We Have The Power – The Top 25 Power And Power-Related Albums Of 2023

KAPOW!!! By some inscrutable sorcery fired from far beyond our most mystical and impressive mountains, another year has managed to pass, and with it comes yet another call to power arms! So, yes, by all means, sharpen your multi-sided die, boil those leather cuirasses, fluff that intensely ornate hat plumage, and polish those insanely detailed cavalier boot buckles, because We Have the Power 2023 has officially landed.

Wh… Why should that excite you? Well, maybe it shouldn’t if you happen to be a beef-headed buzzkill who’s weirdly averse to all things fun AND related to itemizing the things we love. For the rest of us, though, the arrival of WHTP not only heralds the arrival of this year’s best power (and power-related) releases, it ushers in the official commencement of the Last Rites List Season, which is clearly the most important thing to happen to this planet since the establishment of indoor plumbing. High and vainglorious praise, for sure, but who doesn’t love a little self-love? Just be sure to lock that bathroom door.

Hey! How’ve you been? How’s the wife / husband / partner / animal companion(s) / cell mate? Great! That’s really great to hear. You all look and smell terrific, and I am very much aflame with sheer thrill to have everyone in these halls again.

If you’ve been paying attention, it actually hasn’t been terribly long since we last gathered, as I spent the entire summer of 2023 cataloging and writing about THE GREATEST POWER METAL ALBUMS OF ALL TIME, as depicted by the following articles that dropped throughout May, June, July and August:

» The Top 50 US Power Metal Releases of All Time, Part 1
» The Top 50 US Power Metal Releases of All Time, Part 2
» The Top 100 Power Metal Albums of All Time, Part 1
» The Top 100 Power Metal Albums of All Time, Part 2
» The Top 100 Power Metal Albums of All Time, Part 3
» The Top 100 Power Metal Albums of All Time, Part 4
» The Top 100 Power Metal Albums of All Time, The Closing Ceremony

In other words, it’s been a very power metal year for yours truly and Last Rites, and power’s penchant for positivity has in turn improved my overall attitude and mental health amidst some of the lamest hours Earth has experienced to date, politically, socially, environmentally and several other ‘ally’s. Good news for us all: Power metal is a balm, and it’s primed and ready to assist any and all who choose to participate. What a deal.

So, what’s new? As far as power trends are concerned, I would say finally crawling out from under the pandemic cloud has absolutely affected this year’s overall power blueprint. Previous years amidst worldwide lockdowns, artists had more time to create, and they took full advantage of modern technology in order to do so, resulting in total WHTP album counts in 2021 and 2022 reaching over 300. By comparison, 2023 has still managed to deliver one hell of a load of entries, but we top out with about 210 albums, which is the main reason I’ve scaled the top albums back down to 25 compared to 30 in the two previous years.

Also appreciated in 2023 sans pandemic: bearing witness to a serious decline in albums with a near infinite amount of guest vocalists. Sure, that can be fun in smaller doses, but umpteen artists all in the game of e-viting as many people as humanly possible for contributions across an endless amount of minutes? SPREAD OUT! If I wanna hear 50 cast members howling for the spotlight, I’ll go see a local production of The Taming of the Shrew. Anyway, quite a few albums in this year’s pile come across much more focused and straightforward, and I can’t help but wonder if finally getting an opportunity to hit the road again had something to do with that. Streamline the formula, go out and light some heads on fire from the stage. Not literally.

Beyond that, one last thing I’ll comment on relates to the fact that despite the lower numbers in 2023, the overall quality was pretty much through the roof. Like, paring things down to a tidy 25 was a real exercise, and I honestly believe I could’ve made a top 40 this year without worrying too much about a sharp decline in quality for the albums bringing up the rear. 25 top tier albums is a healthy piece of pie, though, no? Let’s jump in.

And welcome to Last Rites List Season!



3. Induction – The Power of Power

[Cover artwork: Péter Sallai] I’m sure we can all agree that the power of power can indeed be quite powerful, particularly when wielded by a band as power intent as Czechia’s Induction. You know about these guys, right? I was dumb enough to miss their self-titled splashdown from 2019, but 2022’s Born from Fire delivered a fiery blast big enough to nail down the coveted no. 2 spot in last year’s WHTP, directly behind the very mighty Blind Guardian and The God Machine. With this, the band’s first official EP, Induction brings to light two brand new songs, “Set You Free” and “A Call Beyond,” with the rest of the release offering up two songs each from the band’s previous full-lengths. So, yeah, maybe not essential for anyone who’s already very familiar with the group, but I clearly think the EP remains worthy of full attention based on the merits of the two new cuts alone. “Set You Free” is an homage to the classic super-charged energy behind timeless early works from bands like Helloween and Gamma Ray, both of which find an even deeper connection here via Induction guitarist Tim Hansen (yes, that Hansen), and “A Call Beyond” delivers a slightly slower, more introspective anthem that comes across like a warm, proggy hug to the ol’ heart. Might’ve landed higher if I wasn’t already familiar with four of the songs.

Style: Symphonic Power
Country: Czechia
Sample: “Set You Free”
Label: Atomic Fire Records
Release date: August 4
Band website: Induction

2. Palantír – Nightmare Opus

[Cover artwork: Madeleine Andersson] I have come a very long way from the lawless, keyboard hating hair farmer I was in my youth. I mean, I still break the law—who doesn’t—but gone are the long locks, and I now say “hello, how do you do, please come in” to keyboards of most any form, especially when it involves the mystickal keytar. Well, Sweden’s Palantír is a very keyboard forward power metal band, and they deliver a notably bright form of the Euro strain that sounds as if the songs were all birthed from ivory tinkling (yes, I said tinkling) jam sessions unlocked by keytarist Johannes Frykholm. This results in an overall footprint that’s delightfully otherworldly and really not that far off from what one might expect if Styx (the band) were obsessed with Helloween. Wait, say what? Styx? Yeah, just go with it. And if you’re too young to remember Styx, just raid the tapes stacked in your uncle’s garage the next time he drags you to his house to help clean out a storage closet. Bottom line: Nightmare Opus will only be a nightmare if you’re one of those fussbudget soreheads who recoils as soon as a keyboard enters the room. Thank goodness I’m not that guy anymore.

Style: Keytar Power
Country: Sweden
Sample: “A Distant Place”
Label: Stormspell Records
Release date: October 31
Bandcamp: Palantír

1. Glyph – When the World Was Young

[Cover artwork: Uncredited, but it probably took about 2 minutes to create] Please, for the love of Pete and all his cohorts, do not confuse this version of Glyph with the one-person black metal band of the same name from Partsunknown, USA that appears to be upset enough about the former’s sudden existence that they decided to borrow their logo. Never mind the fact that there’s also a metalcore band called Glyph in Indonesia, the scoundrels. There’s more juicy drama there, I really don’t know. What I do know, though, is this: Glyph the power metal band is ready to win the fricken day, and they will do so by swinging into the room with a triumphant form of synthy / symphy / spiffy power that’s as barrel-chested as a gorilla on a particularly potent sugar high after shotgunning a 32oz Rockstar. Did I mention this is a supergroup? Does the word “supergroup” normally send you running? It really shouldn’t. Especially in this case, because Glyph counts members of Gatekeeper, Ravenous and Greyhawk in their ranks. Super, no? No wonder that other feller borrowed their logo.

Style: Pure Pixel Power
Country: International
Sample: “Honour, Power, Glory”
Label: Independent
Release date: November 17
Bandcamp: The Trve Glyph



25. Vision Denied – Age of the Machine

[Cover artwork: Timo Wuerz]

When Age of the Machine first floated across the ol’ desk, the artwork and band logo lead me to believe I was about to jump into some sort of melodic speed / thrash metal. Nope! Pure melodic power, baby. Alas, my first impression amidst the initial encounter wasn’t as favorable as I’d hoped, thanks mostly to the fact that the band’s guitarist / vocalist really shines when it comes to that first role… but maybe not as much with the latter. Not a bad voice, mind you—it actually sounds quite nice when things are at their mellowest (“Would You” is totally lovely)—but his range is limited, and that ends up sticking out more because absolutely everything else to do with Age of the Machine hits the target very close to dead center. In other words, get someone with a voice that’s just as melodic, climbing and gliding as the music, and you’ve suddenly got yourself an album to threaten the top five. That being said, at some point I realized I actually couldn’t put the record down! There’s a ton of really engaging melody and a lot of deep, swirling texture to these songs—it’s dark, warm and gloriously catchy, and all the leads have this super fluid and cozy tone that reminds me of Adrian Smith circa Somewhere in Time. So, yeah, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Age of the Machine ends up climbing the ranks over time.

Style: Pure Power
Location: Germany
Sample: “Age of the Machine”
Label: Independent
Release date: June 16
Bandcamp: Vision Denied

24. Chaos Control – The Legacy Within

[Cover artwork: Uncredited]

Japanese power metal has the tendency to overwhelm, both in terms of quantity and often stylistically, thanks to the country’s overall penchant for completely obliterating most every rule and boundary. This is a good thing. This is a wonderful thing. Especially for those who appreciate innovation and mind-blowing virtuosity. For their part, however, Chaos Control opt for a more straightforward, blitzing form of power metal that melts brains sans all the genre bending. The results: A notably volatile blueprint delivering explosive lead after explosive lead, stacked atop scores of aggressive riffs, relentless drumming, a super active bass, and siren-wail vocal duties shared by YoungChoon Cho and NorthTale’s Guilherme Hirose. Combine all that with a strong predilection for speed and you basically get Japan’s answer to Eternity’s End. And really, who in their right mind would ever say NOPE to more combustible power metal custom built for shattering any and all obstacles in your way? CHARRRRRGE!!!

Style: Combustible Power
Location: Japan
Sample: “The Legacy Within”
Label: Repentless Records
Release date: September 20
Bandcamp: Chaos Control

23. Diviner – Avaton

[Cover artwork: George Zacharoglou]

Is Diviner a bit of a cheat for a list such as this? Their sound treads prrrretty close to straight-up classic trad metal, but there remains enough of a power element in the overall blueprint to keep the power tag relevant, particularly when we take the USPM realm into consideration. With full-length number three, the band continues down a very similar path cut by the previous releases, but Avaton does so with an entirely new cast of characters backing the exceedingly gratifying, gravel-throated voice of sole OG member Yiannis Papanikolaou (the last remaining connection to fellow Hellenic heavy / power hitters InnerWish).

A record like Avaton doesn’t rely much on excessive flash—these are all straightforward belters that follow a similar formula in a way that’s comparable to, say, Iron Savior, Brainstorm and the like, but everything Diviner does, they do well, with every player’s role feeling distinct at nearly any given moment. There’s a little more variance in the two closing tracks, made apparent by their 8-minute running lengths, but even those manage to color inside the lines of “keep it mid-paced, riffy and melodic, and don’t let any one person overstay their time in the spotlight.” Also, for what it’s worth, one of the themes Diviner gets tagged with is “Christianity,” but they’re not at all the type to beat you over the head with a bible, so no helmets necessary.

Style: Heavy / Power
Location: Greece
Sample: “Waste No Time”
Label: Rock of Angels Records
Release date: November 10
Bandcamp: Diviner

22. Mystic Prophecy – Hellriot

[Cover artwork: Dušan Marković]

Unless you just popped into power metal a half hour ago, chances are pretty good you know everything that needs to be known about Germany’s long-running Mystic Prophecy. Similar to an abundance of other German power veterans, these guys are more stuck in their ways than your dear ol’ grampy propped in a Barcolounger plowing through a sixer of Old Style during Wheel of Fortune. That’s good news if you’re addicted to the more aggressive style of power that borders on thrash, which is what Mystic Prophecy has delivered for two decades-plus. But if you’re looking for some semblance of experimentation or modernism, best not to put your hopes into a record like Hellriot. So, yes, the record sounds precisely like Mystic Prophecy playing Mystic Prophecy, but it also happens to do that better than they’ve done in some time, so it’s also catchier, brighter and feels… more inspired and confident. Maybe Tony Robbins is in the band now.

Style: Heavy, Speedy, Thrashy Power
Location: Germany
Sample: “Unholy Hell”
Label: Rock of Angels Records
Release date: May 19
Bandcamp: Mystic Prophecy

21. Kamelot – The Awakening

[Cover artwork: Giannis Nakos]

I have a fairly complicated relationship with the Karevik era of Kamelot. I’m pretty sure I like it? It’s big, bombastic, dramatic, often sweeping, and reminds me of the show Outlander. However, it’s also a bit frustrating, largely because I have the Khan era of the band to compare it to, which I happen to enjoy quite a bit more because the rest of the band seemed to get more time in the spotlight back then. Anyway, suffice to say, I approach each new Kamelot album with a level of caution, hoping the more progressive face of the project will make a triumphant return… Which it probably won’t. (I’m just trying to keep it real here, homies.)

