but that all sounds pretty damn metal to me. Off we go!
"For The Power"
"Fight Til The End" kicks off the Tales portion of this album in fine, rollicking style, with lots of sweeping, cinematic keyboard work by Fabio Garau and a shredding guitar solo from David Hills. Vocalist Andy Barton leads the charge throughout, delivering the lyrics in a clear, confident style reminiscent of Helloween's Michael Kiske or Stratovarius' Timo Kotipelto. "For The Power" has a Manowar-esque chug, with some seriously heavy riff work.
A bit of Queen influence seems to creep into Barton's theatrical vocal style on the soaring shred-fest "The Dawnbringer," and the brassy speed metal cut "Reign of Might" leads us into the "Sagas" section of the album, where the blazing "Northern Passage" demonstrates Grimgotts at their heaviest thus far. The tongue-in-cheek, jaunty ode to high-seas piracy, "Plunder, Loot & Chantey," had me wondering about the possibilities of a crossover between Grimgotts and their pirate-obsessed Stormspell label mates in Blazon Stone!
"The Boys of Boone" is a spirited melodic metal jig and "Land of Tomorrow" features some nice four-on-the-floor drum work from Mo Abdelgadir, who, it must be noted, locks in tightly with bassist Nelson Moreira to provide a rock-solid rhythm section throughout the album. "The Edge of the World" is pure Blind Guardian worship, reminding me quite a bit of "The Bard's Song," and then a dramatic spoken-word intro sets a proper swords-n-sorcery mood for the epic "Kinsman," which closes out the "Legends" portion of the album. However, Grimgotts is not quite finished with their metal assault yet, setting sail once again with the power-metal crunch of "Fight Against the World" and the latest single "Grimgotts Calling," before wrapping things up with the narrated soundscapes of "The Lost Chapters," which feels like the pre-credit lead-in to a big budget fantasy film.
Summing it Up
This is the third Grimgotts release I've reviewed for this fine web site and it's been a fun ride watching them go from strength to strength with each new piece of work. For a relatively young band, these guys clearly have tons of talent, truck loads of ambition, and enough musical chops for ten bands. Twenty years ago this epic style of symphonic power metal was owned by Italian troops like Rhapsody of Fire, Domine, Labyrinth, and Vision Divine, but those bands better start looking over their shoulders, because on the strength of Grimgotts' Tales, Sagas & Legends, it would appear that the next wave of fantasy metal may be coming from the U.K.!
For more info on the Tales, Sagas & Legends release, you can check out the official Grimgotts Bandcamp page. Tell'em I sent you. Nice work as always, fellas!