On the beer-drenched, muddy fields of Bad Arolsen, Germany, Sam Dunn is surrounded by legions of filth covered, barbarian headbangers, all boiling with the rage of Thor, and drawn, without a hint of irony, to The Magic Circle, a mammoth three-day...... Read Full Episode Summary »
On the beer-drenched, muddy fields of Bad Arolsen, Germany, Sam Dunn is surrounded by legions of filth covered, barbarian headbangers, all boiling with the rage of Thor, and drawn, without a hint of irony, to The Magic Circle, a mammoth three-day power metal festival, hosted by Manowar, on the banks of the mighty Rhine. In the third episode of Metal Evolution: The Series, Sam investigates Heavy Metal's most enduring sub-genre, power metal, and asks the questions: "Why is power metal so huge in Europe?," "What are its roots?" and "Why does it still prosper today?" Klaus Meine of Scorpions helps Sam zero in on power metal's remarkable connection to the youth of 1960s and '70s Germany, kids overwhelmed by an invasion of other cultures due to post-war reconstruction; kids who yearned for a type of music that was distinctly their own. Backstage at the Wacken Open Air Festival, Sam runs into his old elfin friend Ronnie James Dio, who guides him further into the fantastical lyrical world of power metal, where masculine tales of heroism and epic battles, of dragon-slaying and sorcery, burn deep into the imaginations of young men, giving the sub-genre a distinctly male following. Sam will also dissect the musical foundations of power metal, from the unmistakable influence of German classical composers like Wagner and Liszt to the patented twin-lead guitar attack of power metal architects Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing from Judas Priest. Moving forward through the '80s and '90s, Sam will pursue the proliferation of power metal, both sonically and geographically; from the speed and aggression typified by England's Iron Maiden to the inventive symphonic arrangements of Sweden's Hammerfall, Italy's Rhapsody, and Brazil's Angra. And finally, Sam will examine the renaissance of power metal in the 21st century, thanks due to British upstarts Dragonforce and their alliance with the video game sensation, Rock Band; a union that is inspiring a new generation of kids to pick up the guitar and master the fret board gymnastics of power metal, in hopes of becoming the next Yngwie Malmsteen. But power metal isn't the only sub-genre begat on the heels of early Metal that has spanned over forty years. "Shock rock", Metal's most grotesque manifestation, possesses a similar survival instinct, and is the subject of the next episode of Metal Evolution: The Series.