Album: Dragons of the Ages
Release Date: 17th May 2019
Record Label: Unsigned
I first heard of Grimgotts when they were announced for Power Metal Quest Fest 2018, which was their first ever live show. I can tell you straight away that had I not known that in advance, I would never have believed that it was their first ever live performance. Their music was full of cheese, but also epic sounding keys and some great triumphant atmosphere. So finally (only 4 months late, sorry!) I am getting around to writing up my review of their latest release Dragons of the Ages.
A crashing of waves onto the shore brings war. The first track, War’s Come To Our Shores sets the albums up as a true power metal album should be set up. A strings melody starts up, and the sounds of a storm begin to be heard. When the full band kicks in it has a real Dragonland feel, but for me the vocals are a little too low in volume for the track. The overall vibe is triumphant and there are some military style drums thrown in there for good measure. There’s even a few blast beats for those of a heavier disposition, as well as some female vocals.
The keys are less prominent and the instrumental is heavier for The Last Dragon Warriors. There is definitely an opportunity for a lot of headbanging and again there are female vocals in the track. A seafaring track that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pirate of the Caribbean soundtrack comes next. Ancient Waters has a nautical feel but definitely does not sound like traditional pirate metal. The track is upbeat, has a dance to it, and there is still time to headbang.
A traditional power metal gallop brings us War at Dawn! There are harsh vocals, and again we have a heavier and track ripe for headbanging to, but as the track progresses the synth gets more prominent. The King Under The Sea has a ska-like rhythm and a dancey feel to the synth. It has more power metal elements than a few of the previous tracks, and there again is that traditional drum gallop with a fast pace.
Grimgotts seemed to be channelling Ensiferum when they wrote the introduction and instrumental to The Long Road, I definitely get that kind of vibe. I am not complaining about it as I love a bit of folk metal! There are some fast solos from both the guitar and keys, and it’s another catchy, headbanging track.
Bringing the cheesy, happy power metal is Turning the Tide. It’s fast paced and makes the strings and bass sound triumphant together. Another track with a nautical feel but not pirate metal-esque is Take to the Sea. There’s that ever present gallop, a great singalong chrous, and a group acapella ending. It’s another track that reminds me of Dragonland.
The Great Shadow is the penultimate track and another one which is very much like Dragonland. There is a little tension in the introduction, but the instrumental kicks into a “fists in the air” feel, and the track is a singalong track which is uplifting and triumphant. I think this is probably my favourite track from the entire album. Here Be Dragonlords brings us straight back down to Earth for the finale. The atmosphere is more tense and there are heavy strings. It’s a slower pace to start for headbanging, but the pace does build up. There is a nautical interlude with quieter vocals, another final power metal gallop for good measure, and then the slower pace returns to end the album.
Far from their Harry Potter themed power metal (which I am still a little disappointed they abandoned), I feel like Grimgotts have a potentially great future as a band together. They have their own take on power metal which is reminiscent of the Swedish power metal scene with bands such as Dragonland and Bloodbound springing to mind, but they add their own twist with the nautical themes which don’t dive straight into the pirate metal trope. For my personal taste, I would like just a bit cheese. I enjoyed the heavier elements to some of the tracks, and my own slight gripe with the mix is that sometimes the vocals did not quite feel strong enough in terms of their presence compared to the instrumental.
Buy Grimgotts music and merch: https://grimgotts.bandcamp.com/
Listen to Grimgotts on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0TrAygcWyGMmI6J40tiG6L
Follow Grimgotts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/grimgottsband/