Unfortunately, the scene of today does not offer lavishly abundant power metal, in contrast to the prolific death metal groups emerging in copious numbers, but the problem is not because there aren’t many bands, but because there aren’t enough bands which carry an old school attitude. Instead of bands which keep their distance close to the likes of Jag Panzer, Griffin, Chastain, Fates Warning and like, the majority of the scene gravitates towards the busier stance of death metal, obviously more compelling and more exploitive with simultaneous melody intersections, vivacious ruptures and crushing dynamics, and I do in fact enjoy these bands, but I have greater adoration for the ones that keep the old school alive. Colorado’s Vacant Throne proves to one of those rare-found gems, and their debut album ‘’Fall Of The Feathered King’’ is an epic slab of kilter yet also dynamic old school power metal, melodious but never deviating from its chord laden stance.
The fact that ‘’Fall Of The Feathered King’’ manages to fit itself somewhere between the modern sound and the old school sound makes it an even more intriguing album. And to top it off, the band has decorated their semi-elaborate compositions with lyrics about the Conquistadors and Aztec kings, which can take you to a whole new viewpoint to glimpse at the classic war imagery power metal is always laden with. When I first heard the album, I was put slightly aback even though I wasn’t wholly baffled, but the album gave me a small intro-shock when it first began because I didn’t have the slightest bit of trepidation. Nonetheless, as the album progressed, its malleable nature reshaped itself in a way that I could easily welcome its vast and extensive hemisphere.
‘’Fall Of The Feathered King’’ is cavernous the whole way through, made even more atmospheric with the occasionally wandering synthesizers. The riffs are sorrowful or drowning when the epic sense of the music culminates, but let’s just say that the riffs and atmosphere embrace and explore the more sombre side spectrum. You have occasional gallops and chord progressions underneath the melodies to serve as a viable crutch and you also have harmonious melodies meandering alongside the soulful cries of the vocals. The riffing is nearly excellent because the band does not overuse the already overused terms and spikes, keeping it fresh at all times, and the structures are far more complex than you would think. There are vigorous tracks of eclectic gallop driven riffs like ‘’Burning Skies’’ and more sombre, oppressive pieces like ‘’Sacrificial Prisoner’’, and you’ll have no trouble welcoming the jumpy catchiness of ‘’The Jaguar Knight’’ and the simply terrific all-arrounder ‘’The Return Of Quetzalcoatl’.
Each track has its unique traits, but the atmosphere fastens them together, forming a nearly inseparable merging of epic power metal songs. Taking elements from both spectrums of power metal, ‘’Fall Of The Feathered King’’ makes for a breath of fresh air, and proves that there are still power metal bands out there with something to say. I devoutly hope their prowess enlarges with the release of a sophomore.
The Jaguar Knight
The Return Of Quetzalcoatl