‘Might and Power’ is the Swiss collective’s second full length after the ‘Niralet’ EP and their much applauded debut ‘Blood Hails Steel, Steel Hails Fire’. Often heralded as Switzerland’s answer to Eternal Champion, Megaton Sword is a champion-pardon the pun-at writing epic hymns that will have you storming into battle, battleaxe in hand. Or at least storming to the front of the stage, beer in hand.
The main gripe that people seemed to have on the previous two outings concerned Uzzy Unchained’s vocals which definitely fall into the acquired taste category. You either love them or hate them. Now this is not something new in this genre. We might have been spoiled a bit by EC’s Jason Tarpey or Atlantean Kodex‘s Markus Becker, but any fan of Manilla Road will testify that you need to be able to look beyond the quirkiness of the vocals if you want embark on such quests of sweeping sword and sorcery.
That being said, I find that Uzzy has really taken some of these comments to heart and upped his game considerably vocally. Not that his voice is any less otherworldly, but he has brought in so much more drama and theatrics in his delivery. Which does wonders for these kinds of fantastically spun yarns. Just take a listen to either ‘Power’ or ‘Might’, the double-bladed tracks that make up the title of the record. He’s not just singing here, but really telling a story.
A story you get all the more interested in after gandering at the awesome cover by renowned artist Paolo Girardi. It’s less of a landscape drawing like Adam Burke provided for the previous two, but a much more visceral, gooey scene that still draws inspiration from Uzzy‘s self-created fantasy mythos of the continent Niralet on the planet Xarkahar.
Just to give you a teaser of their yarn spinning capabilities, read through the following evocative passage that doesn’t really appear in any of the lyrics but does put you in the right mood:
“Whoever is vomited onto the riverbanks of Üyg faces a bleak existence. Here, the Neekog offspring is left to its own devices, growing up without protection and in solitude. Having survived the first years, they roam the endless steppes in search of prey. Woe betides anyone who carelessly sets foot in these lands and disturbs their twisted peace. In war, they gather. Then their blood-soaked skins glisten iridescently in the moonlight as they distill might from the corpses of their enemies and greedily immerse themselves in Rooba inebriation.”
Musically, the depth and range of the compositions match the storytelling ambitions. Taking their queues not only from the staples of classic epic metal with a lot more soaring solos, but even marching unabashedly into unexpected territory like in the blistering blast beat section at the end of ‘Iron Plains’ or the bittersweet balladesque piano led opening of ‘Babe Eternal’.
If ‘Might and Power’ is any indication then 2023 is going to be one hell of a year again for true heavy metal!
- Music / Songwriting 10/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 10/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 8/10
If Megaton Sword was heavy metal’s best keep secret on the last album, let their name now resound all across the realm. They have the poweeeerr!!!
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