A storm of sheer power emerges.
Ascending the heights of the European power metal scene with less than a decade under their proverbial belts, Swedish foursome Veonity have made a name for themselves by taking the older style that originally served the likes of Gamma Ray, Iron Savior, Stratovarius and Dragonland so well about 20 years prior and bringing it into the present. Though comprised of a fold of technically extravagant players who could rival the likes of Malmsteen and Impellitteri, their take on the style could be best described as gallant in character, opting for compact songs with ultra-catchy hooks and measured displays of instrumental competency. It’s a bit more dynamic and less niche-obsessed than outfits like Sabaton and Bloodbound, not to mention a tad closer to the rugged speed metal stylings of Paragon and Stormwarrior when considering their frenetic riffing approach, yet the bombast and largess of their sound invites plenty of comparisons to said bands.
Originally cutting their teeth in the gritty imagery of Roman gladiators on their 2015 debut “Gladiator’s Tale,” Veonity’s approach would take on a loftier Sci-Fi/Fantasy flavor with the release of their smash 2016 sophomore outing “Into The Void,” a bold conceptual work that codified their current and slicker sound with guitarist Anders Skold taking over vocal duties. With the lone exception of 2020’s “Sorrows,” which took on a more introspective and nuanced character, the method of this band’s melodic madness has been singularly focused upon the fantastical, and their latest foray into the realm of impossibility is yet another brilliant conceptual work dubbed “Elements Of Power.” Drawing upon a similar theme to that of “Into The Void” of a lone hero struggling against impossible odds, the flavor of things this time around has a more upbeat and optimistic character, both in how each song resolves to a celebratory refrain and how the story’s protagonist defies the odds to save humanity from certain destruction.
As with any opus hearkening back to the high octane sound of power metal’s 2nd wave in Europe, subtlety is at the bottom of the priority list. Things basically hit the pavement with the roar of a million horsepower engine with the blistering opener “Beyond The Realm Of Reality”, merging speed metal fury with a pomp-infused swagger. Perhaps the only thing more charming than the brilliant interweaving of consonant guitar harmonies and rapid fire riffing is how perfectly Skold’s Joe Lynn Turner-inspired vocal approach melds into the arrangement and injects a slight retro-80s power metal affectation into things. A similar tone is struck with “The Surge”, which along with the symphonic bluster of the title anthem “Elements Of Power” (featuring the soaring vocal work of Dragony’s Siegfriend Samer no less), present a formidable speed metal hat-trick in the first half of a towering sonic portfolio of glory.
Naturally even the most relentless trustees of European power/speed metal endeavor to avoid a totally one-dimensional product, and the moments where things slow down a tad prove to be no less riveting. Whether it’s the mid-paced shuffle with a Celtic folk tinge that is “Altar Of Power”, or an occasionally atmospheric and mysterious blend of keyboard work with a driving swagger such as “Blood Of The Beast”, this is an album that doesn’t pull its punches even when things drop out of light speed. All the same, this auditory ode to otherworldly heroism continues to plant its flag on the faster side of the coin, and the second half of this album introduces some truly phenomenal cruisers such as the victory-steeped banger “Dive Into The Light”, along with a pair of frenetic crushers in “Facing The Water” and the closing hurrah “Return To The Land Of Light” that sees drummer Joel Kollberg all but upstaging Skold and lead guitarist Samuel Lundstrom in the process.
In a time where power metal has become defined either by an excessive amount of technical showmanship, or singular focus on simple, crowd-pleasing bangers, it’s beyond refreshing to see a band that can balance these two extremes seamlessly as most of the older guard accomplished at the turn of the millennium. “Elements Of Power” almost matches the blend of splendor and fury that typified “Into The Void,” and definitely stands tall amid the sea of competitors in the European power metal scene. Those particularly drawn to the fantastical heroism with a fast, metallic edge that was so effectively displayed by Dragonland back in the early 2000s, along with the German speed metal faithful who long for the days when Gamma Ray were putting out an album every 2 years will definitely want to hear this. In a world that continues to be gripped by fear and uncertainty, the high grade escapism on display here presents an ideal remedy.
Released By: Scarlet Records
Release Date: February 18th, 2022
Genre: Power Metal
- Anders Sköld / Vocals, guitar
- Samuel Lundström / Lead guitar
- Kristoffer Lidre / Bass
- Joel Kollberg / Drums
“Elements Of Power” Track-list:
- Beyond The Realm Of Reality
- The Surge
- Altar Of Power
- Elements Of Power
- Gargoyles Of Black Steel
- Dive Into The Light
- Facing The Water
- Blood Of The Beast
- Curse Of The Barren Plains
- Return To The Land Of Light
Doubling back to the high-flying, heroic ways of the German/Swedish power metal sound of the late 90s after a brief interlude into more nuanced territory, power quartet Veonity unleash a torrent of majestic themes set to a conceptual storyline on their latest studio venture