No, really, Xbox Music found 21 songs to put into a playlist in the “genre” of “fantasy metal.” And, yeah, it’s pretty much what you would expect. Knights, dragons, swords, an unusual amount of hammers…not sure what the obsession with hammers is. And, yeah, it’s pretty much as cheesy and silly as you’d expect, too. Spinal Tap lives…and how. I mean, God, do we really need this much fantasy metal? How many wanky guitar solos about evil demons can there be? This is what’s always bugged me about fantasy anyway, every thing is the superlativest of whatever it is, until the next chapter or book or whatever. And through it all I’m supposed to pretend like it’s common knowledge whether a wraith can defeat a ghoul or vice-versa.
There’s no innuendo here. I mean if a fantasy metal band writes a song called “Cloak Of Feathers,” it’s about a cloak of fucking feathres.
Clearly the sound of fantasy metal is cheesy synth on the guits and drums that sound like (or maybe even are) drum machines. That’s their clarion call…how you know you’re listening to fantasy metal, because otherwise I guess you wouldn’t know you were listening to fast, heavy drums and guitars playing a song about a ring broken into shards.
Still, some of the songs are pretty good…just don’t expect me to admit to that around girls.
- Valley Of The Damned – Dragonforce – A full heart may be generous. It’s damned good at times but, like so much here, suffers from bouts of cheesiness. But, man, this is mostly sweet.
- Cloak Of Feathers – The Sword – Has a vintage 70’s Dio-kind of feel to it, but a little better. Definitely worth holding on to this band as one I want to hear more of, so making full even though it’s a bit too long for it’s own good. But for “fantasy metal,” shit, it’s an exercise in self-restraint.
- 7 Days To The Wolves – Nightwish – It’s like some bizarro hip hop strings got in there somehow. pretty good, though. borderline full. ah hell, maybe i’ll keep it full cuz maybe i’ll want to listen to it later.
- Demonheart – Luca Turilli – here we’re much more in Dio territory and things start to get much more mediocre. there’s some cheesy carmina burana/operation:mindcrime vox that don’t end up working. Pretty sure this is a drum machine…too artificial.
- Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) – Kamelot – meh. mostly inoffensive, but mostly boring and trope-filled. The top search result for “sacrimony” is urban dictionary, then a bunch of links for this song. I love how we’re just making up medieval-sounding names for s**t now. I don’t need this. It adds no value to the universe. At least that mopey horror movie montage thing near the end is unique.
- Any Means Necessary – Hammerfall – The chorus is ridic stupid, like so many in this playlist, but the rest of it is redeeming enough to warrant an open heart.
- The Sunk’n Norwegian – Alestorm – This sucks. What’s the point of that apostrophe? It’s still a syllabic “n”. God it makes me so angry that somebody made this.
- Another Strange Me – Blind Guardian – reminiscent of W.A.S.P.’s “The Real Me.” Is it supposed to be “Another Stranger Me”? Yes. Totally sounds like W.A.S.P. But that’s a good song and this one has its moments.
- Trollshaws – Battlelore – fucking flute. Jesus Christ, do these bands realize they’re fucking cliches? switches back and forth from growly cookie monster vox to a harpsichord synth/flute part. i actually kinda dig the growly part. Oh then after the second chorus they bring in a piano sound. They just can’t leave well enough alone. Then a goddmaned pan flute. Jesus, have some fucking pride.
- On The Morning Dew – Elvenking – they’re fucking called Elvenking. fucking renfest shit. These fairies start right off with the pan flute and lute shit. The album cover shows a fucking elvenking. Fucking elvenking. Because what, Led Zeppelin didn’t mine this genre enough? Christ.
- I Am The Night, Colour Me Black – Priestess – first band I’ve heard of. No, I think I’ve heard of Dragonforce and The Sword. Kind of Motorhead-ish. Almost Kyuss-y, but without the major fuzz on the guitars. Not quite as catchy as those bands. Full heart because there’s not so much going on in these.
- Knights Of Taragon – Freedom Call – Freedom Call…what is this a fucking tea party band? Got that cheesy horn synth sound you expect to hear at an NBA game. Kinda good, actually, without that guitar as horn MIDI controller, but argh that’s a black mark on it. Oh god, here comes the bridge. That sucks, too.
- Reign Of Terror – Rhapsody Of Fire – really, that’s their name? Have this as “at least open” but it’s really growing on me. there’s a bohemian rhapsody thing going on. Love that synth sound at about 4:10. But there’s no way I can make this full.
- Phoenix Down -The Unguided – I’ve heard this five or six times now and never notice it.
- Quest For The Hammer Of Glory – Gloryhammer – how meta. Oh god these lyrics suck. second hammer-based band name. Is a gloryhammer something that goes in a gloryhole?
- The Things We Believe In – Orden Ogan – stupid. Trope after trope and no passion. Fantasy metal by numbers.
- Black Templar – Legion Of The Damned – fast. deathy growl vox. I don’t really notice this much, either, but it’s so different from the rest and really pretty cool (you hardly notice the lyrics) that I kinda dig it.
- Holy War – Iron Mask – back to the cheesy synth sounding guitar. i don’t hate this.
- Zenith – Huntress – i think the chorus salvages this.
- At The Gates Of Morken – Fairyland – seriously, Fairyland. And yet it’s one of the better songs on here. A full heart is generous , but that’s how I do when I just have one song to go on for a band. And this does have some really cool parts. But, good god, Fairyland.
- Seawitch And The Sorcerer – Kivimetsän Druidi – This sucks because she’s doing some kind of operatic thing and so the ridic fast drummer behind her is produced into the backround b/c I guess they don’t want to rock over that vocal. I really don’t care for the strained vocal, like why bother, but I do find myself bobbing my head along to this at times. Cool, retro guitar riffs that would make Testament proud. Bordering open/broken.
– “Valley Of The Damned” (Dragonforce), “Cloak Of Feathers” (The Sword), “7 Days To The Wolves” (Nightwish), “I Am The Night, Colour Me Black” (Priestess), “At The Gates Of Morken” (Fairyland)
– “Demonheart” (Luca Turilli), “Any Means Necessary” (Hammerfall), “Another Stranger Me” (Blind Guardian), “Trollshaws” (Battlelore), “Knights Of Taragon” (Freedom Call), “Reign Of Terror” (Rhapsody Of Fire), “Black Templar” (Legion Of The Damned), “Holy War” (Iron Mask), “Zenith” (Huntress), “Seawitch And The Sorcerer” (Kivimetsän Druidi)
– “Sacrimony” (Kamelot), “The Sunk’n Norwegian” (Alestorm), “Quest For The Hammer Of Glory” (Gloryhammer), ” On The Morning Dew” (Elvenking), “Phoenix Down” (The Unguided), “The Things We Believe In” (Orden Ogan)