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symphonic metal

CD review ALIGHT "Spiral of Silence"

Veröffentlicht am 23. April 2018 von Markus W. in Alight, Spiral of Silence, News, El Puerto Records, CD Review, Melodic Metal, Symphonic Metal, Dark Metal

CD review ALIGHT "Spiral of Silence"

(7/10) It was the 90’s peak of gothic metal and the evolving female-fronted symphonic metal some years later that acted as a source of inspiration for South Tyrolean drummer Mirko Montresor to start a band that he named Alight. This happened in 2005 and since then the release of the band’s debut and some line-up changes took place. The latter has been the hinder for using the debut and several tours as a springboard for reaching a wider crowd of fans.

It looks like the stormy days are over here and now. The band from Bozen, Italy signed a contract with El Puerto Records and it’s the sophomore album “Spiral of Silence” that will be available in the record stores almost nine years after the debut hit the shelves.

The band’s second album features ten new songs, representing the earlier mentioned roots and inspiration. Tracks like the opener “Spiral of Silence” are good melodic metal tunes. Alight never gets too soft and sugar sweet. There is enough firepower for metalheads embedded in each of the songs without getting too heavy either. Guitars are present as well as keyboards create a melodic foundation for songs like “Psiche”.

The album doesn’t need a lot of loops to reveal some beauty. Tracks like the catchy “Lost in the Past” bloom immediately since one thing is for certain – the band has a great sense for harmonies and hooks. Last but not least the entire album sounds quite modern and I was reminded more than once of Swedish Drain STH in their “Simon Says”-days as well as I had to think of Lacuna Coil.

All in all I can conclude that “Spiral of Silence” is gloomy rocking record with songs that will not win an innovation award, but catches you with hooks and melodies, both hard to resist.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Spiral of Silence
  2. The Portal
  3. Psiche
  4. Lost In The Past
  5. Walk To the Line
  6. Roses in the Dusk
  7. The Shame
  8. Look Closer
  9. Absence of Essence
  10. Let Me Touch the Horizon

 

Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Gothic Metal

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018

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CD review NIGHTWISH "Decades"

Veröffentlicht am 5. März 2018 von Markus W. in Nightwish, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, New, CD Review, Decades

CD review NIGHTWISH "Decades"

(*/10) Introducing Finnish symphonic rockers of Nightwish feels like carrying sand to the beach. Tuomas Holopainen and band are more than 20 years in business, a good moment to look back on all the band's achievements of two decades.

"Decades" is such a retrospective that covers the years between 1996 and 2015, a "Best of" album that's comes as a 2 CD release. All songs are remastered original versions, providing new fans a brilliant overview of Nightwish's creative milestones. 

A glimpse on the tracklist shows the songs ordered in a chronological way. It's the 24 minutes masterpiece "The Greatest Show on Earth", taken from the latest record "Endless Forms Most Beautiful", that acts as the entry-point for this comprehensive Nightwish album. 

The compilation comprises of all hits, arranged in a 'batting order' that goes from new to old, with a demo version of "Nighwish" being the closer of "Decades". In between, fans find all songs that needs to be on such an album. "Nemo", "Amaranth", "The Kingslayer" and "Wish I Had an Angel", all these classic are present on the tracklist that consists out of 22 songs in total.

The double CD doesn't include any new song or bonus track and it was a conscious decision to not re-record older tracks with Floor and Troy. Nightwish's sticks to their history and heritage and the aim was to transfer it in the most authentic way.

"Decades" is what the title professes. It's a well-done summary of Nightwish's creative work up-to-date and a good release for bridging the wait till the next album will hit the shelves.

 

(*/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Greatest Show on Earth
  2. Elan
  3. My Walden
  4. Stortime
  5. I Want My Tears Back
  6. Amaranth
  7. The Poet and the Pendulum
  8. Nemo
  9. Wish I Had an Angel
  10. Ghost Love Score
  11. Slaying the Dreamer
  12. End of All Hope
  13. 10th Man Down
  14. The Kingslayer
  15. Dead Boy's Poem
  16. Gethsemane
  17. Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean
  18. Sacrament of Wilderness
  19. Sleeping Sun
  20. Elvenpath
  21. Carpenter
  22. Nightwish (Demo)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: March 9th, 2018

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CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

Veröffentlicht am 12. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Therion, Beloved Antichrist, Rock Opera, Nuclear Blast, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal

CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

(7/10) Therion has a long history in metal. Founded by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Christofer Johnsson, Therion began as a death metal band before slowly shifting toward symphonic metal. After having released a debut album in 1991, entitled "Of Darkness...", Therion released another 14 longplayers with number 15 being the brand new "Beloved Antichrist".

Johnsson and friends' newest strike is an ambitious one. "Beloved Antichrist" is not just an album. It's a three CD comprising rock opera, inspired by Vladimir Soloviov's "A Short Tale of the Antichrist". The entire plot is split into three acts, one per CD. To transfer the story in the best possible way, Johnsson was in need of different voices for 30 different roles and characters. To solve this challenge in the best possible way, Johansson worked together with many different singers, vocalists like Thomas Vikström, Lori Lewis and Chiara Malvestiti ... to just mention some.

"Beloved Antichrist" is a masterpiece when it comes to storyline, creativity and complexity. To create such an album is more than just writing songs. It's intensive work that transfers motions of characters into music. Therefor it's also a mission impossible to pick some songs out of the context. It just doesn't make sense since this 3-CD package is a Gesamtkunstwerk and also needs to be seen like that.

No doubt, "Beloved Antichrist" is an epic and ambitious project that grew over the past years to an impressive and challenging milestone. Next to excellent musicians and a perfect production, it's the running time of three hours that is far beyond average. Unfortunately it's the three hours that makes the album a bit lengthy. It's a real challenge to keep listeners excited over such a long time, esp. in a fast moving world with a span of attention that becomes shorter and shorter every year. After having gone through the first CD I had the feeling that I've heard it, but there were two more to go. Again, there is a lot of superb work done that asks for a lot of respect. However, the final spice is missing. "Beloved Antichrist" is like looking on the endless flow of a river surrounded by beautiful nature. The entire picture is an awesome composition but if you focus too long on the river it stays a flow of water that's pretty much of the same thing only different. That's the impression I got while listening to Therion's rock opera.

To sum up: "Beloved Antichrist" became a monumental release that offers a lot of music, composed and performed by exquisite musicians. Each song itself is a little masterpiece, but it's the quantity of music that's overwhelming and a bit too much. A real curveball.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

Act I

01. Turn from Heaven

02. Where Will You Go?

03. Through Dust, Through Rain

04. Signs Are Here

05. Never Again

06. Bring Her Home

07. The Solid Black Beyond

08. The Crowning Of Splendour

09. Morning Has Broken

10. Garden Of Peace

11. Our Destiny

12. Anthem

13. The Palace Ball

14. Jewels From Afar

15. Hail Caesar!

16. What Is Wrong?

17. Nothing but My Name

Act II

01. The Arrival of Apollonius

02. Pledging Loyalty

03. Night Reborn

04. Dagger of God

05. Temple Of New Jerusalem

06. The Lions Roar

07. Bringing the Gospel

08. Laudate Dominum

09. Remaining Silent

10. Behold Antichrist

11. Cursed By the Fallen

12. Resurrection

13. To Where I Weep

14. Astral Sophia

15. Thy Will Be Done!

Act III

01. Shoot Them Down!

02. Beneath the Starry Skies

03. Forgive Me

04. The Wasteland of My Heart

05. Burning the Palace

06. Prelude to War

07. Day of Wrath

08. Rise to War

09. Time Has Come/Final Battle

10. My Voyage Carries On

11. Striking Darkness

12. Seeds of Time

13. To Shine Forever

14. Theme of Antichrist

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Rock Opera

Release Date EU: February 9th, 2018

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CD review ANGRA "ØMNI"

Veröffentlicht am 11. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Angra, ØMNI, earMUSIC, Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, News, CD Review

CD review ANGRA "ØMNI"

(8/10) 2018 is the year Angra opens a new chapter in their career - „Ømni“. This is the title of Angra’s new album that comes up to surface mid-February via earMUSIC. The new album follows the “Secret Garden” release from 2015 and as the predecessor also „Ømni“ became a very well-crafted melodic power metal release.

Angra’s ninth studio album is the result of passionate work, done by Rafael Bittencourt, Felipe Andreoli, Fabio Lione, Marcelo Barbosa and Bruno Valverde and it’s again producer Jens Bogren who gave the album an excellent sound.

„Ømni“ is a concept album. It’s not that it’s an entire storyline. The plot is based on artificial intelligence systems that allows conscious communication between present and future human beings, reflected in each of the songs. Therefor „Ømni“ is more a collage of science fiction short stories that happen in parallel rather than a complete storyline from beginning till end.

