Prepare yourselves for a long post.
After Gaia Epicus invaded my ears a while back, I've been combing my collection and the internet for any more quality power metal from Norway, a nation better known for it's black metal, as well as some excellent progressive work. The end result? There's really not much there, and the really good bands can probably be counted on one hand, but this is my attempt to let these bands see the light of day and give them some well-deserved attention.
Characteristically, there's not really much that's unique about Norwegian power metal. It's speedy, double-bass and rhythm guitar driven lines draw pretty heavily off of their Swedish and German relatives. The country doesn't really have a big enough scene to have a lot of individualism, though some of the bands certainly do. Aside from the previously mentioned Gaia Epicus, a speedy neo-classical rocket, here are most of the other notable Norwegian acts, along with some samples:
Keldian are probably my favorite Norwegian power metal act. The vocals aren't the most refined, the music isn't very heavy or deep, but blast if it isn't catchy and uplifting! Keldian has two fine offerings, and here's a great track off of 2006's "Heaven's Gate".
If you're a fan of Kamelot, you're certainly aware that Roy Khan's prior gig was with this Norwegian band. Conception is a little older than the other bands here, dating back to 1989, and with their fourth, final, and best album "Flow" being released in 1997 before Khan's move to join Kamelot. Conception also has progressive metal leanings, but walks the line a bit closer than Communic.
Formed by elite German power-metaller Uli Kusch in conjunction with some of the member's of prog act Pagan's Mind, Beautiful Sin plays a pretty straight-up version of German-styled power metal. With a heavier punch and some excellent female vocals courtesy of Magali Luyten, Beautiful Sin are a capable act, and their single release "The Unexpected" is a very good piece of work. Here's "This is Not the Original Dream"
Some may call them overrated, but this prog/power metal band has made a pretty hefty splash in their seven years of existence, with three quality releases under their belt. Communic work with longer, more complex song structures, and are more of a progressive outfit than power metal, but are worth a mention regardless, as their work is pretty accessible and enjoyable for metalheads of any variety.
Guardians of Time
Another short-lived band with not much material, Guardians of Time released their breakout album "Machines of Mental Design" in 2004. Falling back into the more traditional style of speedy power metal, here's a track off of that album:
Mid-paced power metal that reminds me of several German acts, Highland Glory play a tasteful brand of classy power metal that's relatively free of progressive touches. The lead vocalist Jan Grefstad reminds me a bit of the lead vocalist of the French band Nightmare, which gives this band a pretty distinct sound. At times, this leans more towards classic heavy metal, and will likely be enjoyed by those who aren't as impressed by the sheer speed of other Scandinavian acts. Here's a track off of "Forever Endeavor", titled "Edge of Time."
And that, as they say, is that. Plainly, Norway has precious few solid power metal acts, and fewer still that are still active. If I have missed any, please let me know. I'm fairly certain I've nailed all the pertinent bands, but no one is perfect. Hope you've enjoyed this!