GLORYHAMMER – Return to the Kingdom of Fife

GLORYHAMMER - Return to the Kingdom of Fife album cover
  • 6/10
    GLORYHAMMER - Return to the Kingdom of Fife - 6/10


Label: Napalm Records
Release date: June 2, 2023

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2021 was not a particularly good year for Gloryhammer, with the less-than-glorious split with their singer Thomas Winkler. Finding a new incarnation of Angus McFife was not an easy task. Yet, the band quickly announced that Sozos Michael would replace Winkler. You might have heard him in different projects, like Planeswalker. While his voice is not as raucous as his predecessor, Sozos Michael is more at ease with higher notes and evolved in a genre similar to Gloryhammer: a Power Metal well infused with science-fiction and fantasy. The single “Fly Away” released in 2022 showed that Gloryhammer had not changed their identity with their new singer and reassured the fans before the album.

If you enjoy their somehow parodic concept albums of heroic fantasy, Return To The Kingdom Of Fife will give you plenty of new materials to pour over. Otherwise, musically speaking, this new album does not show a great evolution.

The Hammer is Falling

It is a bit strange that the label Power Metal can encompass bands as different as Blind Guardian or Lost Horizons and Gloryhammer or Beast In Black. While the firsts have a knack for developing complex melodies, entwined layers of orchestrations, and about a dozen riffs in one song, the others rely heavily on cheesy keyboards, repetitive choruses and catchy riffs. Is one kind of Power Metal better than the other? You shall be the judge of that…

With this new album, Gloryhammer, who once seemed to be the disco child of Rhapsody of Fire, now leans way more towards Dragonforce. There barely is a moment to slow, or when the music is not saturated with layers of keyboards and federating melodies. But, by trying to make every song an hymn, the album lacks is not strong in terms of variety and only the catchiest ones seem worth remembering.

Obviously “Wasteland Warriors Hoots Patrol” is a hit. An honourable mention also goes to “Sword Lord Of The Goblin Horde” with its old Rhapsody Of Fire vibe and slightly slower verses. In terms of production, the album suffers from the same shortcomings as many albums produced today: the sound is clean but lacks depth and grit.

Final Thoughts

Return To The Kingdom of Fife is a Gloryhammer album, no doubt about that, but nothing more could be really said about it. It is still fun, and entertaining, with a new singer arguably more talented than the previous one, but the band does not seem to evolve. They only seem to produce simplistic versions of their first good ideas instead of more accomplished pieces.

Return To The Kingdom of Fife – Tracklist

  1. Incoming Transmission
  2. Holy Flaming Hammer Of Unholy Cosmic Frost
  3. Imperium Dundaxia
  4. Wasteland Warrior Hoots Patrol
  5. Brothers of Crail
  6. Fife Eternal
  7. Sword Lord Of The Goblin Horde
  8. Vorpal Laserblaster of Pittenweem
  9. Keeper Of The Celestial Flame Of Abernethy
  10. Maleficus Geminus (Colossus Matrix 38B – Ultimate Invocation Of The Binary Thaumaturge)

Gloryhammer – Lineup

– Angus McFife V, Crown Prince of Fife: Voice Modulated Star Nucleus
– The Hootsman, Astral Demigod of Unst: Trans-Dimensional Subsonic Cluster
– Ralathor, Mysterious Submarine Commander of Cowdenbeath: Percussive Phi-Quason Battery
– Ser Proletius, Grand Master of the Deathknights of Crail: Dark Matter String Manipulation Interface
– Zargothrax, Dark Emperor of Dundee: Positronic Oscillator Command


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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