The Awakening did not surprise me at all: it’s big, bombastic, dramatic, often sweeping, and reminds me of the show Outlander. But as has become customary, it also feels as if everything is working in service to the notably talented Karevik—like all the music is happening behind a screen as Tommy performs before four judges. Hell, if someone were to approach me and say, “Can you believe there are no guitar solos on the new Kamelot,” I would be taken aback and quickly rush to my headphones to find out if it was true. There are solos, naturally, but virtually all the ornamentation on The Awakening feels exactly like that: ornamentation. But you know, it’s all still good! Like, the songs will eventually stick, you’ll want to come back, and you’ll continue to hope that the future will find Kamelot dialing back the America’s Got Talent in favor of getting back to being an actual progressive power metal band again.

Style: Karevik is On America’s Got Talent-Styled Power
Location: USA
Sample: “Eventide”
Label: Napalm Records
Release date: March 17
Band website: Kamelot

20. Valentino Francavilla – Midnight Dreams

[Cover artwork: Let’s just… let this one go]

There’s no easy way to sugarcoat the following statement, so get ready for a lil bit of assholery. Visually speaking, a record like Midnight Dreams doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence for what’s in store behind the cover. I mean, it’s art and someone had to work hard at it, but let’s just say that video game probably ain’t jumping off the Game Stop best-seller shelf. As such, I expected the music behind the cover to be equally as… not a top seller. WRONG. This here album delivers 35 perfectly succinct minutes of shreddy, wonderfully melodic, hugely infectious rockin’ power, entirely at the behest of one individual named, you guessed it, Valentino Francavilla. Who the heck is this guy? Well, his other gig is with White Skull, but based on his social media presence, I would say he’s basically a notably flashy guitarist who’s stoked to show off his chiseled chest. Hey, you would too; don’t look at me funny. But hello, how do you do: Just a few minutes spent with Midnight Dreams will reveal Francavilla’s clear skill as a song writer, guitarist (/bassist) and vocalist, leaving only the (very believable) drumming to technology.

Every song here is a straight-up banger—no overly syrupy ballads, no superfluous embroidery, and no overly idealistic goals to deliver anything other than extremely tight, memorable, and tuneful power. Much of the fare has a perfect amount of foot jammed on the pedal, but even when the paced is slowed, it still maintains that sweet hook. Hell, ol’ Valentino even manages to lay down some rousing gang-vocal choruses (“Witches Tree,” for example) that I assume was accomplished by simply layering Valentino atop Valentino over even more Valentino. Friend, when the results are this fun, let’s just go ahead and give the green light to clone Valentino.

Style: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover Power
Location: Italy
Sample: “Witches Tree”
Label: Independent
Release date: October 17
Bandcamp: Valentino Francacvilla

19. Great Master – Montecristo

[Cover artwork: Jahn Vision Art]

I can’t see the name Great Master without hearing Guillermo from What We Do in the Shadows saying “Greeeaaaat, master…” to the ever endearing Nandor the Relentless. For what it’s worth, that absolutely works to the band’s favor, but what truly lands a record like Montecristo on a list like this is 100% owed to the fact that these ostentatious Italians just so happen to be very adept at crafting absurdly infectious, grandiose power metal that all but begs the listener to wonder if perhaps maybe perchance they might actually be able to pull off wearing a puffy pirate shirt at the next team building meeting at their crappy job. Montecristo is largely a very pure power album, but there’s just enough keyboard symphonicity (it’s a word if we want it to be a word) to give virtually every corner of the record the added bit of pomposity necessary to facilitate a story as epic as The Count de Monte Cristo. Vocalist Stefano Sbrignadello absolutely SOARS, the band ain’t afraid to step on the peddle, and there are loads and loads of great leads front to back. Great jorb, Great Master!

Style: Symphonic Power
Location: Italy
Sample: “The Left Hand Joke”
Label: Underground Symphony
Release date: September 21
Bandcamp: Great Master

18. Evermore – In Memorium

[Cover artwork: Christoph Peters]

I was pretty skeptical the first time this record floated across my desk, as I am always cautious when an album cover’s artwork makes me wonder if I’m about to dip into a soundtrack for a flimsy romance novel your dear ol’ gam-gam might’ve grabbed at the checkout counter of a grocery store circa 1990. Luckily, the second full-length from this Swedish three-piece, In Memoriam, is about as far away from a fourth-rate tale concerning ruttish seaside trysts as you can possibly get. On the contrary, and for the most part, EvermorƎ is in the business of RIFFS, and they prefer those riffs to be heavy, crunchy and catchy, which pairs nicely the band’s stripped down formula that also showcases brief symphonic elements and a satisfying allotment of fiery leads. I’ve seen some criticisms levied toward the vocals here, which… I dunno… I suppose might make sense if you require every power metal vocalist who operates at a higher register to sound like Daniel Heiman, but I find them perfectly suitable for In Memoriam’s overall combustibility.

Style: Aggressive Power
Location: Sweden
Sample: “Forevermore”
Label: Scarlet Records
Release date: April 21
Bandcamp: Evermore

17. Galneryus – Between Dread and Valor

[Cover artwork: Uncredited]

One of the more remarkable things concerning Japan’s long-running Galneryus: When they release an album that’s honestly not quite as routinely explosive as they’ve done time and time again in the past, fans will call that record “disappointing” and make you want to believe it ’s deserving of a score around 5/10. Definitely an occupational hazard when you’re one of power metal’s more consistently excellent and most powerfullest bands. Yes, I would agree that Between Dread and Valor isn’t quite on the same level as a mightily impressive stack of previous Galneryus releases, but it’s still a very rewarding listen, even if it’s a bit shocking to see them produce something that doesn’t manage to crack a top five.

2021’s excellent Union Gives Strength introduced fans to the strange and unchartered realm of “Galneryus pithiness,” and Between Dread and Valor certainly continues that trend. But what we’re not terribly accustomed to is having the word (*gulp*) “restraint” attached to the band’s work. Not quite ready for that? Maybe wait for the next Galnery-bus. However, a patient ear will find plenty to love here, even when songs like “Let Us Shine” sound inches away from being a rock radio hit from 1988. Admittedly, I could’ve done without the super soft closing.

Style: Neoclassical Power
Location: Japan
Sample: “Let Us Shine”
Label: Warner Music Japan
Release date: March 1
Band website: Galneryus

16. Theocracy – Mosaic

[Cover artwork: Steven W. Howard]

Witness the power of prayer! No, Beyoncé did not leave Jay-Z for me and invite my friends and I to have our weekly D&D gatherings on a 70 million dollar yacht. I’m talking about the notably loud prayers of the Christian power metal hordes that have finally delivered a brand new Theocracy album unto us all.

In truth, seven years isn’t really all that long to wait, but when we’re talking about a band as unique as Theocracy that makes a point of keeping that green ~ACTIVE~ light on amidst such a stretch, fans have a tendency to start scratching after about four years or so. Mercifully, Mosaic has indeed arrived, and with it comes all the card-carrying elements fans have come to love about the band. Like, literally all of them; take the first four records and ram them into a blender—BOOM! You’ve got yourself a tall, refreshing… Mogarita? Margasaic? Point being, Mosaic is a perfect blend of heavy, light, maudlin, angry, aggressive, calm, classic and modern, and everyone of course sounds as if they’ve spent the seven year gap continuing to hone their chops instead of just sitting around and plowing through Jim Bakker’s apocalyptic meal buckets. Really, the biggest shift for Theocracy circa 2023 is the addition of Taylor Washington (of the excellent Paladin) on lead guitar, and his extraordinarily melodic presence is definitely welcome in this Eden.

Style: Jesus Might Be a Headbanger Power
Location: USA
Sample: “Return to Dust”
Label: Atomic Fire
Release date: October 13
Bandcamp: Theocracy

15. Stray Gods – Olympus

[Cover artwork: Uwe Jarling]

There are currently two notable singers in our heavy sphere whose voices bare a striking resemblance to everyone’s favorite royal curmudgeon, Bruce Dickinson: Artur Almeida of Stray Gods (and Attick Demons), and Raphael Mendes of Icon of Sin. Now, I admit I stand in awe of those individuals whose talent is blessed enough to mimic our dearest icons, but generally speaking, if I want to hear Bruce Bruce, Halford, King Diamond, RJD, etc., I will simply turn to the bounteous treasures they’ve bestowed on us through the years, because more often than not the music that backs the parrots just doesn’t stack up.

Stray Gods, however, does one hell of a job of flipping that script by delivering something that, while clearly indebted to Iron Maiden (even beyond Almeida’s great voice), is filtered through a power lens that’s equal parts US and buoyant Euro, and it’s performed by individuals who really know how to shred on their respective wares. Literally everyone stands out on a record like Olympus, so expect to actually HEAR the wonderfully playful bass, and be prepared to grin ear-to-ear thanks to the vigorous drumming, snappy riffs, and all that beautiful melody. The result: By the time you’re halfway through the record, you will find yourself caring less and less about the Maidenisms and instead point your attention to just how joyous and heartening each and every song happens to be.

Style: Iron Maidened Power
Location: International
Sample: “Abel & Cain”
Label: Rock of Angels Records
Release date: June 23
Bandcamp: Stray Gods

14. Thunderforge – Vanquish the Sun

[Cover artwork: Uncredited]

Three years ago a band called Goldenhall stormed out of Rhode Island with a debut full-length shot from a cannon that totally blindsided me with its explosive epicness. This year a similar cannon shot has been delivered via their snuggly northerly neighbors, Massachusetts’ own Thunderforge.

Similar to Goldenhall’s epic debut, Vanquish the Sun wastes little time (following the requisite intro) in letting the listener know they’re about to suffer multiple hammer blows to the head. The band’s overall design centers around a fairly aggressive form of modern US power that’s swift, often aggressive, intensely melodic, and vaulted to the firmament by a barrel-chested vocalist who sounds like he’d probably show up to work on Monday morning still wearing Friday night’s toga.

What Thunderforge use to their advantage is spice, spice, baby. While the comprehensive design clearly opts for galloping aggression, the album offsets that blitz with quieter moments: the plaintive “Garden of Tears” and fully piano’d and lovely “Nightfall,” for example. There’s a lot of layers in the T-forge blueprint, essentially, and Vanquish the Sun does a hell of a job of buttoning it all up in a very powerful way that should appeal to fans of the aforementioned Goldenhall, as well as modern outfits such as Visigoth and Ravenous.

Style: Big Power Go Boom!
Location: USA
Sample: “Position of the Stars”
Label: Independent
Release date: July 7
Bandcamp: Thunderforge

13. Edu Falaschi – Eldorado

[Cover artwork: Carlos Barbosa]

Edu Falaschi’s name is on the kiosk, but holy moly do them fellers behind him that are responsible for everything other than vocals and grandpa’s guitars ever know how to make albums like Vera Cruz (2021) and Eldorado hit the back of the net. Put an extraordinarily unloaded gun to my head and I’d still confess the previous record’s highs manage to reach a little higher, but Eldorado prrrrretty much picks up where Vera Cruz left off when it comes to extremely tight, notably bright, exceptionally crisp progressive power with more than a few touches of grandiose symphonicity. Yes, you’ll have to have a fairly thick stomach lining in order to digest and enjoy the ballads, but at this point that’s about as predictable as an abortive power metal intro. I personally think Falaschi’s voice occasionally stretches a little too far into “overly nasally” territory at times these days, but it’s not actually overly distracting. Also, how in the Hell is this album not on a proper label?

Style: Progressive Power
Location: Brazil
Sample: “Tenochtitlán”
Label: Independent
Release date: August 23
Band website: Edu Falaschi

12. Born In Exile – Major Arcana

[Cover artwork: Katerina / Catok Art]

**SLIGHT BIG FAT CHEATER ALERT** I’m guessing this is the biggest cheat in the stack this year. That admission notwithstanding, I would also say this particular variety of cheat is of a lesser degree compared to some of the whoppers I’ve pushed in previous years, as Spain’s Born In Exile is the business of delivering a notably melodic form of progressive metal that falls at least somewhat in line with the Symphony X’s, Pagan’s Minds and Adagios of our sphere. I would, however, confess that Major Arcana straddles the line with a heavier emphasis on the progressive side of things. That being said, this album is absolutely worthy of a spotlight here because: 1) Vocalist Kris Vega is an absolute powerhouse who balances a wonderfully delicate elegance in the album’s quieter moments with the perfect amount of POW when things get more intense, and 2) the band that backs her is supremely talented, with loads of sophistication in the driftier bits being suitably offset by the crew’s predilection for an exceptionally melodic form of aggressive and highly adventurous prog. Basically, if you count yourself a fairly daring fan progressive power, you’d be a grade-A chump for allowing a record like Major Arcana to slip through the cracks.

Style: Progressive Power (with a cheat code)
Location: Spain
Sample: “nooM ehT IIIVX”
Label: Independent
Release date: September 22
Band website: Born In Exile

11. Crom – The Era of Darkness

[Cover artwork: Kris Verwimp]

If there is a roadblock to be had regarding The Era of Darkness, it deals with the fact that the record stretches to an hour playing time. Of course that’s really nothing new in this day and age, but as the attention span of the typical human being continues to shrink in direct proportion to the aggressive increase in the amount of 60-second tiktok / reel distractions in our lives, this sort of thing does not work in Crom’s favor. My sage advice to you, if you choose to accept it, is to take your bloody time with this record, as I actually think it gets stronger as it slowly unfolds. “Bridge to Paradise,” for example, is a wonderfully warm and triumphant BEAST of a song that drops deep in the second half. Yes, your enjoyment largely banks on whether or not (Viking-era) Bathory colliding with a more power-directed form of Turisas sounds like something that would blow your hair back, but if you’re visiting this list and that DOESN’T sound good, maybe you should get that big ol’ melon of yours examined by a professional. Tons of texture here, plenty of varied pacing, and a notably toothsome form of sometimes sullen, often epic melody governs the overall footprint.

