“Of Gods and Men”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Oh my God, here they are again! After more than a decade, MAELSTROM have returned. And they are more over the top than ever! This band has its roots in the 80’s, but I first encountered them in the first decade of the 21st century with their EP “It Was Predestined”. That offered 3 songs of the fruitiest, most overwrought power metal I have ever heard.

Well, it was just a warm up for “Of Gods and Men”! These guys sure have a leisurely recording schedule, to say the least. Unbelievably, this album takes everything on the EP and magnifies it by several hundred times, resulting in a record so bombastic and overdone you will either sit on your chair with slack jaw and glazed eyes or else be laughing hysterically. It is really hard to encapsulate the pompousness of MAELSTROM in mere words, but this is operatic, complex power metal taken to its ultimate degree. The songs are ever changing and baroque, full of neoclassical guitar overkill, spurts of thrash, almost early QUEEN-like song construction and more than anything else, THOSE VOCALS! Imagine the most over the top, dramatic multi-tracked male vocals possible and you still may not be close to what MAELSTROM comes up with here.

Ultimately, it’s very exhausting to listen to, even if there are moments of sheer bonkers brilliance within. Many times I wondered if this was a parody, but apparently they take this mighty concept of fantasy gods and wizards at war very seriously. This is so different from anything else being done in American metal, it deserves special recognition for audacity. But wow, is it over the top! Not much more to say except pack a lunch and hang on for dear life!