The best moments on a well done longplayer are entitled „Black Widow’s Web“ and it‘s the Grand finale with the two parts of the title track. Let‘s start with the latter.

„Ømni“ is split into two songs of which „Silence Inside“ is the first one. Flamenco-reminding guitars introduce you into this tune. Well-done percussions join before a powerful riff adds drama to the total. „Silence Inside“ made me think of Dream Theater here and there. However, it‘s a bombastic Angra anthem that combines big soundscapes with catchy melodies and heavy riffing. „Infinite Nothing“ is the second part of the title track and it‘s a cinematic instrumental that could act in a perfect way as a soundtrack song for an outer space movie. It has nothing really to do with metal but it goes perfectly together with „Silence Inside“.

Another shade of Angra gets to forefront with „Black Widow‘s Web“. Fabio Lione shares vocals with Allissa White-Gluz, the powerful queen of growls , known from Arch Enemy. It‘s well known that White-Gluz has a far wider vocal range than solely growls. Her clean way of singing is as good as the deep growls but „Black Widow‘s Web“ shows a focus the growls only. The clean female vocal sections in this masterpiece are from a well-known Brazilian singer named Sandy and all these voices go together in a perfect fashion. This song is a thrilling one and for me it‘s the best one on the album, since it also includes excellent solos and extremely heavy riffs. Bombastic power metal can‘t include more nuances than what you get served with this extraordinary track.

These songs are the highlights on a very well-done album and the rest of the tracks can easily live up when it comes to quality.

The very rhythm based „Caveman“ is an interesting tune and also the dramatic „The Bottom of My Soul“ belongs to the thrilling moments on this album. Even the calmer sections like with „Always More“ are attracting attention while not becoming a trivial standard ballad.

„Ømni“ is an ambitious record that shows Angra in perfect shape and form. It‘s the most advanced Angra disc and definitely worth more than one spin. My conclusion: Go for it.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Light of Transcendence
  2. Travelers of Time
  3. Black Widow's Web (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
  4. Insania
  5. The Bottom of My Soul
  6. War Horns (feat. Kiko Loureiro)
  7. Caveman
  8. Magic Mirror
  9. Always More
  10. ØMNI - Silence Inside
  11. ØMNI - Infinite Nothing

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Melodic Power Metal

Release Date EU: February 16th, 2018

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CD review ORPHANED LAND “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs"

Veröffentlicht am 16. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, Orphaned Land, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, Prog Metal, News, CD Review, Century Media, Oriental Metal

CD review ORPHANED LAND “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs"

(8/10) Orphaned Land is more than just a band. The outfit, founded in 1991, went on a journey that includes excellent metal music with the inclusion of thought-through lyrics, which contain a positive and peaceful message.

The band from Israel released so far five longplayers, all with a conceptual depth. Orphaned Land is a band that successfully tries to bridge all gaps and boarders in the Middle East, having fans in all parts of the area. In addition Kobi Farhi and bandmates gained a worldwide popularity.

These days the new album, number 6, is in the starting blocks. The record is entitled “Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs”, featuring in total 13 tracks. Fahri managed to get some well-known metal musicians having guest appearances on this album. Next to At The Gates frontman Tomas Lindberg it is no less than Blind Guardian singer Hani Kürsch and guitar icon Steve Hackett contributing to this creative metal record.

After having heard the album several times I must say that it Fahri and band created music that stands out from the masses. It’s mainly the oriental touch that’s weaved into each of the songs, giving the band an own identity. Already the opener “The Cave” includes this feature, leading to an eight minutes epos the band decided to begin with.

“Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” contains more of these extra-long tracks. “Chains Fall to Gravity” is getting close to 10 minutes and shows the entire finesse the band has in their offer. The calm start, the prog-rock approach and a bombastic expression lifts this piece of music from ‘song’ to ‘composition’.

Next to these longer rock endeavors there are the more spot-on songs, tracks like the crispy “My Brother’s Keeper”, which reminded me in parts of an oriental version of Queensryche in their “Empire”-days.

To keep the level of excitement high throughout the entire album, Orphaned Land added some short songs to the tracklist. I almost had the feeling that tunes like “Yedidi” act as a kind of interlude. In general I must say the band manages to create an arc of suspense by the way the order of songs is done. Epical composition interact with spot-on songs. Louder moments shift to calmer notes while deep vocal, almost growls, and clean sections go hand in hand too.

“Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs” became an exciting record that includes excellent metal music with a lyrical concept that has the ambition to unite rather than to divide. Thumbs up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Cave
  2. We Do Not Resist
  3. In Propaganda
  4. All Knowing Eye
  5. Yedidi
  6. Chains Fall To Gravity
  7. Like Orpheus
  8. Poets of Prophetic Messianism
  9. Left Behind
  10. My Brother’s Keeper
  11. Take My Hand
  12. Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War
  13. The Manifest – Epilogue

 

Label: Century Media

Genre: Progressive Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: January 26th, 2018

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CD review AVATAR "Avatar Country"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Avatar, Avatar Country, News, CD Review, Century Media, Modern Metal, Modern Rock, Modern Death Metal, Symphonic Metal

CD review AVATAR "Avatar Country"

(8/10) Normally I’m not a fan of too much gimmicks and frills used by a band. Often it’s done with the purpose of compensating for something else that’s missing, mostly good songs. I’ve been doubtful when I listened to Avatar the first time but luckily enough the music could swipe away all doubts. Avatar is the exception that proves the rule.

The Swedish metal outfit has its roots in death metal, what else could it be, hailing from Gothenburg. Over time the band evolved their sound to a unique mixture of melodic death metal, modern metal and some hardrock. Avatar found their own signature, also being the foundation for their newest strike entitled “Avatar Country”. The album follows the 2016 release “Feather’s and Flesh” and is the first one for label Century Media.

“Avatar Country” is a concept album with 'the king', being in the center of everything. I don’t want to go too deep into the content of the concept, but it has an impact on the tracklist of “Avatar Country”.

The album comes with ten songs and a running time of 43 minutes. Considering an intro entitled “Glory to the King”, a spoken word section (“The King Speaks”) and an instrumental towards the end (“Silent Songs of the King pt.1: Winter Comes When the King Dreams of Snow”) there isn’t too much time left for real songs. No doubt, from a dramaturgic aspect these numbers are needed on the album, but it also means that it limits the running time for great songs which the album contains as well.

“Avatar Country” comes with excellent metal compositions that are powerful and entertaining. “Legend of the King” is the first one and it shows the entire potential of Avatar. Death metal roots are shimmering though with raw vocals while the melodic parts add some catchy commerciality to the total. Avatar has a wide range of styles which they combine to something that’s special and outstanding. Almost as a counterpart to “Legend of the King” there’s “The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country”. It’s the bluesy vibe that almost gives you the feeling of listening to another band, still fitting into the context of “Avatar Country”.

Listening to Avatar also means that’s hard to predict what’s next. Each of the songs has quite some unexpected twists, like “A Statue of the King”. There are progressive elements that interact with raging metal parts and the great thing is – all fits together in a good fashion.

To conclude: “Avatar Country” became an excellent metal release that proves why the guys from Gothenburg can count on a constantly growing fan base. Avatar’s music is inspiring, powerful, raw and catchy. Utilizing this fantastic bag, filled of creativity, for a concept album is a good idea, but the concept should not limit the songs, which partly happen with “Avatar Country”. Two to three more ‘real’ tracks wouldn’t have been a bummer at all. But better some less songs than fillers. Great album that leaves you with an appetite for more.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Glory to Our King
  2. Legend of the King
  3. The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country
  4. King’s Harvest
  5. The King Wants You
  6. The King Speaks
  7. A Statue of the King
  8. King After King
  9. Silent Songs of the King pt.1: Winter Comes When the King Dreams of Snow
  10. Silent Songs of the King pt.2: The King’s Palace

 

 

Label: Century Media

Genre: Modern Metal

Release Date EU: January 12th, 2018

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CD review LEAVES' EYES "Sign of the Dragonhead"

Veröffentlicht am 2. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Leaves Eyes, Sign of the Dragonhead, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News, AFM

CD review LEAVES' EYES "Sign of the Dragonhead"

(7/10) “Sign of the Dragonhead” is album number one in the ‘post Liv Kristine era’ and it’s number seven in the band’s history. Finnish singer Elina Siirala followed Liv Kristine in 2015 and after having done some first well-received live shows it was this album which was anticipated a lot by fans of Leaves’ Eyes.