Style: Epic Power that laughs at your four winds
Location: Germany
Sample: “Bridge to Paradise”
Label: From the Vaults
Release date: January 13
Bandcamp: Crom

10. Saint Deamon – League of the Serpent

[Cover artwork: Thomas Holmstrand]

Here’s a little something my Last Rites power cohort Chris C. had to say in his review of League of the Serpent:

“Undoubtedly, a highlight inextricable from the Saint Deamon sound is [vocalist] Jan Thore Grefstad, who has a keen ability to ride the riffs here, regardless of how light or crunchy they may be at any given time. The vocal control this guy exercises is impressive. There is a distinct quality to his voice that sounds both remarkably graceful and authoritative.”

Boom, nailed it. I might even go so far as to say Grefstad’s performance on League of the Serpent is the second best of the year, directly behind you-know-who on you-know-what. His voice is a huge draw for Saint Deamon, and it’s a massive part of what makes this record so ridiculously infectious. However, what pushes League of the Serpent over the top and onto a list such as this is the band’s ability to throw such effective curveballs, as evidenced by the fact that my favorite songs might actually be the ones that scared me the most during initial encounters. The notably radio-rocked “A Lie to Be Undone” (soooo golden), for example. Plus, the equally infectious “Lost in Your Sin,” which kicks off with some weird jump-the-fuck-uppery mixed with bits of… westernness? How in the hell can that possibly work?! The rest of the record is equally as enjoyable, mind you—in a much more straightforward Euro power sort of way—but I very much appreciate how these guys manage to make most any form of their overall approach sound like a huge victory.

Style: Pure Power
Location: Sweden
Sample: “Load Your Cannons”
Label: AFM Records
Release date: April 21
Band website: Saint Deamon

9. Ashrain – Requiem Reloaded

[Cover artwork: Uncredited]

Not that I put too much stock into failing websites like Facebook in 2023, but the fact that Ashrain has only managed to capture 273 followers there since releasing their debut back in April leads me to believe people… simply don’t have a clue they exist. Sure, there are approximately 4 million bands out there battling for our attention, but Ashrain counts the following heroes in their ranks: UDO’s bassist Peter Baltes, who also played with Accept amidst their most classic run throughout the ‘80s and into the ‘90s; Andy C. Martínez on drums, who currently plays for Ronnie Romero and once drummed with brutal tech death lords Wormed (say whaaaaaaat?); Eternity’s End, Majustice and ex-Hibria (Defying the Rules) vocalist Iuri Sanson behind the mic; and directly inside the true vortex of the band, Nozomu Wakai of Sigh and Destinia providing piles and piles of guitar sorcery. An explosive lineup, for certain, but one of the things I quite appreciate about Requiem Reloaded is how the record manages to showcase each of the players’ talents with a perhaps surprising amount of restraint. Don’t get me wrong, the whole crew brings it, but each and every one of these songs delivers a wonderfully pure, straightforward form of power that underscores HOOK above all else.

Style: Really Should Be More Popular Pure Power
Location: International
Sample: “Pull On the Trigger”
Label: Independent
Release date: April 14
Band website: Ashrain

8. Excalion – Once Upon a Time

[Cover artwork: Piotr Szafraniec]

For the sixth year in a row, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked Finland as “the happiest nation in the world.” Despite never having the pleasure of setting foot on Finnish soil, I can’t help but wonder if a better choice of words would be “most content,” as I have never come across a sober Finn who’s even come close to high-fiving me as a greeting. Still, they’re a far cry from, say, the mighty and melancholy Belgians, but I’m pretty sure Disney Land in Finland would still play Horna as people cruise around the walkways. Hell, even Finnish power metal generally opts to sidestep the typical “joyous bounce” of the Euro strain, which is precisely the sort of thing that makes a band like Excalion such a great choice for those who count themselves… cautious when it comes to power metal’s penchant for essentially forcing listeners to turn their frowns upside down. Moreover, a record like Once Upon a Time is an ideal representation of pure power metal sans any level of gimmickry this delightfully crackers metal off-shoot typically looooves throwing into listeners’ faces. No goofy outfits, no dorky pseudonyms, no 8-bit solos, no dips into pop, death or black metal—just pure power that’s dramatic without being overly schmaltzy, and melodic as the day is long. Of course this ain’t exactly breaking news for anyone already familiar with Excalion, as all their albums manage to hit the target dead on or around the center in a very similar manner, but album number six finds the Finns in particularly excellent form. NO SMILES, but we are indeed very happy.

Style: Pure Power
Location: Finland
Sample: “Soulbound”
Label: Scarlet Records
Release date: March 24
Bandcamp: Galderia

7. Triumpher – Storming the Walls

 [Cover artwork: Antonis Vailas / Mars Triumph / Tomb Arts]

If you prefer your power built on a steely USPM foundation similar to what Manowar established decades ago, particularly the extraordinary strength of a record like Kings of Metal and facets of The Triumph of Steel, you simply will not do yourself a greater favor in 2023 than picking up Triumpher’s stunning debut, Storming the Walls. Here’s what my LR chum Danhammer had to say about the album in his review earlier this year:

“Formed in Athens, Greece, by vocalist and bassist Antonis Vailas (aka Mars Triumph) in 2019, Storming the Walls is Triumpher’s first release of any kind, which makes its staggering level of quality even more unbelievable. No demo, no EP, no ‘pretty good’ first album that shows future promise, just POW! and straight into the stratosphere.”

The record absolutely did drop out of seemingly nowhere, which definitely adds to the fun, but even more impressive is the way Antonis Vailas manages to fold in more extreme elements and varied Bathory-isms without ever fully losing sight of the original USPM crux. Storming the Walls is wonderfully dark, epic, expansive, melodic, chewy and of course powerful, and holy hell does it ever gain more and more momentum as the album winningly gallops along.

Style: ManopoweR
Location: Greece
Sample: “The Thunderer”
Label: Independent / Floga Records
Release date: March 8
Bandcamp: Triumpher

6. Angra – Cycles of Pain

[Cover Artwork: Erick Pasqua]

Is it fair to say long-time Angra fans are the most critical of the band’s current Lione years? Personally, I happen to spread an abundance of love across all Angra eras, with my all-time favorite recording landing with the Falaschi-fronted Temple of Shadows. But I also loved 2018’s Ømni, so news of its follow-up (and initial venture with Atomic Fire Records) certainly inspired yours truly to bounce off the walls like an overly excited blockhead.

