Domine has received a fair amount of attention for their 1997 debut Champion Eternal and their subsequent albums, many of which also cover the subject of Elric of Melnibone. Elric is the subject of Michael Moorcock’s epic fantasy saga which began in the 1960s and became an exceptionally popular subject for 80s metal, likely due to the character’s pale skin, self reflectiveness, and, nihilism- qualities to which many metal fans could relate. Moorcock’s own love of rock music, which went as far as to actively work with bands like Deep Purple and Hawkwind, probably made his works even more accessible to those desiring to make metal music. While Domine was far from the first metal band to utilize his works as a source of inspiration, it was one of the first not from the UK or the US, and thus something of a novelty, to an extent at least.
Since the conception of metal, myriads of bands have dwindled in obscurity, taking it upon themselves to release only a few songs over one or two demos or singles before vanishing from the face of the earth, never to return again. We generally tend to polarize these bands based on the fact that they have so little material that it’s not likely to be diverse enough to facilitate a mixed opinion; thus the band is either thrown out the window as complete garbage, or elevated to a legendary status of a band untarnished by mediocrity, and, if they somehow reformed today, could certainly do no wrong. Enchanter falls into the latter category, releasing only eight songs over the span of two demos and a single in the late 1980s, but in this case, every song was absolutely killer, making for a spectacular compilation album and thrusting the band, at least in my mind, onto a pedestal of the grandest heights.
1990 was a pretty strange time for epic heavy metal, especially for Greece. The early 80s saw the beginning of epic metal, with releases from the grandfathers, Manilla Road and Manowar, as well as some lesser known acts, such as Legend and Dark Quarterer. The mid-to-late 80s saw a small wave of derivative acts, such as Baron Steele, Valkyrie, and Martiria, spring up in various locations (mostly from the U.S. and Italy). The movement would start to pick up again in the early-to-mid 90s, with acts like Longings Past, Wotan, and Crush, but ’89-’92 was a pretty barren time for Mediterranean epic metal; the founding fathers were mostly broken up, and the second wave hadn’t taken off yet for the most part. Enter Greece’s Ageless Wisdom.
Epic metal has grown to be marginally popular in recent years, at least in countries like Italy and Greece, who have adopted a movement that barely even existed in the United States, playing in the style of Manilla Road and Manowar, who, aside from a couple of incredibly obscure acts (Longings Past, Stormbringer) were the only ones playing it for a long time. However, other examples of epic heavy metal, though few and far between, did pop up occasionally during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Ageless Wisdom put out a demo in 1990, Wotan had one in ’93 – but Valkyrie, from the Netherlands of all places, were one of the first to try and capitalize on the sound that the epic metal grandfathers – in this case, Manowar, not Manilla Road – first brought to the world.
Epic Speed Metal from Germany. I first found Final Prophecy close to 10 years ago and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me. I was just browsing YouTube like I normally did back then trying to find cool new releases when I happened to stumble across a lone Final Prophecy track – “Golgotha (Pray for Forgiveness)”. Read more…