One thing already at this stage. Leaves’ Eyes is still Leaves’ Eyes with Siirala doing an excellent job. Her legit voice fits perfect to Leaves’ Eyes symphonic metal and marks a good counterpart to the rough vocals by Alex Krull.

For me, “Sign of the Dragonhead" fully lives up to expectation, which is the good and bad in one. Fans of the band will highly appreciate tracks like the heavy rocking title track and the bombastic “Fires in the North”. Also the Celtic influences, coming back in the catchy “Riders on the Wind”, are well-placed and reflect the band perfectly. So all good on first sight, and also second sight.

However, Leaves’ Eyes new album doesn’t bring too much new to the table either. The band stresses again the Nordic Viking theme, there’s the battle between classic female vocals and rough male ones and there are songs that are partly extremely catchy. This is per se nothing bad. It’s just that tunes like the mentioned “Riders on the Wind” became a bit too sugar sweet while tracks like “Like a Mountain” gave me the impression of having heard this kind of music many times before. Last but not least there’s the instrumental, or is it a longer interlude, “Rulers of the Wing and Waves” that maybe could have made space for another song since it doesn’t add too much to the total.

To sum up: “Sign of the Dragonhead” shows Elina Siirala being well-integrated in the band. Furthermore the album reflects Leaves’ Eyes with a 100% but it also misses the real highlight and wow-effects. Good stuff but not jaw-dropping.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Sign of the Dragonhead
  2. Across The Sea
  3. Like A Mountain
  4. Jomsborg
  5. Völva
  6. Riders on the Wind
  7. Fairer Than the Sun
  8. Shadows in the Night
  9. Rulers of Wind and Waves
  10. Fires in the North
  11. Waves of Euphoria

 

Label: AFM Records

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: January 12th, 2018

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CD review MOONSPELL "1755"

Veröffentlicht am 11. Dezember 2017 von Markus W. in Moonspell, News, Napalm Records, Dark Metal, Gothic, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, CD Review

CD review MOONSPELL "1755"

(7/10) Portuguese dark metal powerhouse Moonspell released a few weeks ago their twelfth longplayer. „1755“ is the title of this album that shows Moonspell from another angle. The newest output from Portugal’s finest is a concept album with the devastating earthquake from 1755 being the thematically center piece. „1755“ aims for reflecting the entire impact of such a force of nature in ten new songs.

 A glimpse on the tracklist shows the first difference to other Moonspell releases. The entire album is kept in Portuguese which fits very well to the topic, but also makes it difficult to follow this dramatic story line. Therefor let‘s focus on the music that has to do the job.

„Em Nomen Do Medo“ is the starting point. Being dark and oppressive, the tune is an intro to this musical interpretation of a natural disaster. Bombast and drama are already a substantial element of the opener, leading you to the title track „1755“, which is a heavy song with a cinematic expression, mainly due to the choir that‘s included in this number.

Moonspell uses orchestral elements and the mentioned choir to increase the intensity of the newest longplayer and they succeed. „1755“ comes with an impressive density which is also an achievement of the production, done by no less than the well-known Tue Madsen.

All the mentioned describes a longplayer that gets out of the speakers very well, but I also have to say that the five piece band had already stronger releases in the past. Moonspell had always great songs that have been part of the earlier releases (like „Await” and „Opium“) but also the last album „Extinct“ comprised more than one true highlight being part of the tracklist.

„1755“ is in this context different. The album can be seen as a Gesamtkunstwerk but misses real highlights with a few songs that stick out a bit. It almost feels like Moonspell got lost in bombast, frills and details. Less would have been more. Even though there are with „Ruínas“ and „Abanão“ two tracks that get closer to the highlights of the predecessors, these numbers are in general more the exception than the rule.

Moonspell doesn‘t listen to the echoes of the past and decided to go for a partly new approach with „1755“. The ten songs include the typical Moonspell trademarks and showcase a successful endeavour that still has some room for improvement. „1755“ is a good album, but Moonspell has better ones in their impressive discography.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Em Nome Do Medo
  2. 1755
  3. In Tremor Dei
  4. Desastre
  5. Abanão
  6. Eveto
  7. 1 De Novembro
  8. Ruínas
  9. Todos Os Santos
  10. Lanterna Dos Afogados

 

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Dark Metal

Release Date EU: November 3rd, 2017

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CD review THE DARK ELEMENT "The Dark Element"

Veröffentlicht am 20. November 2017 von Markus W. in The Dark Element, News, CD Review, Melodic Metal, Symphonic Metal, Frontiers Music, Anette Olzon, Jani Liimatainen, Power Metal, Hardrock

CD review THE DARK ELEMENT "The Dark Element"

(8/10) If Nightwish and Within Temptation belong to your favorite female-fronted metal bands you should miss out on The Dark Element. This Scandinavian metal outfit is the brainchild of Finnish guitarist Jani Liimatainen. The singer of this new project is no less than former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon. It’s bassist Jonas Kuhlberg and drummer Jani Hurula completing the line-up that recorded the self-titled debut.

