About two years ago Victorius released their EP Dinosaur Warfare - Legend of the Powersaurus (2018). It was kinda mediocre, but it did conjure some stuff that could work given more time. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear of epic battles between the Razorblade Raptor and the Lazer Tooth Tiger? No one. No one doesn’t want to hear that. But here they are now, some two years later, retconning all of that in favor of a full length made in the exact same vein, but with space ninjas. From Hell. And yes, it’s the exact super kind of cheesy stuff that works so damn well if it’s done with conviction, a good storyline and most importantly good songwriting. These things Victorius lack, and Space Ninjas From Hell suffers for it, because all in all, it’s not a continuation of anything started on the aforementioned EP that builds on its best parts and does away with the bad parts - it’s more of the same.
And every song on this album is again more of the same. Three or four minutes of your average power metal with little to stand out. The attempted comedy is lost on every song basically being about some new guy, or warrior, or ninja, instead of attempting to drive a storyline forward, which sets them apart from the obvious inspirational source Gloryhammer. Obviously there are some things that could work, and Victorius have proven several times in the past that they have the talent for some over the top cheesy power metal that makes an impression, but how they devolved into attempted comedy metal after the release of Heart of the Phoenix (2017) is laughable for all the wrong reasons. For one thing, they end the album with what should have been the intro, obviously hinting a follow up I hope is never made reality. (“Random” swearing does not make comedy guys.)
Not everything here is outright bad; on the contrary, opening track Tale of the Sunbladers blasts some speed and fury in the melodic approach right from the start. Florian Zack and Dirk Scharsich tosses some blazing fretswork and speedy soloing, making you think maybe this album won’t be a total waste of time. When those four minutes end however everything else proves pretty much the same, only with different references to ‘80s B movie tropes and feudal Japanese titles, the album quickly loses any luster the opening track had. Else there are some decent-ish melodies here and there, nice choruses and above all the guitars are pretty sweet, but all in all there is little here of any value. If this is the path that Victorius are really going to pursue, instead of following up on the likes of Dreamchaser (2014) where the music actually seemed to mean something, I guess there is nothing left to do but let Angus McFife smash them like the goblins they are.
Standout tracks: Tale of the Sunbladers