Power Theory is a four-piece Classic / Power Metal band hailing from Pennsylvania, USA. Their new album, An Axe To Grind, is their sophomore release. These guys took off with their 2011 debut release Out Of The Ashes, Into The Fire, which was critically praised for combining the sounds of Classic ‘80s style Metal with nuances of many NWOBHM bands as well. An Axe To Grind is a continuation of those signature sounds and displays significant growth with musicianship and composition development.
The key to Power Theory’s sound is the very distinctive vocal efforts of Dave Santini. His rough and raucous vocal style is extremely reminiscent of W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless. Especially the way Santini can invoke the emotional and theatrical imagery the same way that Lawless executes his performances. The only downside to Santini’s vocals is the lack of a wide range and dynamic capacity. The vocals are very one-sided and fail to offer much differentiation from track to track.
The other main ingredient to Power Theory is guitarist Bob Ballinger’s infectious riffs and rhythms. Many critics have likened Power Theory’s sound to be similar with Saxon. This is because of the parallel sound with the riffs produced by Graham Oliver & Paul Quinn. Ballinger does have immense talent and single handedly carries each track and lifts them to the next level with a grand solo on the occasions where Santini’s vocals become stale and repetitive.
Although most of the compositions are fairly straightforward on this album, there are a couple of tracks that do stand out. The opening track “Edge Of Knives” has a great mid-tempo grinding riff very reminiscent of a classic Judas Priest style song from the British Steel era. Another notable track is “The Seer”, again with another strong representation of a heavy and grinding riff, this track contains slightly more originality that many of the other songs, and one of the few songs with a very memorable and strong vocal depiction on the chorus line.
An Axe To Grind is very definitely a step up from their debut album. The band clearly took much more time to develop some more intricate musicianship into the tracks. However, what Power Theory still lacks is a robust original and modern sound to set them apart from the crowd. There is too much focus put into recreating an older, classic sound and less emphasis on crafting a new niche. Regardless, Power Theory is still able to put out a quality product and fans of many genres should enjoy listening to this release.
Official Band Website
Pure Steel Records