Power metal is a genre that is the butt of many a joke within the metal scene. True, it’s kitsch, it’s somewhat formulaic and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. When an album, and by extension an artist, fully engages with it however, it’s pretty damn entertaining. And Swedish quintet Dynazty do just that.
There are two things that arguably set power metal apart from the myriad other metal genres and sub-genres: vocals and solos. Dynazty’sz main vocalis Nils Molin throws out some pretty incredible vocal lines throughout the course of Renatus, pitching himself somewhere between Bruce Dickinson and the late great Dio. His best turns come on the one – two punch combo of ‘Dawn of your Creation’ and ‘The Northern End’, with the former featuring a killer Dio style vocal line and the latter some really lush layering and harmonies.
On the solo side of things, both Rob Love Magnusson and Mike Laver trade licks with dizzying speed and dexterity, showing off some burly sweep picking chops, with the squealing solo on ‘Cross The Line’ and the excellent fret work on ‘Run Amok’ standing head and shoulders above the rest. What Dynazty excel at is an excellent rhythmic control, an element that is often entirely absent in the melodically focused world of power metal. George Egg’s double bass work is tight and has some excelent flair, and the whole band lock in for some excellent chugging rhythms that keep things rolling along.
Sadly, the album is patchy at best. Perhaps the best track, ‘Starlight’ kicks off with a sample of Hannibal Lecter before cutting into a fantastically sleazy rhythm with an excellent stand out bass riff. Despite all the plus points, the cardinal sins of the genre are still firmly in place with Renatus. The keyboard tones are either entirely awesome and complementary, or are horribly jarring and draw too much focus. The lyrics are at time cringe-worthy, the solos seem overabundant, the songs often overly long and unable to sufficiently stand out from one another.
But if you can put all the kitsch behind you, and you don’t take your metal too seriously, this is a good album. If you’re just starting out with power metal, or you can’t stand the genre, give Renatus a whirl. You could do much, much worse.