Like with some other Frontiers releases it was the label that came with the idea of bringing together the talented singer and passionate songwriter/guitarist. Joining forces seems to work out here and there quite well. In this case the result is a pretty good melodic metal album.

The Dark Element combines hard rocking guitars, a powerful rhythm section and excellent vocals to a total that catches attention from the first tone played.

It’s the title track that marks the first highlight on this debut. I bit of a mystic vibe that comes with the song, fits very well before “My Sweet Mystery” takes over. The track is well known since it was an earlier video release. Nightwish was for sure a source of inspiration for this track that comes with a very catchy vibe.

With “Here’s to You” the band included a song on this album that will be appreciated by Within Temptation fans. Catchiness almost tends to pop/rock with this number, but there is still enough firepower to not totally give up guitars and heaviness. “Halo” follows the same pattern and also “I Cannot Raise the Dead” is sugar sweet, with the latter being a real earworm.

The Dark Element doesn’t explore new territory with this debut. Instead the go for the safe approach and they do it with passion and a great sense for catchy melodies. You’re caught by these hooks. It doesn’t need to always be innovation that fascinates. Also the known is excellent if performed like on this album.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

01. The Dark Element

02. My Sweet Mystery

03. Last Good Day

04. Here's To You

05. Someone You Used To Know

06. Dead To Me

07. Halo

08. I Cannot Raise The Dead

09. The Ghost And The Reaper

10. Heaven Of Your Heart

11. Only One Who Knows Me

 

Label: Frontiers Music

Genre: Melodic Metal

Release Date EU: November 10th, 2017

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Live review EPICA/MAYAN/3RD MACHINE, Patronaat, Haarlem, 21.201.2017

Veröffentlicht am 8. November 2017 von Markus W. in Epica, 3rd Machine, Mayan, Death Metal, Live, Live Review, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, News, Tour, Melodic Metal

Live review EPICA/MAYAN/3RD MACHINE, Patronaat, Haarlem, 21.201.2017

It was a grey weekend in October when Epica embarked on a short three leg journey through The Netherlands to bring 'The Dutch Principles' closer to people. It was October 21st when the symphonic metal outfit stopped at the Patronaat, Haarlem for celebrating a 90 minutes headliner show in front of crowd that was hungry for heavy riffs, symphonic soundscapes and big melodies.

Epica played the big room and it goes without saying that the show was sold-out. No surprise too that the focus was on the last two longplayers, but the concert covered more. It was the entire Epica story that was on the agenda that night, from "The Phantom Agony" ("Crying for the Moon") to band's latest EP "The Solar System" ("Wheel of Destiny"). Epica showed again why they are belonging to the spearhead of symphonic metal. It's great songs, a lot of riff-power, outstanding vocals and a stage set based fire and light which makes an Epica concert to an event. I think there wasn't anybody in the room that didn't enjoy these 90 minutes metal fireworks.

Before Epica entered the stage, two more Dutch bands that increased the temperature at the Patronaat enormously. Some first riffs filled the room by 3rd Machine. More progressive metal was what created some first waves of enthusiasm, also based on the fact that this outfit is from Haarlem and had a home game evening.

MaYan was next. MaYan means excellent progressive (death-) metal songs and a lot of people on stage. Just the amount of singers is enormous, adding so many different colours to this musical picture. What might work easier on records worked perfectly on stage too. The level of tightness and the dense sound is amazing. MaYan, supported by an excellent sound and good light, created another metal storm, just as with one of their latest shows at Schollenpop a few months ago when the MaYan  metal storm smoothly turned into a real thunderstorm at Scheveningen Beach.

