Who really invented power metal? Was it really Helloween with The Keepers of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1 album as the legend goes, or is there more to this story? That's the question we explore in Ep. 19 of Loudwire's "50 Years of Heavy Metal" series.

Power metal is a bit more challenging to define than so many of metal's other branches. The differences between thrash, death metal and black metal, for example, are all quite distinct, bearing unique characteristics that the others lack.

That isn't so much the case with power metal, which bears all the hallmarks of traditional metal as defined largely by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Twin melodies, high singing, fast riffs and faster drumming have just as much place in traditional metal as they do power metal.

Of course, a lot of that came from Iron Maiden, but so did epic storytelling, though not in the same fashion as early prog rock. See why this gets tricky? Maiden's vivid lyrical themes along with the ones conveyed from the mystical mind of Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and the Dio band, rounded out yet another crucial component of power metal.

Fiction/fantasy literature — The Lords of the Rings, in particular — is a natural fit for music that's reliant on major keys, joyous melodies, dominant chord progressions and triumphant, sky-high choruses.

It really comes down to the ol' "on steroids" adage, which is essentially the relationship between traditional metal and power metal. Oh, and then there's the dress code: while not required, this genre is overwhelmingly playful, embracing frilly shirts, animal skins, armor... basically anything you'd see at you local Renaissance faire. And there's only one band that can be credited for putting that in motion... but that'll be revealed in Ep. 19.

Find out Who Really Invented Power Metal at the top of the page.

The Top 25 Power Metal Albums of All Time