If you also found yourself happily basking in the warmth of Ømni’s potent light, it stands to reason that full-length number ten, Cycles of Pain, will fall similarly in your favor. There is a difference, though, and that difference is mostly centered on the fact that Cycles of Pain manages the goods with a moderately lighter footprint, despite coming out of the gates with the stormy one-two punch of “Ride Into the Storm” and “Dead Man On Display.” Once we hit track four, though, things get… well, maybe “gentle” takes things a little too far? Just know it favors calmer seas with a stronger emphasis placed on melodic, equable sailing. But if you’ve come to love Bittencourt’s easily recognizable fretwork and also enjoy getting lost in Lione’s dulcet voice, the formula works beautifully. Sure, we love it when Angra strikes with the sort of BIG ruckus a song like “War Horns” delivers, but sometimes you just gotta MELLOW OUT, MANNNNN.

Style: Progressive Power
Location: Brazil
Sample: “Tide of Changes”
Label: Atomic Fire Records
Release date: November 3
Band website: Angra

5. Anthem – Crimson & Jet Black

[Cover artwork: Kenichi Suzuki]

I’ve had my eyes and ears pinned on the Japanese metal scene from the very first time I discovered Thunder in the East back in the mid ‘80s. The years that followed featured moderately rare used cassette finds from the likes of Dead End, E-Z-O, X-Japan and Genocide, but I sadly never came across Anthem until much later—eventually stumbling across a used LP copy of the band’s debut in, of all places, a new & used bookstore. That was it, though; I never came across another Anthem release out in the wild.

Now, say what you will concerning the flaws of most every streaming service, that realm has absolutely opened the floodgates for exploring (and in this case, catching up with) hard to track down artists, which eventually lead to my discovery that Anthem has spent a great many years being one of the more consistent bands in metal. With their TWENTIETH full-length Crimson & Jet Black, however, Anthem has mined 52 minutes of precious ore that should not be missed. Yes, the record strides the line with pure heavy metal, but there are enough elements of both USPM and its Euro cousin in the modern era of the band to gain entry to WHTP.

HIGH ENERGY is the primary objective here, and I will state with utmost conviction that inside a realm populated by old-school rockers in their 50s and 60s still cranking out albums, you will not find a more electrifying release to top Crimson & Jet Black. The whole band hits at 110% from top to bottom, but vocalist Yukio Morikawa and guitarist Akio Shimizu are particularly potent, stacking endless hooks and molten leads to the absolute tippy-top of the highest rafters. The very best news, though? Anthem has recently been announced as headliners for next year’s Mad With Power fest in Madison, Wisconsin. See you there?

Style: Heavy / Power
Location: Japan
Sample: “Blood Brothers”
Label: Ward Records
Release date: April 21
Band website: Anthem

4. Lovebites – Judgement Day

[Cover artwork: Carlos Vincente León and David Mallo]

No other band in power metal is more relentless with explosive victories right now than Japan’s Lovebites. Sure, this is only the band’s fourth full-length, but these five heroes deliver such a ludicrous amount of virtuosic energy across each of their releases that I’m actually a little surprised they haven’t literally detonated whilst forging their incendiary brand of intense power metal. I guess one could dock them a couple points for not really experimenting very much with their formula over the years, but that’s only if you happen to be a complete ramrod who purposely dodges FUN. Otherwise, why would anyone of sound mind and a fondness of power ever turn their nose up at Judgement Day, a record that packs so much force across its 53 minutes that it could easily challenge the Large Hadron Collider in a head-to-head battle for megawatt supremacy. If you’re not ready to crush the day at the behest of an endless amount of Lovebitten riffs, destructive leads, sirenic wails, big swingin’ hooks, and a level of combustible strength that should likely require some form of warning sticker slapped on the packaging, do not entry here, ye false lord.

Style: EXPLOSIVE Power
Location: Japan
Sample: “Stand and Deliver (Shoot ‘Em Down)”
Label: Victor
Release date: February 22
Band website: Lovebites

3. Frozen Crown – Call of the North

[Cover artwork: Federico Mondelli]

I’m really not one to get overly concerned or finicky about the more ridiculous face of power metal, but I do appreciate it when bands sidestep their local theater’s Peter Pan wardrobe loft for promo pics, stage wear, and overall aesthetic fodder. Then again, we are a dramatic people, we power metallers, and most anything that adds to the escape is pretty much fair game in our realm. That being said, few would argue that there appears to be a shortage of power metal bands that just, you know, let the actual power metal do all the talking, which is precisely what Italy’s Frozen Crown has done prrrrrretty much since their inception and continues to do this year with their fourth full-length.

Need a swift kick in the hams today? Throw Call of the North on and totally whoop any and all obstacles to the dirt for the entire 53-minute ride. Holy hell, these guys LOVE riffs, they LOVE lightning leads, they LOVE galloping at full speed, and they LOVE fueling your heart with the energy of 100 suns. I would say referring to them as Italy’s cousins to Unleash the Archers is a fairly accurate comparison, but where them Canadians have clearly opted to incorporate pop elements, Frozen Crown continues to barrel through all walls with unadulterated P.O.W.E.R.

Might Call of the North stand as the band’s best to date? Signs point very powerfully to YES.

Style: Aggressive Power
Location: Italy
Sample: “Fire in the Sky”
Label: Scarlet Records
Release date: March 10
Bandcamp: Frozen Crown

2. Twilight Force – At the Heart of Wintervale

[Cover artwork: Kerem Beyit]

I already wrote quite a few words concerning the two top spots in this year’s festivities, including a song-by-song account of this, the long-awaited fourth full-length from Sweden’s lords of LARP, Twilight Force. I could kick around a bunch of new words right here and now, but the following snippet from that write-up way back in January still manages to do the trick in terms of summarizing what I consider to be the key strengths behind At the Heart of Wintervale:

“No one expects Twilight Force to break a four year silence with something that sounds like a lost Type O Negative record. You pay the price of admission because you’re fairly sure what to expect: buoyant, charged, epic symphonic power metal that’s as chained to clichéd dragon / wizard / warrior elements as one could possibly get without being held captive in a pit below George R.R. Martin’s palatial estate. Despite Twilight Force’s unyielding trajectory, however, they still really know how to deliver the goods, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the years since 2019’s Dawn of the Dragonstar weren’t exactly spent twiddling thumbs and binging Judge Judy with every inch of their free time. Twilight Force really enjoys doing what they do best (thank goodness), and with At the Heart of Wintervale, they’ve found a surprisingly succinct and powerful way to do it better than 97% of the doppelgängers attempting a similar feat.”

