Following the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the metallic tree branched out into numerous directions as new acts began incorporating different techniques and sounds, ultimately veering off into thrash, black metal, death metal, grindcore, etc. One genre stayed true to traditional heavy metal, retaining twin melodies (often with a keyboard instead of a second guitarist), high singing and lyrical fantasy. That genre is power metal.

This style boldly increased the intensity of just about every angle deployed by traditional metal. With speed being the most obvious difference, early pioneers like Helloween dove head-on into neoclassical affairs, helping give rise to the subgenre's obsession with orchestration, which only fed the insatiable appetite for medieval lore.

Power metal is one of metal's more narrow genres as bands generally stick to the same template with little deviance. Sure, the tempos fluctuate on occasion with mid-tempo rompers offering an opportunity for listeners (and the band) to catch their breath after furious metal-born sprints. For drummers, there might not be as much technical flair as other styles afford, but power metal is home to cavalcade fills, again serving the themes well as the sounds of dozens of hooves trampling the ground, charging into battle.

As you scroll through our list of the Top 25 Power Metal Albums of All Time, there's a few things you should no regarding bands you may have expected to see. The early U.S. traditional metal scene is often dubbed "U.S. Power Metal," but acts such as Iced Earth, Manilla Road, Fifth Angel and Liege Lord really lie closer to the NWOBHM than what emerged as true power metal with a couple exceptions as you'll discover. Don't get sour on us though as that's a list for another day — they'll get their due, trust us!

Now, turn your attention to the bottom of the page and find out which power metal album is No. 1!

PLAYLIST: Follow Loudwire's 'Ultimate Power Metal' playlist on Spotify, featuring over 100 genre-defining songs.

Top 25 Power Metal Albums of All Time

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