Galneryus - The Flag of Punishment (2003) - 4.5/5
Not the most unique of European-style power metal bands, as you can hear lots of Sonata Arctica, Dark Moor, Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire and Stratovarius and so on in their sound, but they pull off power metal better than most others.
The riffs aren't that agressive or heavy, but make up for it by being lethally melodic and creative for power metal. They aren't sticking to the same riff-set for the whole song; no, they vary it up a bit. Guiar leads are nice as well and mesh with the riffs great, as well as having the same tasty variety. They also manage to refrain from getting to wanky, another big plus.
The drumming has a lot of the type of fast, double-bass heavy, speed metal-ish drum work we've all come to expect from Euro-power, but the man behind the sticks fortunately doesn't just blast away and keeps things interesting through tastefully used drum rolls and actually just resorting to standard heavy metal drumming (no crazy machine-gun double-pedal/bass)
Being a Japanese band, you can clearly hear the singer's noticeable accent, but it only adds to the band's charm, and he can maintain a high, yet powerful range, unlike bands like Sonata Arctica. His pronounciation is sorta awkward though.
Slap on a great production, and you've got one the best power metal efforts of our modern day.
By J. Chan