The rerelease of Númenor’s ‘Sword and Sorcery’ on Stygian Crypt Productions is a hidden gem of Serbian power metal, and EPIC power metal at that. Drawing influence from the classics by Tolkien, Lovecraft and Howard, Númenor has added a bonus mini CD with 5 extra tracks as part of the package.
After the swelling drama of the intro track ‘Prelude’, ‘Dragonheart’ burns immediately with glorious strings and fretboard fireworks. You can sense straight away the kindred spirit this shares with both Wintersun and Rhapsody (or Rhapsody of Fire, or whatever they’re called now). It’s an excellent statement of intent, and this kind of swelling, fist raising power metal fills the rest of album with excellent songs and music. The harsher vocal/clean vocal duality gives them something a little bit different from a lot of modern power metal. The solo work in ‘The Arcanist’ is cool, and the little interlude moments add that bit of extra drama.
You can feel a bit of northern European influence in here too, with both German power metal elements and Scandinavian folk metal elements coming into force during some of the later tracks, like the Helloween-esque ‘Prince in the Scarlet Robe’ or the gleaming Gothenburg melodies that streak through the potent ‘Dragon of Erebor’. Incidentally, ‘Dragon of Erebor’ is probably up there with my favourite power metal songs this year.
I’m a bit of a sucker for a good fist-waving, overly dramatic power metal album every so often, but ‘Sword and Sorcery’ gives you all those traditional tropes but wrapped up with a bit of an edge, a bit of bite to it. That makes them stand out, and it definitely helps tracks like ‘Bane of Durin’ feel fresh and appealing. Excellent stuff!