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Might & Power
Review by Brexaul on March 5, 2023.
When someone asks what Switzerland is known for, the answer rarely is “for it’s NWOTHM scene”. Megaton Sword has been steadily trying to change that, but their second output still needs some extra oomph to sway me, so my answer will still be “spectacular scenery, chocolate, melted cheese in a pot and Celtic Frost”.
In Might & Power, the band continues to build up on all the elements that were present on their previous album Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire, with a few good hits and a few expected misses. Still borrowing heavily from the old school epic metal sound (both from the giants of the genre and their contemporaries) the band presents an interesting offering of eight songs, with an LP loving length of 40 minutes.
Special mention to the fantastic cover artwork of Paolo Girardi and his eerie art-style, although I must admit I sort of missed the grand epic landscapes of Adam Burke. Being a sucker for these things though, I like to imagine that the alien monstrosity depicted here is imprisoned deep within the catacombs of a citadel in Niralet, or crawling through a creepy mausoleum under the castle walls and the band has made an excellent work with their concept and visuals making the immersion easier.
The first pleasant surprise I had from this album, was the tremendous improvement on the vocals. Uzzy’s rough and weird vocals was my breaking point on their debut, but he sounds much more convincing and “in control” of his quirks here. Obviously, he is no Rob Halford, so the potential note spectrum is still limited, but the songwriting and vocal lines compliment him way better than their previous effort. The guitar work is again excellent and both Chris the Axe and Seth Angel bring their best game (minus the occasional solo mishaps) and manage to create an interesting atmosphere for Uzzy to lead, and the rhythm section of Simon the Sorcerer and Dan Thundersteel (God I love these names) is sturdy and convincing. All this is amplified by a very nice mix that manages to sound old school, but not outdated.
There are some great moments in Might & Power, especially the opener duo of 'The Raving Light Of Day' that packs a good punch akin to the old Manowar days, and the fantastic 'Iron Plains', which has to be my favourite track on the album. There are also some notable fist-raising moments going forward, more in line with the newer bands of the genre (Eternal Champion or Gatekeeper coming to mind), and the songwriting discreetly shifts focus as the album progresses. While I imagine they were trying to offer something outside the lines, it doesn’t always work and at some points feels directionless and breaks the established immersion of the first half. I was well buying into the ”true” heavy metal vibe of the first four songs, but I feel they missed a great opportunity to really shine, topping it all with the closing track 'Babe Eternal' which sounds out of place on this album.
So, Megaton Sword once again leave me conflicted. On one hand the progress is undeniable and I enjoyed this album far more than their debut, but I expected more. It feels like the band hit a plateau and I’m still not entirely convinced they can do much better than this. My expectations were high because I believed they could present something truly inspired, despite my lower rating then, but after Might & Power I’m not too certain. In all honesty, it is a good album. Could have it been great? Quite possibly. There are moments that everything falls into place and there is a wow factor, but those moments are not enough to bring them to the A-Tier. If you are a fan of epic heavy metal and the whole NWOTHM movement, give this a chance and I’m sure you will find tons of stuff to enjoy. I’m just not sure it will turn your world upside down.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10165