Beyond that, and with the added benefit of an additional ten months of assimilation, I would go one step further and remark that one of the single greatest advantages behind At the Heart of Wintervale is rooted in the fact that the bombastic music at its crux encapsulates its explosive cover artwork perfectly. What more could a fan of extremely pure and virtuous power ever hope to encounter?

Style: Symphonic LARPower
Location: Sweden
Sample: “Sunlight Knight”
Label: Atomic Fire Records
Release date: January 20
Bandcamp: Twilight Force

1. Sacred Outcry – Towers of Gold

[Cover artwork: George Apalodimas]

Shortly after Towers of Gold dropped, the album quickly heaped five 100% reviews in a row via everyone’s favorite permanently open browser tab, Metal “Encyclopaedia Metallum” Archives. I, too, gave the album very high marks in a write-up back in early May, and if I had to don my instructor’s robe and attach a percentage to the record now seven months later, I think I’d probably give it a very virtuous 95%, plus a snazzy Gandalf sticker to make the album even more worthy of landing on the front of every fridge. It would be hilarious if you found some way to interpret a 95% score as an insult, as I assure you that is not at all my intention. Point being—and perhaps you’ll just have to trust me that this is good news—whilst Towers of Gold clearly stands at the top of the heap as a tremendous and wondrous album, there’s still wiggle room for advancement, and given the fact that Sacred Outcry is only getting started, I think that’s pretty exciting.

Does it seem like I just whizzed in everyone’s double matcha caramel mocha bubble tea? If so, here’s a couple tastes of the praise I hurled at this great album seven months ago:

“Heiman has long been celebrated for his remarkable 6 octave range and insanely acrobatic high notes, but there’s an unmistakable soulful sadness in his delivery as well, and that’s very well suited for Sacred Outcry’s brand of dark power metal and the emotional narrative at the heart of this release. So, while it remains to be seen if anyone ever (strong emphasis on that word) manages to pull off the vocal stunt-flying Heiman achieved 20-plus years ago through Lost Horizon, the stormy temperament and melodic sophistication heard throughout Towers of Gold carries his voice to new heights.”


“Warlord continues to be a principal guiding star here, as Towers of Gold is similarly focused on a more… unhurried stride that underscores fluid melody and soaring vocals. The midpoint of the record emphasizes this face of the band most candidly, with “Symphony of the Night,” the brief and elegant “A Midnight Reverie,” and “The Sweet Wine of Betrayal” all accenting the way an incomparable record such as Deliver Us gradually dips and sways between mellowness and heaviness without ever losing sight of a notably poignant melody and lifting solo. Bill Tsamis always had a film score composer’s mindset when it came to his songwriting, and [George] Apalodimas certainly follows suit, adding just the right amount of stormy orchestration to the corners to give Towers of Gold an added edge of drama that damn-near borders on something as darkly triumphant as classic Emperor.”

Okay, back to the opening point. Complicating matters further—and something I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to explain without coming across as a totally pedantic wanker—is the fact that I’d be comfortable throwing Towers of Gold a pure 10 on a scale of 1-10, because that smaller scale accounts for fewer details compared to a percentage option. King Diamond’s Abigail? The rarest of rare albums that gets a 10/10 AND a clean 100%. Powerslave? A 10/10 record with a 97% total score, thanks to “Back in the Village.” I know, I know, I’m even starting annoying myself. Bottom line: Towers of Gold is a wonderful 10/10 album that scores around a 95% because there’s still room for advancement in the details. And if there’s any band with the power to push things to that next level, I put my trust in the current interpretation of Sacred Outcry. In other words, please-please stay, Daniel Heiman.

That being said, I am extremely pleased to witness Towers of Gold being spoken of in such high regard throughout the underground as a totally perfect power metal record, because that means above all else the work has achieved three crucial goals: 1) It makes people really excited, 2) It makes people really happy, and 3) It connects with listeners on a visceral and very emotional level. That, my friends, is the reason why the record stands as the clear winner for the top spot in this year’s edition of WHTP, and that’s the sort of thing that eclipses any sort of score. Towers of Gold connected, lifted and soared harder, higher and further than any other power or power-related release in 2023, and the fact that the band has the potential to become even better in the future adds the perfect amount of extra thrill to the ultimate Sacred Outcry equation.

Style: 100% Power
Location: Greece
Sample: “The Voyage”
Label: No Remorse Records
Release date: May 19
Bandcamp: Sacred Outcry



2023’s Full List of 210 Competitors (Bandcamp links provided where applicable):

