Diabulus in Musica - Dirge for the Archons (2016)

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As one of the most expected Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases of 2016, today we have Diabulus in Musica and their excellent fourth full-length release “Dirge for the Archons”. Slowly evolving into a beautiful butterfly, this Spanish band’s music has gotten more and more bombastic and explosive over time. Bringing comparisons with Epica, Xandria and After Forever, this release delivers over 60 minutes of captivating music that any fan of the genre will love.

After the traditional warm-up intro, “Earthly Illusions” delivers waves of guitar riffs and orchestral arrangements that are perfectly offset by Zuberoa Aznárez’s signature firm but sweet vocals. As “Marble Embrace” and “Invisible” arrive, we can’t help but notice a very evident similarity to Epica’s music, more than before for the band. This isn’t necessarily bad as there are enough differences in the choir arrangements and song structures to keep them far from being a copycat. And while similar, Gorka and company manage to craft highly memorable songs.

Aanod – Yesterday Comes Tomorrow (2016)

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Hailing from France, today we have Metalcore/Modern Metal new comers Aanod and their blistering release “Yesterday Comes Tomorrow”. Perfectly blending traditional Metalcore elements with more Soilwork/In Flames inspired Melodic Modern Metal elements, the band manages to craft seven solid tracks that showcase their talents. As the lines between Metalcore and other genre’s continue to blur, we are more than impressed with bands like Aanod and their fresh musical ideas.

Opening with the crushing “Gambler”, the band sets a very solid standard with an opener filled with powerful riffs and pummeling vocals. There influences from everything from Melo-death to Death/Metalcore are quickly evident and very well incorporated together. Reminding us a bit of Dark Tranquility and Soilwork, “DNA” and “Resource” are some of the album’s most engaging and gratifying songs.

Children of Bodom + Abbath + Exmortus + ONI – 12/05/2016 – The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

Braving once more the Bay Area traffic after work, today we made it up to the city to catch this very interesting tour featuring very technically proficient bands from different genres. Unluckily for us, the show started super early and thanks to the two and a half hours that traffic made our commute take, we managed to miss ONI and half the set of Exmortus. Only catching a few songs from Exmortus, we still enjoyed a few tracks of their intense Technical Thrash/Melodic Death Metal.

Sonata Arctica + Leaves’ Eyes + Omnium Gatherum – 12/02/2016 – Slim’s, San Francisco, CA

After braving the terrible Bay Area traffic on a Friday, we managed to make it all the way to the city and found a huge line outside Slim’s. With the promise of a quality show, fans crowded the venue to support the bands. Most people had Sonata Arctica t-shirts followed closely by fans of Omnium Gatherum and Leaves’ Eyes.

Lost Opera – Hidden Sides (2016)

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Hailing from Normandy, today we have newcomer Symphonic/Gothic Metal outfit Lost Opera and their sophomore release “Hidden Sides”. In a world filled with Female-led Symphonic Metal bands, it is quite surprising and even rare to hear a band rely mostly on male vocals in the genre. Delivering over 55 minutes of music, this release is quite engaging and fun, perfectly appealing to all fans of the genre that are looking for something a little different.

After the traditional intro, the album blows wide open with the pummeling riffs of “Today I Cry”. This track starts off quite heavy and is perfectly contrasted by engaging keyboards and a mixture of growls and clean vocals. The band’s vocalist Loïc Conti, does a pretty solid job in mixing growls with clean vocals, allowing the songs to be diverse and engaging as we can hear on “Follow the Signs” and “Rage”.

Worm Ouroboros – What Graceless Dawn (2016)

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Arriving from this Bay Area trio, today we have Worm Ouroboros and their third full-length release “What Graceless Dawn”. Continuing where “Come the Thaw” left off, this release sees the band crafting hauntingly beautiful tunes that are filled with atmospheric and instrumental brilliance. Clocking at over 60 minutes of music, the listener is in for a very unique aural journey through the band’s unique world.

Opening with the mellow “Day”, we have a very ethereal buildup developed by a very slow tempo and the enchanting vocals of both Lorraine Rath and Jessica Way. The opener perfectly bleeds into the martial first few minutes “Broken Movements”. Once the song slowly progresses, the solemn combination of heartfelt guitar riffs and minimalist bass guitar notes start to get more intense as the song reaches its climax.

Dead to a Dying World – Live at Roadburn 2016 (2016)

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Perfectly capturing an epic performance at the legendary Roadburn festival, today we have Dead to a Dying World’s “Live at Roadburn 2016”. Clocking in at nearly 60 minutes, this release brilliantly reflects the band’s live performances ferociousness. Paired with a very clear sound and mix, this release continues to hold the standards of the “Live at Roadburn” series of releases over the years.

The album instantly jumps at the listener with the intensity of “The Hunt Eternal”, a fierce track that features blistering riffs, mournful viola arrangements, and hellish male and female harsh vocals. After warming up with the 16-minute opening track, the band went into the moodier “Eventide”. This track has a certain My Dying Bride meets Elend vibe that we greatly enjoy and was perfectly transmitted live.

Luciferian Light Orchestra - Black (2016)

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Arriving today from musical genius Christofer Johnsson of Therion, we have his psychedelic side project Luciferian Light Orchestra and their latest EP titled “Black”. Using the stuff he thinks is too retro for Therion, Christopher and company deliver four excellent songs that while sounding familiar, they still have a very distinctive and creepy vibe to then. If you are a fan of any of Therion’s albums, you will certainly find this release very interesting.

Opening with the intense “Evil Masquerade”, the vocal arrangements sound eerily familiar with a perfect blend of female and male vocals. The music however, has a very distinctive 70’s vibe to it with warm fuzzy guitar tones and a psychedelic vibe. As the album continues with “Where the Lilies Grow”, we get shivers as we hear the magical female vocals perfectly paired with a creepy vibe, similar to older works of Sabbath Assembly.

Eradikal Insane – Mithra (2015)

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Interestingly blending Modern Death Metal/Deathcore elements with musical acrobatic skills, today we have Eradikal Insane and their crushing debut release “Mithra”. Hailing from France, this band delivers over 45 minutes of technically proficient music that is both crushing and complex. If you like bands like Obscura and The Black Dahlia Murder, this is definitely something you want to check out.

Delivering the first blow with the playful opener “A Perpetual Nothing”, we are instantly introduced to the band’s chaotic style. Their music is quite uniquely crafted as they change the tempo of the songs quite often thanks to a plethora of incisive riffs and highly precise drum patterns as we can hear on “Initium” and “Sediments of Misconception”. Some other time, the band choses to pay homage to legendary bands such as Death, as you can hear in the opening of “Consciousness Alight”.

Karg – Weltenasche (2016)

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From Harakiri for the Sky’s vocalist, today we have Karg, a one-man battalion delivering highly atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal. Featuring eight tracks and over 70 minutes of dreamy music, “Weltenasche” is a very soothing and yet demoralizing release that will certainly appeal to all fans of Depressive Black Metal to Post-Black Metal.

Opening with the incisive “Crevasse”, we are treated to a very moody and diverse track filled with tempo changes and heavy atmospheric elements. The album continues to perfectly juxtapose aggressiveness and melody as we can hear in the progression of “Alles wird in Flammen stehen”, which some parts remind us a bit of Dornenreich. The band’s raw emotions are instantly felt in songs like “Le couloir des ombres” which has a certain Alcet-like vibe, but with the Karg imprint dominating.

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