Angus McSix is a symphonic power metal band formed by Gloryammer’s former lead vocalist Thomas Winkler (stage name previously Angus McFife). As a longtime Gloryhammer fan, the band’s acrimonious split was painful to read and there’s a lot of things that we could discuss but I’m not going to.
Well, maybe a little. Thomas landed on his feet with Napalm Records who, instead of seeing this as a potential danger to one of their biggest cash cows, saw the chance to get two ridiculous fantasy themed bands out of the split instead of just having one. Angus McSix the band would be formed from Manu Lotter (Rhapsody of Fire), Thalia Bellazecca (Frozen Crown), and Sebastian “Seb” Leverman (Orden Ogan). Which is to say they’re all veterans of Heavy Mirthil music and a power team of power metal.
We could discuss the behind-the-scenes details all day but you’re probably here to learn about the music. Is it good? No, it’s fantastic and I think Angus McSix and the Sword of Power is even better than anything Gloryhammer managed to put out–and I love Gloryhammer. Hell, I love their newest album put out as a rival to this album, Return to the Kingdom of Fife. However, if we’re going to say who wins this rock off then Winkler and crew are clearly the victors.
As a concept album, there’s a story behind the music and it is a divergent timeline from Gloryhammer with Angus McSix stating (without stating it directly) that the character of Angus McFife was resurrected after the events of Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex. Angus is transported to the future to battle the evil wizard Seebus, takes up the magic sword Sixcalibur to replace his hammer (because “glory left his hammer” is in the lyrics), and wackiness ensues.
The plots are always cheesy and fun but surprisingly coherent for these albums. Thomas clearly considers himself to own as much of the Angus story as Gloryhammer but goes his own direction with it that safely distances their continuities. Though if you worry about the continuity of heavy metal albums, you are even nerdier than me and I write post-apocalypse Cthulhu and superhero fiction.
Right, the music!
I mean there’s no bad songs on this album. Every one of them is a banger except for “Fireflies of Doom” and “Ride to Hell.” Even then, that’s just because they’re less awesome than the rest of the album’s songs. If I had to pick out the standout song of the album, it’s undoubtedly “Master of the Universe”, which is the opening track and introduces the plot as well as lovingly homages a certain cartoon show.
“Eternal Warrior”, “In a Past Reality”, “Amazons of Caledonia”, “Laser Shooting Dinosaur”, and “The Star Lord of The Sixtus Stellar System” are all great. “Laser Shooting Dinosaur” is the only one that is really outright wacky, and the others are surprisingly coherent in their fantasy universe’s rules. Thomas seems to take his universe slightly more seriously but not too serious. Still, bonus track “Just a Fool Will Play Tricks on Angus McSix” is a song about Angus destroying the goblin race for screwing with him so there might be something to his attitude behind-the-scenes. Even the intro, “The Vision in the Fires” is really good instrumental work.
Overall, this is a great album and well worth the purchase price. Everyone is extremely talented and with rare exceptions, it’s more on the hard rock side of thing than the synthesizer to everyone’s credit. Major props.