Album Title: Elements Of Power
Label: Scarlet Records
Date of Release: 18 February 2022
Veonity’s 2018 release, ‘Legend Of The Starborn’ was a bit of a power metal corker scoring highly on this very website. 2020’s follow-up, ‘Sorrows’ wasn’t bad either, but it’s fair to say that they did throw a bit of a curveball at us. Whilst ‘Legend…’ was epic European melodic power metal with elements of Rhapsody, Stratovarius, and Hammerfall all thrown into an intoxicating melting pot, ‘Sorrows’ was heavier, darker, and with a gritty lyrical content based more on the real world. No dragons, swords, or fantasy to be heard as the Swedes seemed to take their music in a slightly different direction. It was pretty good, but not as good as ‘Legend…’ in my opinion.
The question begged itself: what would the next Veonity album sound like? The answer has now arrived in the shape of ‘Elements Of Power’. Immediately, the front cover gives us a clue, as it harkens back far more to previous records; it is striking and crucially, it appears to be more fantasy-themed again. Could it be that the quartet have decided the real world really isn’t for them after all?
The answer is a big, unequivocal ‘yes’, and I can’t say I blame them to be honest. Forget Covid, forget soaring prices for just about everything, and forget the threat of war, ‘Elements Of Power’ is a full-on concept record about a boy who finally defeats evil and it well and truly sees Veonity firing on all cylinders. The press release describes the music as ‘classical ultra-power metal’, whatever that means. If it means thoroughly engaging and enjoyable power metal with high energy, catchy melodies, and big choruses, then I will agree with the description. Once this little beauty gets its claws into you, it is hard to extract them, I can tell you.
And those sharp claws are extended and ready right from the very first moment, and the intoxicating opening track, ‘Beyond The Realm Of Reality’. The guitars of Anders Sköld and Samuel Lundström immediately produce a fast, energetic cascade of vibrant notes, upon which the rhythm section builds with enthusiasm, both drummer Joel Kollberg and bassist Kristoffer Lidre working in tandem to create a furious tempo. And then comes the change of pace to an irresistible power metal gallop, whilst the vocals of Sköld begin to tell the tale of the young boy at the centre of the story. The ensuing chorus is glorious too, full of bombast and strong, catchy hooks. Dragonforce, Rhapsody, and a plethora of other power metal greats can be heard within this opening salvo, as Veonity signal with intent that they’re here to put on a real show.
The urgency of the opener continues straight into ‘The Surge’ as Veonity feel like a band possessed. Again, the tempo is high, and it continues pretty much throughout, with neoclassical guitar histrionics and swift solos from Lundström catching the ear almost as much as the bold keyboard solo that’s preposterous but brilliant. And yes, the chorus is great, led by the soaring vocals of Sköld perfectly.
‘Altar Of Power’ is a darker composition, slightly slower in tempo, but no less charismatic. The riffs are thunderous during a surprisingly groove verse before the parallels to the likes of Sabaton or Hammerfall emerge in a chorus that features multi-layered choral vocals that act like a battle cry. If you’re not punching your fist in the air as it hits, then I’ll be shocked.
As the superbly epic, cinematic intro ushers in the title track, I catch my breath whilst shaking my head, wondering how my very first listen didn’t have me instantly falling in love with ‘Elements Of Power’. A brooding start to the first verse allows the bass to come to the fore, much more than just a rumbling afterthought, dancing with vibrancy. Within the ensuing majestic chorus, Sköld gives one of his best performances behind the mic, but I just love the way that everything has been turned up to eleven, without sacrificing any of the musicality or potency of the music. The synths bathe the song with cinematic splendour, the lead guitar work is full of fire, the drums batter incessantly, and the whole thing is a masterclass in this kind of melodic power metal.
However good the music is, there will always be those who will bemoan the fact that power metal of this ilk is a touch preposterous and cheesy. To them I say: ‘yes, and?’ What’s wrong with a bit of fun and imagination, especially when the reality we’re faced with currently is so messed up? I say, ‘bring it on!’
‘Facing the Water’ is another fabulous song within an album full of rich pickings. The drum solo intro and ensuing guitar riff is intense and very powerful, as is much of the remainder of the song, complete with more galloping rhythms and rousing chorus. However, the key moment arrives just after the half-way point, where everything drops away so that Sköld sings alongside a minimalist soundscape comprised of synths, bass and a very sparse drumbeat. It is laced with emotion, and adds something different to the mix, something that captures my attention and intrigues me.
There are many other great moments littered throughout and I just love this record. Firstly, I love the fact that Veonity have gone back to an approach much more similar to ‘Legend Of The Starborn’, an approach that suits the Swedes much more comfortably as far as I am concerned. I also love the way in which the quartet are on the attack from the beginning, leaving absolutely nothing at the door; they have chosen their musical direction, and commit to it throughout. Of course, there’s an element of cheese to the concept story, but again, I love the sense of fun and escapism is provides. And, whilst there is a sense of pompous bombast to the music, the strength of the material means that it all works. I get caught up in the melodies, in the gloriously rousing choruses, and when I reach the end of ‘Elements Of Power’, I want to start all over again. And if you want to be transported to a different reality, just for a short while, whilst being assaulted by high quality, professional European power metal, I suggest you join me by giving Veonity your immediate attention.
The Score of Much Metal: 92%
Check out my other 2022 reviews here:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: