Welcome to Day 8 of my ‘Album of the Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown’. We’re into the second week now, and things are getting more intense all the time…or is that just me? I really hope that you’re enjoying this year’s series, regardless of whether you are a long term follower, or have stumbled onto my website by pure accident for the first time. If it’s the latter, I hope you stick around and follow this series to its conclusion just before Christmas hits.
I appreciate long term readers will know this by now, but for those of you who aren’t familiar, you can find links to all of this year’s posts at the foot of this post, as well as links to previous years should you be something of a sadist!
It’s also worth reiterating that the numbering structure between 30-16 is a touch arbitrary – all of these albums deserve a place on the list and I number them just so that I can bring you a new album every day.
With all of that out of the way, I feel I can safely move on to the main event. So here goes nothing. Strap yourselves in as I reveal my next pick…
The Mad King
Release Date: 5 March 2021
Score Of Much Metal: 94%
In a year where Helloween released their most highly anticipated and highly lauded album since the ‘Keeper…’ years, it may be a bold, arguably unpopular opinion to refer to ‘The Mad King’ as my favourite power metal album of 2021. However, Warrior Path have one thing that Helloween don’t: Daniel Heiman. As great as Andi Deris and Kai Hansen are, Heiman is special, other worldly. And he alone can transform ‘good’ into ‘incredible’.
‘The Mad King’ wasn’t an instant home run with me; in fact, it took quite a while for it to hit home. I initially just wanted Warrior Path to be Lost Horizon I think. But when I ditched this hope, it became one of the most infectious records of the year for me and definitely the best power metal release of 2021. And what’s more, I still hold firm with that opinion.
When all you sometimes want is for the heavy metal to plant a great big smile on your face and get you headbanging, ‘The Mad King’ is perfect. Warrior Path make me very happy indeed, and show that they understand what the essence of heavy metal really is. Dual harmonies, heavy guitars, pounding rhythms, feel-good anthems, and the voice of a Demigod…what more are you really looking for?
What I wrote at the time:
“I have spent a great deal of time listening to this sophomore album and the more I listen, the more I seem to like it; the hooks in the choruses lodge themselves deeper in my brain, the Maiden-esque dual guitar harmonies become more infectious and pleasing to the ear, the solos create a bigger impact, and the riffs carry with them a greater sense of power and urgency. The whole thing just feels as if it gets more and more epic as time goes by.
And then there are the vocals. Oh my, how I truly have missed Mr Heiman. The guy is one of the most talented metal vocalists currently in action and he adds another dimension to the music upon which he sings…
This is a brilliant album that I love and which is becoming more and more difficult to remove from my playlist…when you add on a really nice production job from Bob Katsionis that feels warm, inviting and smooth, there’s a clear argument to suggest that we have a new contender for power metal album of 2021. ‘The Mad King’ will not disappoint in any shape or form. “
Read the full review here.
The list this year so far…
Also, if you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here: