Gloryhammer’s ex-singer Angus McFife has leveled up. But has he leveled up enough to impress?
When Thomas Winkler was unceremoniously booted from and/or left intergalactic power metal combo Gloryhammer out of his own volition amongst dubious circumstances, he didn’t waste much time getting back on his musical feet. Having played the role of Angus McFife as the band’s vocalist, the joke to one-up that to McSix was as straight-forward as it was predictable. It’s also in the vein of what Gloryhammer was about and when the first single from Angus McSix and the Sword of Power was released and contained such lyrical gems as “glory left my hammer” and “guess who’s back, one better,” I couldn’t help but giggle like a little schoolgirl. The question is: can Winkler and his merry band of universal misfits carry the joke over an entire album?
The answer to that is twofold. Angus McSix and the Sword of Power is in many ways a continuation of what Winkler did with his former band. It’s upbeat power metal that relies on the same over the top superhero schtick and jokey lyrics and puns. Because of course Angus’ sword is called Sixcalibur and of course there is an entire song devoted to the thing. There is a track about a Laser-Shooting Dinosaur (naturally made from metal from the moon and assembled by Samurai). There are Fireflies of Doom to fight. It’s jokey, hokey and when you have the right mindset and/or are really (glory)hammered after a few beers, it is sure to trigger a laugh or a snicker here and there.
The thing with Angus McSix and the Sword of Power is that it doesn’t entirely stick the landing. There are good songs on here like Master of the Universe, Sixcalibur or Amazons of Caledonia, but sometimes Winkler and his band rely too much on the joke without bringing things home musically. Behind the masks, other than Winkler himself, you’ll find Thalia Bellazecca (Thalestris) of Frozen Crown fame on guitar, Orden Ogan’s Sebastian Levermann (Seebulon) and ex-Rhapsody of Fire drummer Manuel Lotter (Skaw!). These are all fine musicians who should have had more to do on this Angus McSix debut album. Musically, Angus McSix and the Sword of Power is at times too keyboard-driven, with both Winkler and the keys up front in the mix and the rest sort of trailing behind. The music rarely packs a punch and that is a shame, because there is enough here to like song-wise.
Overall, Angus McSix and the Sword of Power will surely please a lot of the fans that just want more Winkler or are starving for new Gloryhammer material. They will be in on the joke from the start and are sure to have a good time dressing up for live concerts and shouting along with the insanely daft lyrics. I’m sure the material will fare better on a festival stage; the material is infectious enough and even a less than spectacular party track like Ride to Hell will eventually get under your skin, especially in a live setting. As a power metal album and debut, this one falls a bit short overall, but it’s a good step in the right direction and we can only hope that future battles are more glorious.
Label: Napalm Records
Buy it here: https://angusmcsix.bandcamp.com/album/angus-mcsix-and-the-sword-of-power
- Master of the Universe (03:24)
- Sixcalibur (03:53)
- Laser-Shooting Dinosaur (04:10)
- Amazons of Caledonia (04:02)
- Ride to Hell (03:54)
- Starlord of the Sixtus Stellar System (05:35)
- The Vision in the Fires (Intro) (01:06)
- Eternal Warrior (03:33)
- The Key to Eternity (04:38)
- In a Past Reality (03:53)
- Fireflies of Doom (03:38)
- Just a Fool Will Play Tricks on Angus McSix (04:08)
- Angus McSix, Starlord of the Sixtus Stellar System – vocals
- Thalestris, Queen of the Lazer-Amazons of Caledonia – guitars
- Arch Demon Seebulon, The Origin of all Evil – guitars, bass, vocals (backing)
- Skaw! Buff Berserker from the North – drums
Review by RP