A couple years ago, Victorius blew all of our minds with the excellent, over-the-top Dinosaur Warfare, an EP filled to the brim with epic stories of a sci-fi apocalypse featuring cybernetically-augmented dinosaurs battling aliens. This year, they released Space Ninjas from Hell, which is filled to the brim with epic stories of a sci-fi apocalypse featuring cybernetically-augmented space ninjas battling… let me check… at least one cybernetically-augmented samurai and also an “Evil Wizard WuShu Master”… among other things.
SNfH – much like its predecessor – doesn’t so much tell a coherent story as it introduces you to a number of characters and then just lets your imagination run wild with them. There is a bit of exposition which falls at the end of the album, but it mostly felt like it belonged at the beginning of the album rather than the end– at the very least to let us know who to cheer for – apparently the Space Ninjas are BAD and the supposedly “Evil Wizard WuShu Master” is actually a good guy? I still don’t know how I feel about the “Astral Assassin Shark.” Either way the whole thing is a lot of fun, but is it more than just fun?
Short answer: No. It’s mostly just fun, without a lot to back it up. It starts strong, “Tales of the Sunbladers,” “Ninjas Unite,” and “Super Sonic Samurai” are three of the best tracks on the album, and they’re right at the front. “Shuriken Showdown” is also an amazing pick in the “somewhere between Dragonforce and Gloryhammer” metal genre. But a lot of the tracks just feel silly and maybe a little rushed. “Nippon Knights” and “Wasabi Warmachine” also felt a bit like overdone cliches of Western people referencing Japanese culture.
Fans of power metal looking for something a little bit different, or fans of Gloryhammer who need a little something to tie them over in between tales of Angus McFife will certainly find something to enjoy; but, overall, I think this would have done better as another EP. Twenty minutes of dinosaur power metal was great; but, after 45 minutes, the space ninjas overstayed their welcome.
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