I�ve never been a real power metal fan. My only passing interest is that I am going to patent the name �Dragonsex� to form my own mock power metal band. That being said, if forced at gun point, I might listen to Rhapsody (of Fire), Thy Majestie and Elvenking. However, I can now add Finland�s Kiuas to that list after my first exposure to them.
With three well received full length albums under their belt, Kiuas are slightly heavier than your typically hair blowing in the wind, open shirt, dragons and wizards power metal. Much like Elvenking (mainly debut, Heathenreel), there�s a solid thrash undercurrent, a hint of melodic death metal (occasional growls) and an overall aesthetic that presents a far less cheesy and �widdly� (i.e. Dragonforce) take on power metal.
The strength of Kiuas is two fold; first, is singer Ilja Jalkanen with his more varied, less operatic, earthy voice that delivers stirring, rousing, anthemic tones that will get you singing along subconsciously. Second, the actual songs, while firmly rooted in the mix of galloping, synth licked, majestic high octane numbers and a few expected heartfelt ballads, just come across as more powerful, gritty and less Dungeons and Dragons than their peers. Even the stouter guitar tone and general production is more in line with a Gothenburg sound.
Starting with the kickass opener �The Decaying Doctrine�, armed with arguably one of the best choruses of recent memory, as well as the equally awesome chorus of �Conqueror� on through the sterner title track, the death metal vocals and middle eastern vibe of �To Excel and Ascend�, yet another stirring chorus of �Black Rose Withered�, ballad �After the Storm�, high octane thrasher �Of Sacrifice, Loss And Reward�, killer piano work of �The Summoning� and epic choral closer �The Wanderer�s Lamentation�, every track is simply a strong, memorable track that cries for open windows, air guitar and fist pumping.
The end result is a highly enjoyable, high quality album of pure metal with far more than the usual power metal appeal and a band that looks to be on the cusp of stardom outside of their native country.