With a completely revamped line-up since their last full-length release, today we have Austria’s Visions of Atlantis and their signature high-octane Melodic/Symphonic Power Metal. Unleashing “The Deep & the Dark”, the band’s first full-length release since 2013, fans of band will be completely blow away by the power and intensity behind the ten songs presented in this release.
Fronted by the highly talented Clémentine Delauney, the band sets sails in this very exciting journey with the energetic album titled track. The atmosphere is very well set with the symphonic elements as the musical playfulness kicks in full gear with incisive guitars and superbly catchy female vocals. The male Power Metal vocals are handled perfectly by Siegfried Samer, as he provides an excellent balance in his leads and duets with Clémentine, as we can quickly hear in the magical “Return to Lemuria”. This last track has a certain Sonata Arctica-esque magic that is driven initially by the Chris Kamper’s keyboards.
Only getter better and better with time, today we have the legendary Moonspell and their latest musical opus “1755”. Featuring over 50 minutes of highly emotional and intense music, the band continues to refine their sound while unleashing some epic songs with their signature style. If you have followed the band over the years, the constant quality of their releases is unrivaled, this is yet another excellent album that will stand the test of time.
Opening with the reinterpretation of “Em Nombre do Medo” from the Alpha Noir album, the band sets a very dark and sinister mood with the enhanced classical/choral arrangements added to this already intense song. The Middle-Eastern elements of the album title track make it quite engaging a unique, creating a very mysterious atmosphere that is perfectly complemented by Fernando Ribeiro’s signature vocals.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2017, today we have legendary Satyricon and their latest opus “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”. Featuring eight tracks and over 43 minutes of music, this release showcases Satyr’s and Frost superbly evil and sinister sound while incorporating a few new tricks to their repertoire. Continuing the exploration of the limits of Black Metal, the band provides their next evolutionary step with another unique and engaging release.
Opening with the piercing riffing of “Midnight Serpent”, the band kicks off a very melodic and yet aggressive release. There is just something merciless about the band’s riffing that oozes evil and darkness. Once warmed up, the band mixes subtle aggression with playful rhythms and intricate songwriting as we hear in “Blood Crack Open the Ground” and the hypnotic “To Your Brethren in the Dark”.
Superbly bizarre Austrian outfit Russkaja is back with yet another totally deranged release with “Kosmopoliturbo”. Adding a few more influences to their already funky Ska-ish sound, the band delivers ten songs that will either make you avoid them like the plague, or find you bizarrely interest in listening to them for extended periods of time. Filled with lush musical arrangements and very catchy songs, this release is one of those love it or hate it kind of albums, so be sure to approach it with an open mind.
Opening with the extra catchy “Hey Road”, the band instantly showcases the Polka/Ska influences with this very palatable song that reminds us of a mixture of Angizia and the Devil Swing Orchestra. Things get a bit crazier with the throbbing bass guitar line of “Alive” as this track descends into total madness before its completion. Learning new tricks, the band delivers the reggaetón-inspired “Still in Love”, with auto-tune and everything, this track is truly odd and very mainstream sounding, but you can still get the signature Russkaja weirdness in it.
As one of the most unique ‘super groups’ to hit the scene, today we have Exit Eden and their debut release “Rhapsodies in Black”. Featuring famed and established Metal vocalists Amanda Somerville, Clémentine Delauney, and up and coming talent Marina La Torraca and Anna Brunner, this outfit is definitely not lacking in vocal talent. This release delivers over 11 tracks with are all cover songs from artists ranging from Depeche Mode to Rihanna. While this might sound a bit odd, this release definitely will appear to fans of Gothic/Symphonic Metal as it has some killer musical arrangements on top of lush vocal harmonies.
Opening with “Question of Time”, the band sets a very lively mood while covering Depeche Mode’s hit. While some of the covers are more interesting than others, tracks like “Impossible” and “Frozen” truly showcase the band’s unique vocal talents while perfectly balancing the unique signing styles of the band’s members. Other songs like their cover of Brian Adams “Heaven”, rely on individual vocal talents and very well-crafted arrangements that totally re-interpret a very well-known song into heavier territories.
Only a few bands manage to write a follow-up to a legendary album and succeed at it. Today we have Vintersorg blowing people away with their follow-up of the seminal “Till fjälls”. In this double release, the band unleashes over 75 minutes of classic Vintersorg music that will never leave your record player for the remainder of the year (possibly a few years). Going back to the basics, this is one release you can’t miss.
The album sets the tone with the intense opener “Jökelväktaren”, filled with soaring vocal arrangements and uber catchy guitar work, this perfectly sets the mood for what is to come. For any fan of Vintersorg, the brilliant combination of epic clean vocals and harsh vocals is one of the best features of their releases, particularly in epic tracks like “En väldig isvidds karga dräkt” and the crushing “Fjällets mäktiga mur”.
Everybody’s favorite pirates are finally back with yet another release filled with tales of their wanderings at sea. With “No Grave but the Sea” the band’s party atmosphere is untouched and they continue exactly where they left off. With over 45 minutes of music, the band showcases their maturity with tracks that go directly to the point while keeping intact all the elements that make people love them.
Opening with the album title track, Christopher Bowes signature pirate singing leads the way into this very cheerful song. Filled with funky keyboards and a lively pace, this track is the perfect onboarding piece for this Alestorm journey. The album’s first single comes under the name of “Mexico”, a track detailing the band’s debaucherous efforts in this country. As you can expect this track features soaring vocal arrangements and a killer chorus section that will be stuck in your head for days.
Everybody’s favorite Roman-inspired band is finally back with another killer onslaught of dramatic symphonic elements and a catchy guitar riffs. “The Immortal Wars” marks Ex Deo’s return with nearly 40 minutes of superbly entertaining music, their first foray since the brilliant “Caligvla” back in 2012. If you like music that has a certain epic feeling to it, similar to bands like Sabaton and Fleshgod Apocalypse, you will love this one.
Opening with the pummeling “The Rise of Hannibal”, the band wastes no time in showing off the big guns with dramatic orchestrations and a solid (and heavy) musical core filled with catchy riffs. Playful tracks like “Hispania” perfectly showcase the band’s skills in balancing heavy sections with hyper fast drumming with more melodic and atmospheric rhythmical sections for headbanging. The opening of “Crossing of the Alps” will greatly send chills down your spine, but it is the punishing Death Metal elements of this track that will make you love it.
Fully exploiting the band’s newfound strengths around singer Dianne van Giersbergen, Xandria delivers one of the best Symphonic/Gothic Metal albums of the last few months with “Theater of Dimensions”. Crafting over 74 minutes of lush and bombastic songs, the band reaches the levels of excellence of bands like Epica, Within Temptation and Nightwish with this killer release filled with epic melodies and mesmerizing arrangements.
Opening with the very dramatic and engaging “Where the Heart is Home”, we instantly get a superbly epic vibe thanks to the vocal arrangements and over the top orchestrations. The band quickly showcases their very diverse musical style while going through excellent songs like “Death to the Holy”, “Forsaken Love” and “Call of Destiny”, all of them showing influences from everything ranging from Power Metal to Folk Metal, but with the distinctive Xandria edge.
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.