Epica, Patronaat, Haarlem, 21.10.2017
MaYan, Patronaat, Haarlem, 21.10.2017
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CD review EPICA "The Solace System" EP

Veröffentlicht am 31. August 2017 von Markus W. in Epica, Symphonic Metal, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, News, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, Melodic Metal, Female-fronted Metal

CD review EPICA "The Solace System" EP

(8/10) The density of Dutch female-fronted metal bands is quite impressive and what is even more formidable is the quality level of each of these bands. One of the spearheads of symphonic Dutch metal is Epica, a band that’s around already since 2002. As the other bands too also Epica found their own niche in melodic metal by combining symphonic elements and beautiful vocals with some harsh riffs and growl. This might not be a very unique feature but Epica definitely belongs to the Champions League in this genre, releasing great longplayers since more than one decade.

Epica’s latest album, “The Holographic Principle”, has been released one year ago and now they are back with a new EP, entitled “The Solace System”. The record features six songs, all being a result of the “The Holographic Principle” session. The creative output for the latest full-length longplayer was so big that Epica could have easily create a double CD, but instead of doing it the decision was taken to release this EP.

Each of the songs that ended up on this record was worth to be recorded with this EP giving them the attention and framework they deserve. It would have been sinful thing to ‘just’ use them as bonus tracks.

The title track is the first song you get to hear and it’s a majestic one. Epica create an excellent listener experience by crunchy riffs, brilliant vocals and a cinematic expression before “Fight Your Demon” shifts gears by being faster and heavier than the opener. To show the entire width of sounds I also want to mention “Immortal Melancholy” since differs a lot from the rest. The song is the brainchild of guitarist Mark Jansen and producer Joost van den Broek. During the recording session the guys came up with the idea of creating a guitar-based ballad – and here it is. “Immortal Melancholy” is mainly built on two pillars. There is the gently swinging acoustic guitar that’s accompanied by the beautiful voice of Simone Simons. Just having this song on the EP justifies the investment from band ansd fans.

“The Solace System” feels like what it also is – a natural prolongation of the highly successful “The Holographic Principle” album. It’s a very well-done EP that will be appreciated by Epica fans as well as by folks with a passion for excellently done melodic metal music.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Solace System
  2. Fight Your Demons
  3. Architect of Light
  4. Wheel of Destiny
  5. Immortal Melancholy
  6. Decoded Poetry

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: September 1st, 2017

 

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SERENITY unveil details about the upcoming album

Veröffentlicht am 21. August 2017 von Markus W. in Serenity, Melodic Metal, News, Symphonic Metal, Napalm Records, Heavy Metal

SERENITY unveil details about the upcoming album
A new era will begin on the 27th of October 2017, as Symphonic Metal masters Serenity are ready to release a brand new full-length album! Before the announcement of the album the band encouraged fans to guess the title of their upcoming effort via their socials. So were you able to guess it right? Here it is: "Lionheart"!
 
The band states:            
"Hear us roar!! After we spread Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus all over the world, which you made one of our most successful records ever, we will now feed your yearnings with another historical masterpiece: LIONHEART!!! Strong, powerful Symphonic Powermetal hymns mixed with emotions from the depth of our souls - follow us into this new era and show us your Lionheart!!!"
 
 
"Lionheart" was mixed and mastered by Jan Vacik at Dreamsound Studios. Gyula Havancsák at Hjules Design and Illustrations created the fantastic album artwork!
 
With a full grasp of stunning emotions and superior dramatic compositions these Austrian musicians are world class, already winners of the prestigious Amadeus Austrian Music Award 2017.  Their energy and joy of playing those fantastic Power Symphonic Metal-hymns can't be tamed. Heroic and heartfelt - it's almost impossible to not be carried away. Glorious melodies and the angelic voice of Georg Neuhauser join heavenly guitars and tremendous hooks! This is pure symphonic joy!
 
 
  1. The full Lionheart track listing reads as follows:
  2. Deus Lo Vult
  3. United
  4. Lionheart
  5. Hero
  6. Rising High
  7. Heaven
  8. King's Landing
  9. Eternal Victory
  10. Stand and Fight
  11. The Fortress (of Blood and Sand)
  12. Empire
  13. My Fantasy
  14. The Final Crusade
  15.  
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CD review EXIT EDEN "Rhapsodies in Black"

Veröffentlicht am 30. Juli 2017 von Markus W. in Exit Eden, Heavy Metal, Hardrock, Symphonic Metal, Rock, News, CD Review, Amansa Somerville, Anna Brunner, Marina La Torraca, Clementine Delauney

