Power metal defies many of the stereotypes associated with heavy metal – it’s upbeat, happy, melodic and popular. Every word of the clean, melodic vocals can be understood. Subject matter references medieval legends, fantasy books, role-playing games and battles with dragons. Every power-metal album contains at least two ballads – and a “call to arms” for metal warriors across the land to unite and slay the naysayers.
And far from looking menacing and dangerous, the bands prefer to prance around the stage dressed as bards, minstrels and courtly princes. Power metal’s themes more closely resemble courtly love and chivalric poetry than any crude odes to the battle gods.
Power metal fans and musicians are geeks at heart – lovers of Sci Fi/Fantasy novels, computer games, and progressive, technically brilliant music. Of all the metal genres, power metal is the one most likely to be adopted by the mainstream, for the simple reason that the music, the bands and the fashion is accessible and inoffensive, unless you’re particularly offended by dragons. Look at the popularity of Dragonforce – do you see my point?
Dressing power metal means taking inspiration from the land of geekdom. The power metal fashion could also be called “Lord of the Rings” fashion. Natural materials like leather and cotton embrace the pseudo-medievalism of the music, and amulets and alchemic symbolism add to the “magical” aspects. While maiming and murdering the enemy do not feature prominently in power metal lyrics, musicians often carry a sword on their hip.
Power Metal Fashion
The central mainstay of power metal fashion (for guys and gals) is a pair of tight leather pants, in either black or brown. Leather is very medieval, and it shows off your manly (or womanly) curves.
A pair of decent, form-fitting leather pants will set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you’re a metalhead on a budget, you could look for faux-leather leggings and trousers for a fraction of the price. You’re also not endorsing the animal-clothing industry, if you happen to care about that.
Fortunately, because people we’ve never heard of (like Rhianna) have been wearing leather leggings recently, these babies are back in style, and you should be able to pick up a flattering pair off the high street.
If you’re more of a skirt kind of girl, you want to find longish, flowing, medieval-style skirts in dark colours – black, brown, red, purple or blue. I’m especially fond of wearing below-the-knee bias cut skirts with a pair of sexy boots. Take inspiration from medieval / renaissance styles rather than dressing like you’ve arrived on horseback from a LARPing event.
Over your leather pants you need a flattering, puffy-sleeved shirt, preferably without buttons. Buttons are post-medieval, and therefore not kreig. You can find these skirts at any medieval-re-enactment shop. Avoid polyester and satin – they just look ick.
Ladies, don’t layer a pheasant shirt over your long skirt – as a general rule, an item of loose clothing needs to be balanced with a form-fitting garment, or else your figure swims away in an ocean of black fabric. Find a corset or bustier top to complement your skirt, and you’re on your way to being a power-metal goddess.
Your accessories should be understand (for metal, which means not understated at all) and carry an auro of “magic”. Look for medieval-inspired pieces, especially those covered with esoteric symbols, or look like something worn by a character in Lord of the Rings.
Belts should be leather with large metal buckles. Studded belts look great, but spikes are out – you don’t want to look like a dungeon-master. The chick from Battlelore wears several thin strings of metal chain around her waist – they look kick ass!
Jewellery should always be large and made of metal and leather, because dammit, this IS heavy metal. Crucifixes (not upside down), alchemic and magikal symbols, dragons, swords and daggers make excellent necklaces, earrings, amulets and charms. Diadems, circlets and headpieces are not out-of-place.
If power metal isn’t your genre of choice, never fear! I’ll be covering all the different metal genres in upcoming articles. See you again soon!
Super Snuggles and Shoggoth kisses