Just around eighteen months ago Italian power metal outfit Skeletoon unleashed their tribute to all things eighties power metal - and The Goonies - titled They Never Say Die. The self proclaimed nerd metal (or happy metal) band apparently doesn’t need a lot of time to churn out yet another storm of power metal goodness as Nemesis (their fourth full length) proves to be another heavy hitter from the Nerd Metal Superheroes. After a short token intro you’re thrown into the action with a megaton blast of double bass drums and Tomi Fooler’s best shout to date as Brighter Than 1000 Suns is let loose. A furious blast of pure Helloween style old school power metal, clashing guitar harmonies and swirling space keyboards beneath a Fooler’s insane high notes, it’s a testament to just how great Skeletoon are when nothing holds them back. Needless to say, the album opens magnificently.
The rest of the runtime is certainly dynamic and filled with several great songs that take to the ultimate spaces and beyond. Alessandro Conti (Trick or Treat, Twilight Force) guests on Will You Save Us All?, which is perhaps most notable for its sweeping lead guitars, noting the great work of Andrea Cappellari and Davide Piletto. Cold the Night slows down a fair bit, attempting for a slower, more epic touch in a semi ballad that just doesn’t quite work; the choirs in the chorus are too much, given the laid back approach of the verses. Obviously the strongest material Skeletoon has to offer is the stuff that hearken to Helloween’s bygone days and following the speedy, melodic uplifting power metal formula, capped with massive, memorable choruses (they say those are the most important element of a power metal song). It may be tried and true in many respects, but when you pull it off as flawlessly as Skeletoon do in their brightest moments there’s no stopping it anyway.
Mostly, Skeletoon have an effortless way of showing the true meaning of their brand of the genre; pure, unadulterated fun. Every part of Nemesis - even more so than its predecessor - just screams of passion and love for the music, and you can tell how much fun goes into its production, as it comes across in the revelry of Fooler’s vocals, the clarity and swiveling in the dual guitars and the towering, melodic leads they present. Sure, when I describe it it sounds boring; same old formula? Tried and true? But power metal is a genre that thrives well on new acts reintroducing their own takes on the “tried and true”, an adage Skeletoon has taken to heart and which comes across better than ever here. And that’s not all Nemesis presents. The title track itself takes a different turn, pounding drums and an almost industrial feel, the great Melissa Bonny (Rage of Light) giving a chilling guest performance alongside Fooler. So in the end Nemesis is a beast that knows exactly wants to be, and excels in being just that; Skeletoon showing once more it’s not just about superpowers - it’s what you do with them. While it perhaps never quite reaches the initial blast of pure power metal fun that was the opener it’s hard not go along for the blast through the stars.
Standout tracks: Brighter Than 1000 Suns, Starseeker, NerdMetal Superheroes