Ad Infinitum – Chapter III – Downfall
Adrian Benegas – Arcanvm – El mantra secreto de los espíritus
Against Myself – Tides of Insanity
Alicetopia – In Dreams
All for Metal – Legends
Allegiance Reign – Way of the Warrior EP
Amusie – Heavy Metal Doctors
Ancient Trail – The Ancient Force
Angra – Cycles of Pain
Angus McSix – Angus McSix and the Sword of Power
Anthem – Crimson & Jet Black
Anubis Gate – Interference
Apostolica – Animae Haeretica
Arcana Opera – L’orizzonte degli eventi
Archon Angel – II
Arendel – Sin Aliento
Ark Royal – Clymenus
Ars Nova – Abrazando las sombras
Art Nation – Inception
Ascension – Under the Veil of Madness
Ashrain – Requiem Reloaded
Asylum Pyre – Call Me Inhuman – The Sun – The Fight – Part 5
Avalanch – El dilema de los dioses
Avaland – The Legend of the Storyteller
Axenstar – Chapter VIII
Battle Born – Blood, Fire, Magic and Steel
Beyond the Black – Beyond the Black
Black & Damned – Servants of the Devil
Bloodbound – Tales from the North
Born in Exile – Major Arcana
Burning Sun – Wake of Ashes
Burning Witches – The Dark Tower
By Fire & Sword – Glory
Carpe Diem – In Nomine Honoris
Category VI – Firecry
Cathalepsy – Blood and Steel
Chamelion – Legends & Lores
Chaos Control – The Legacy Within
Chris Boltendahl’s Steelhammer – Reborn in Flames
Crom – The Era of Darkness
Crowne – Operation Phoenix
Daeria – Morfeo
Dark Legion – Hermetica Draconis
Dark Sarah – Attack of Orym
Dark Shadow – Chapter One
Darklon – The Redeemer
Delain – Dark Waters
Derdian – New Era Part IV – Resurgence
Dispyria – The Story of Marion Dust
Diviner – Avaton
Don’t Drop the Sword – Age of Heroes
Draconicon – Pestilence
Dragón de Piedra – Herederos del pecado
Dragonheart – The Dragonheart’s Tale
Dreamyth – Aletheia
Dyecrest – Once I Had a Heart
Dying Phoenix – Winter is Coming
Edu Falaschi – Eldorado
Elvenking – Reader of the Runes – Rapture
Elvenpath – Faith Through the Fire
Emerald Rage – Valkyrie
Enemy of Reality – Where Truth May Lie
Eternal Voyager – Darkened Times
Everdawn – Venera
Eunomia – The Chronicles of Eunomia Part II
Eufory – Fifth Dimension
Evermore – In Memorium
Excalion – Once Upon a Time
Fairytale – Army of Ghosts
Fifth Angel – When Angels Kill
Flidais – Pathogen
Forever Storm – Од пепела до вечности
Fortress Under Siege – Envy
Fraise – The Fifth Sun, Pt. II
Frozen Crown – Call of the North
Frozen Land – Out of the Dark
Full Messenger – Eternal Until It’s Over
Galneryus – Between Dread and Valor
Garrett Campbell – Skies of Dragonlight
Gasnet Svet – Symphonia Vitiorum
Gladiator – Genesis EP
Gloryhammer – Return to the Kingdom of Fife
Great Master – Montecristo
Haunted Gods – Haunted Gods
Heaven’s Guardian – Chronos
Heimdall – Hephaestus
Hollentor – Divergency
Honor Bound – Heart of a Warrior EP
Hydra – Láncra verve
Ignited – Cradle of the Wicked
Ignition – Vengeance
Immortal Guardian – Unite and Conquer
Immortalizer – Born for Metal
Induction – The Power of Power EP
Iron Savior – Firestar
Jag Panzer – The Hallowed
Kamelot – The Awakening
Kardinal Sin – S.A.L.I.G.I.A.
Knights of Blood – El Juicio de Osiris
Kondzik – Heroes of the Past
Lancer – Tempest
Legado de una Tragedia – Aquelarre de sombras
Lovebites – Judgement Day
Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall – Hunt the Flame
Majestic Ryte – Majestic Ryte
Majesty – Back to Attack
Majustice – Ancestral Recall
Marauder – Metal Constructions VII
Marcel Verand Memorias de un Despertar – Reclama tu libertad
Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – Battle of Ice
Mari Hamada – Soar
Mesopotamia – Between Two Worlds
Metalmind – Without Return
Mistyfica – Century Tales
Moravius – Moravian Bravery
Mystfall – Celestial Vision
Mystic Prophecy – Hellriot
Nacarbide – The Identity of Discord
Nanowar of Steel – Dislike to False Metal
Narnia – Ghost Town
Neobabel – Survival Strategy
Night Legion – Fight or Fall
Norwald – The Spark of Freedom EP
Nova Skellis – Life Amongst the Damned
Noveria – The Gates of the Underworld
Octavus Lupus – Octavus Lupus
Odinfist – Remade in Steel
Opera Magna – Of Love and Other Demons
Owlbear – Chaos to the Realm
Palantír – Nightmare Opus EP
Percival – The Seventh Seal
Phoebus the Knight – The Cursed Lord EP
Phoebus the Knight – Ferrum Fero Ferro Feror
Powerstorm – Act II
Prime Creation – Tell Freedom I Said Hello
Project: Roenwolfe – Project: Roenwolfe
Prydain – The Gates of Aramore
Psychework – Spark of Hope
Pyramaze – Bloodlines
Ravenlight – Immemorial
Reasons Behind – Architecture of an Ego
Reino de Hades – Siete runas
Reveal – Still Alive
Revoltons – Celestial Violence
Rexoria – Imperial Dawn
Rhegia – The Battle of Deliverance
Rigorious – Night of Retribution
Rosslyn – Totentanz
Ruinthrone – The Unconscious Mind of Arda
Sacred Outcry – Towers of Gold
Sacro – The End
Saint Deamon – League of the Serpent
Savage Blood – Wheel of Time
ScreaMachine – Church of the Scream
Sculforge – Intergalactic Battle Tunes…
Secret Sphere – Blackened Heartbeat
Sélidor – Ecos del abismo
Serenity – Nemesis AD
Severed Angel – Severed Angel
Sex Machineguns – 地獄の暴走列車
ShadowStrike – Traveler’s Tales
Signum Regis – Undivided
Silverbones – Brethren of the Coast
Silver Bullet – Shadowfall
Sinheresy – Event Horizon
Skiltron – Bruadarach
Skyblazer – Infinity’s Wings
Steelrath – Prayers of War
Stormage – Ashes of Doom
Stray Gods – Olympus
Tetsuya Mitani – Anamorphosis
The Giant Void – Abyssal
The Lightbringer of Sweden – The New World Order
The Privateer – Kingdom of Exiles
The Silent Rage – Nuances of Life
The Spruce Moose – Pyramid Scheme
The Unity – The Hellish Joyride
Theocracy – Mosaic
Thomas Carlsen’s Transmission – A Brave Horizon
Thorium – Extraordinary Journeys Pt. I
Thriller – Street Metal
Thunderforge – Vanquish the Sun
Thunderspell – Thunderwarriors
Tombstone – Angel of Blood
Tower Hill – Deathstalker
Tragedian – Master of Illusions
Trayax – On the Edge of Madness
Triumpher – Storming the Walls
Twilight Force – At the Heart of Wintervale
Valentino Francavilla – Midnight Dreams
Vanish – A Hint of Solace
Velvet Viper – Nothing Compares to Metal
Vengeant – Mana EP
Victor Smolski – Guitar Force
Virgin Steele – The Passion of Dionysus
Vision Denied – Age of the Machine
Vision of Choice – Second Sight
Vocifer – Jurupary
Walk with Titans – Olympian Dystopia
WarWolf – The Apocalyptic Waltz
War Dance – Sons of Thunder
Wichita Falls – When Hell Comes to Town
Winterage – Nekyia
Winterstorm – Everfrost
Withering Scorn – Prophets of Demise
Wonders – Beyond the Mirage
Xandria – The Wonders Still Awaiting
Zeke Deux – Vampire Tale EP
Вейя – Разнотравье EP
Одиссея – Эра героев



Posted by Captain

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; That was my skull!

  1. Thanks Captain! Every year I look forward to these. I’m no power metal expert but that Sacred Outcry is my favorite too, might be my favorite metal album of the year across all the different genres.


  2. This list is full of absolute joy. Your love for everything power is infectious and my ears are loving it. Thank you for sharing and celebrating such a diverse, global bunch of bands.


  3. Horrible Waterfowl December 5, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    Skyblazer, which is probably going to win my own personal irrelevant AOTY, being snubbed harms me so. There is nothing I’ve listened to this year that’s made me feel a fourth of what “Shine Forth” can do to me on a cloudy day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.