[7/10] It’s no fault of their own, but Power Theory couldn’t be playing a more unfashionable style of music, especially in North America. For some peculiar reason, there’s this big divide between symphonic power metal and traditional metal on these shores, and it leaves bands like Power Theory, Order of Nine, etc. out in the cold when they’re every bit as vital as their geeky metal contemporaries. Not that it matters, for on their sophomore An Axe to Grind, the PA-based metallers aim for one crowd and one crowd only: Europe.
The band’s sound is an amalgam of the 80’s, basically, with the likes of Savatage, Manowar, and Queensryche (when they were awesome) comprising of Power Theory’s sonic brew. The cheese level is kept mostly at the minimum, save for “Pure Steel,” which gives singer Dave Santini a chance to call for metal unity, which again, only floats in European countries. Santini proves to be a relatively effective vocalist, with the girth of a Jon Oliva and the range of former Metal Church singer David Wayne, something that comes in handy on “Colossus.”
With small traces of thrash (which are essentially sped-up gallops), Power Theory manages to avoid total 4/4 overkill. One can see the Euro crowds getting worked up over the instant head-banging romp of “Deceiver” (love the opening riff), while the title track takes cues from when Manowar were at their peak (did Manowar ever have a peak?). “A Fist in the Face of the God” is perhaps the song that resonates the most; a Rage-like thumper with plenty of double-bass action and punchy riffs.
Based on personal experience, a band like Power Theory shouldn’t waste their time in their home country. There’s such a small segment of people into this style that it almost becomes discouraging playing in front of barely-filled venues. However, An Axe to Grind certainly has what it takes to make some waves across the pond. Europeans definitely have better taste than us Yankees, that’s for sure.