In theory, power metal should be a genre that is relatively easy to get right. You take popular chord progressions, some heavy metal riffage, some cheesy but fun lyrics, and then just a touch of the ridiculous and over-dramatic, and you got a good power metal album. However in practice, it’s one of the most botched genres in metal, mostly due to the continuous addition of outside influences like symphonics, progressive elements, and just about anything else you could think of without thinking too hard. And the problem isn’t that these influences are added that’s the problem, it’s that they are often fucked up harder than Charlie Sheen at… well, pretty much any moment in his entire life. The most common mistake comes from the erroneous belief that it is ever ok to directly input sibelius midis in any professional album, but this is by no means even close to the source of every generic power metal band fuck up. I say all this because I’m going to admit that I am giving this album a higher score than it deserves, simply because it managed not to fuck up. Sort of like how a 5/10 women becomes a 9/10 women in the gaming world, since there are so few good power metal albums, the ones that are good, or at least not bad, have their score increased due to how they compare to the rest of their brethren. Power metal inflation, if you will. What isn’t inflated about this album however, is that has some pretty dang good solo and riff work. If cheap symphonics are the most common power metal mistake, than power metal that doesn’t focus are anything melodic is the second, and Rage and Fire absolutely avoids this. While none of them are going to be solos that you’ll remember for weeks to come, they are all very enjoyable at first listen, and still enjoyable multiple listens afterward. This fact came as a very pleasant surprise, as I had low expectations to the start of an album whose intro sounded like the intro music of a marvel super hero movie. While in the beginning I felt as if every track was different, after about track 4 I started to realize that the difference between each one was generally quite small. Enough to be significant to notice, but not large enough to engross me in the album. I feel like the majority of the tracks sort of blend together, until each solo and major riff comes up, which as I mentioned before, is definitely the strong point of this album. There are brief moments of uniqueness that perked up my ears, such as the bluesy outro riff to Tomorrow Never Comes, but generally I just kept waiting for that solo. This isn’t to say that anything in-between the solos and riffs is bad, just nothing particularly worth mentioning. While the title track is certainly what Guardians of Time aimed at being the pinnacle of the album, I feel as though Core, the track before that, is the superior song. While they both feel like emotional and epic ballads, Rage and Fire drags on a bit too long. I feel as if the last minute of that track is sort of like the band wanted to finish, but realized that they still had a minute left in the song time. Despite my comment about power metal inflation, this is a fine album, and certainly one of the top power metal albums of the year. One of the few power metal albums this year that I would recommend to someone who is not necessarily a fan of the genre.