Powers Court – Nine Kinds of Hell – 4/5
A review I’ve been putting off for a while, simply because its left a bit stumped as to how to start. This is certainly power metal, but feels like a breed apart from the rest, not being different enough that it feels out of place but with certainly a unique way of performing. Wrought with both positive and negative aspects, this is likely to be a release you either can’t imagine going back from, or can’t see what makes them special to begin with.
None of the instrumentation is done poorly; the drums succeed in coming through loud and clear, with what I can only really describe as proficient abrupt changes. Rather than a gradual change, he is more likely to become instantly silent, or suddenly shift tempo without warning, and whilst impressive at times, at others feels too separated. The bass exists, but in the relatively raw production feels a little left out compared to the guitars, which – much like the drumming – comes with rapid shifts in style. In one instant it could be fairly aggressive Heavy/Power-esque riffing, then it’ll suddenly and briefly transcend into rather technical neo-classical shredding, before returning once more. This in itself doesn’t cause me trouble – both are done well – but like the drums, the transitions felt disjointed at times.
The vocals again, like the drums and the guitars show tremendous versatility. The range this vocalist is capable of is incredible, and performs with a perceived ease, rapidly going from the highest soprano note to a deeper almost doom-like deep tone, even adding rasps here and there, and combined with the power she can wield, from a technical standpoint she is more than impressive. Unfortunately, the frequent rapid transitions in pitch, whilst impeccable, feel dissonant and erratic at times, and presented a problem for me.
This is not your standard power metal album, this is an incredibly staccato piece, filled with sudden stops and starts, rapid changes in pitch and tempo, and whilst lending a unique tone, can often end up feeling too dissonant, losing too much melody. This is one you’ll either love or hate, but either way, their creativity, diversity and proficiency is unquestionable.
Highlights: The Tragedy of Faust, Agnostica