CD review EXIT EDEN "Rhapsodies in Black"
(8/10) Basically all the ingredients for an album like "Rhapsodies in Black" are well known and still, this album offers fascinating songs that each of you heard earlier in their original set-up. Exit Eden is a new project, that's female-fronted. The difference is that four singers with different background and nationality united under the banner of Eden Exit, releasing an album that features eleven stunning cover versions of pop songs.
Amanda Somerville, Anna Brunner, Marina La Torraca and Clementine Delauney combined forces, and voices, leading to an exciting longplayer that couldn't have been done much better. The first positive fact is that each of the four singers come with an excellent voice and a lot of experience when it comes to rock and metal music. Secondly these voices go together in an perfect fashion, meaning that they harmonize very well. This gives each of the the eleven tunes a thrilling add-on that's not known from the originals. Last but not least it's the re-arrangement of well-known chart hits that turned them into a smashing rock number with a more than solid punch.
The choice of songs is well thought through, covering various eras and styles of pop and rock music. One of my favorites is the closer of the album. These four ladies turn the Visage classic "Fade to Grey" into a dark rock song that is at least as good as the original. The song stands for the general approach of this longplayer. Exit Eden doesn't stick too much to the original. These four ladies take them as an inspiration by giving the songs a new expression while still keeping the spirit of the originals.  Another good example for the mentioned is the cover version of Bryan Adams' smash hit "Heaven". The Exit Eden interpretation adds an extra level of power to this classic without going too far away from the roots. Well done.
What's a real pearl on "Rhapsodies in Black" is Rihanna's "Unfaithful". If you think that a metamorphosis into a rocking metal track is a mission impossible, you're wrong. Exit Eden shifts this mega seller towards a rock anthem that sounds like a combination of Apocalyptica and Rammstein with the inclusion of female vocals, giving the tune a bombastic Nightwish touch. 
"Rhapsodies in Black" is a stunning longplayer showing that cover versions, if done in an inspiring and creative way, are more than nice fillers for the B-side of a single release only. I can recommend this album to fans of powerful rock music and female-fronted metal. 
 
 
 
 
Tracklist:
  1. Question of Time
  2. Unfaithful
  3. Impossible 
  4. Frozen
  5. Heaven
  6. Firework 
  7. Skyfall
  8. Total Eclipse
  9. Paparazzi 
  10. Fade to Grey
 
 
Label: Napalm Records
 
Genre: Female-Fronted Metal
 
Release Date EU: August 4th, 2017
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CD review CELLAR DARLING "This is the Sound"

Veröffentlicht am 8. Juli 2017 von Markus W. in Cellar Darling, Nuclear Blast, Melodic Metal, Rock, Symphonic Metal, CD Review, News, Folk Rock

CD review CELLAR DARLING "This is the Sound"

(7/10) Swiss rock outfit Cellar Darling could wrap up a deal with Nuclear Blast, leading to a debut called “This is the Sound”. So, what is the sound? The trio, Anna Murphy (v), Ivo Henzi (g,b) and Merlin Sutter (d), is fascinated by folk-based rock and metal music. While you read the three names you probably had the thought, in which context you heard them earlier in time. All three are former members of Eluveitie who started up something new in 2016. This musical background explains the band's passion for this kind of music that’s now firmed under the header of Cellar Darling

A quick view on the band’s FB page makes you recognize that they describe themselves as storytellers. I think it describes the songs on the debut very well because in one or another way it’s the theatric expression that transports more than just music. It has the potential to start a mind-movie. Sometimes things sound partly like Within Temptation (“Challenge”), while dramatic melancholy rules in songs like “Avalanche”. “Water” stands for the calmer moments on ”This is the Sound” while “Fire Wind & Earth” shifts gears towards a dynamic rock song. This means, we can conclude that all the ‘genre-mandatories’ are included.

"This is the Sound" comes with songs that are built on solid musicianship. In addition the record comes with a well done production and a dynamic sound. By the same token Cellar Darling doesn’t bring much new to the table. All in all it’s a good start with some potential for more in the future.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Avalanche
  2. Black Moon
  3. Challenge
  4. Hullaballoo
  5. Six Days
  6. The Hermit
  7. Water
  8. Fire Wind & Earth
  9. Rebels
  10.  Under the Oak Tree
  11. High above these Crowns
  12. Starcrusher
  13. Hedonia
  14. Redemption

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Folk Metal

Release Date EU: June 30th, 2017

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