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.
Taking the scene by surprise by changing lead singers, Sirenia manages to come out on top with the brilliant “Dim Days of Dolor”. Delivering over 55 minutes of signature Sirenia Symphonic/Gothic Metal, the band shows no signs of slowing down while unleashing their best release to date. If you are concerned on how Emmanuelle Zoldan fits with the band’s style, you are in for a treat as her vocals perfectly blend with the bombastic nature of the music.
Opening with the explosive “Goddess of the Sea”, the band instantly shows that their sound is still as bombastic as ever and that Emmanuelle’s seductive vocals seamlessly integrate with it. One of the things we love more about Sirenia is the lush and vibrant choir arrangements and this track instantly satisfied our cravings. The catchiest song on this release, and probably the band’s history, comes under the album title and delivers a brilliant chorus section and very digestible and engaging riffs. Once you hear this track, you will not be able to get it out of your head.
Returning with their fifth full-length release, today we have Delain and their impressive and bombastic Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. With “Moonbathers”, the band takes things one step further delivering lush orchestrations, crushing guitar riffs, and mesmerizing vocal arrangements, allowing their sound to be as explosive and expansive as ever. If you are a fan of the band or the genre, this album has all the right ingredients to become a classic.
Opening with the lively “Hands of Gold”, the band sets a very high bar with such a bombastic song which features a duet with Alissa White-Gluz. The superbly catchy “Suckerpunch” is a very solid third act in this increasingly more intense and bombastic release. Released earlier this year with the “Lunar Prelude”, this song showcases the band’s evolution into a more dynamic and explosive unit, which can be easily compared to bands like Nightwish and Epica.
Coming out of a few very hard years with the death of founding member and drummer Tobias Graf and the departure of Sabine Scherer, the bands charismatic vocalist, Deadlock delivers their 7th full-length release titled “Hybris”. Featuring a more melancholic edge to their music than their previous two releases, this album brings us back to the catchiness of “Bizarro World” combined with the melodic side of “Wolves”.
Opening with the Groovy “Epitaph”, we are very quickly given the first glance of Margi Gerlitz’s vocals, which are actually somewhat similar to Sabine’s, but as the album progresses we notice they also have a wider range, allowing the band’s music to go to different places. This catchy opener is nicely framed with intricate drumming, direct riffs and subtle atmospheric elements. “Carbonman” and “Berserk” nicely step up the intensity level with two very engaging and heavy songs filled with cool guitar leads that ooze melody and provide a nice contrast when paired with Margi’s vocals.