After blowing everybody’s expectations with their amazing 2015 release “Hammer of the Witches”, Dani Filth and company are back with an even more refined and incisive release with “Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay”. Having returned to their best sound since “Nymphetamine”, they band continues rolling with another 10 brilliant tracks that while reminding us of their earlier days, keep pushing forward with their bombastic and aggressive sound.
Kicking off with the mood setting intro “Exquisite Torments Await”, CoF instantly transports you into the band’s twisted world thanks to sinister riffs and dramatic arrangements. This is only the beginning as things get even more intense with the blistering drumming of “Heartbreak and Séance” and its Omen-esque chorus sections. With even more dramatic arrangements and superbly catchy passages, “Achingly Beautiful” is definitely one of our favorite tracks in this release.
Taking almost the same time as Tool to release a new album, today we have Finland’s Wintersun and their epic “The Forest Seasons” release. Aside from all the crowdfunding drama, Wintersun returns with a powerful album that maintains their legendary status and improves on their legacy with a more mature style. If you like Melodic Metal with Symphonic and Folk-ish elements, this is certainly one of the best releases of 2017 for you.
Opening with the 14-minute epic “Awaken from the Dark Slumber”, we get Wintersun at its best delivering a very atmospheric and high-octane piece. This track delivers over the top orchestrations perfectly arranged with a lively pace and a heap of different vocal styles. Reminding us of a mixture of Cradle of Filth with Ensiferum at times, this is a very exciting opener and it showcases the potential of the band’s evolved sound.
Delivering the most intense Heavy Metal release of 2017, today we have Germany’s Accept and their latest full-length release “The Rise of Chaos”. Having resuscitated back in 2009, Wolf and Mark Tornillo have led this band to release some of their strongest album in the last decade. Featuring over 45 minutes of music distributed in ten tracks, the band cranks out some of the most anthemic songs of the year, so be prepared to be blown away.
Opening with the relentless “Die By the Sword”, we get signature Accept guitar leads and vocal arrangements that will make you want to drop everything that you are doing and start headbanging from start to end. Other epic songs like “Hole in the Head” and “The Rise of Chaos” showcase the band’s knack for crafting soaring vocal melodies and superbly catchy chorus sections. Wolf’s guitars are on point as always, and deliver some killer leads as showcased on “Koolaid”.
With a few central members of the band leaving, we were quite curious to see how Eluveitie would move forward. It is safe to say that with “Evocation II – Pantheon” the band continues its well-defined path with another brilliant release filled with memorable moments and catchy songs. Not losing a step, this release delivers over 50-minutes of intoxicatingly catchy Folk/Melodic Metal music that will appeal to any fan of the band and the genre.
As a continuation of their 2009 release, “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion”, this album kicks off with “Dvressu” by showcasing the talents of new vocalist: Fabienne Erni. Replacing the talented Anna Murphy seemed like a nearly impossible, but the band has done a great job as we can hear in the very upbeat “Epona”. This track has the band’s signature style of delivering lush arrangements and catchy song foundations.
Perfectly aging with time, like a fine bottle of scotch, today we have Suffocation and their latest opus “…Of the Dark Light”. Delivering over 35 minutes of brutality, Frank Mullen and company embrace the more modern Technical/Brutal DM influences and manage to craft a very traditional Suffocation release that feels fresh and current.
Opening with the sinister “Clarity Through Deprivation”, the Suffocation instantly finds its groove with killer drumming and a very hefty pace. The band’s old-school sound is forever present and you can instantly hear it as they steamroll past “Your Last Breaths”, “Return to the Abyss” and “The Violation”. Paired with fresher ideas, the band manages to deliver punishing tracks filled with brutality and cheeky drum patterns like “Of the Dark Light”, which is both intense and crafty.
Formed by ex-Eluveitie members: Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henzi, Cellar Darling perfectly combines Folk elements with Metal and Rock to create a very lively and unique sound that will captivate audiences. Led by the charismatic vocals of Anna Murphy, this release delivers 14 tracks of superbly catchy and engaging music that will stick in your head long after you stop listening to it.
Opening with the killer “Avalanche”, this track features one of the catchiest chorus sections of 2017. The band keeps minor Eluveitie influences with their folk elements, but they focus on making killer vocal melodies and playful instrumentations that perfectly define their own identity, as we can hear on tracks like “Black Moon”, the brilliant “Challenge”, and the hard rocking “Hullabaloo”.
Continuing with their impressive momentum after the release of “Moonlover”, Ghost Bath returns on a bigger label and with a more expansive sound in “Starmourner”. Delivering over 70 minutes of soul crushing music, the band continues to evolve with a richer and more diverse sound. Equally pleasing for older and new fans, this release is a perfect continuation of the band’s path.
After the mood setting intro track, the band gets down to business with the incisive lead guitars of “Seraphic” a highly emotional and ravaging track. The onslaught continues with the sheer brutality of the opening of “Ambrosial”. Here we have the traditional shrieks being outlined by pummeling drums, and before you know it the song turns highly melodic and hypnotic with some truly outstanding passages.
Finally immortalizing one of their iconic full-orchestra and choir shows, today we have Dimmu Borgir and the monumental “Forces of the Northern Night”. Featuring around 90 minutes of live material both in video (DVD or Blu-ray) and audio CD’s, this is one of the most epic live releases we have seen in a while. Not needing any introduction, this band will blow you away with the intensity they bring to the live shows.
We are only reviewing their Wacken Open air show in 2012, where the band was accompanied on stage with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir. In this already legendary concert, the band played the full “Abrahadabra” album first, and then a pretty solid selection of their greatest hits. The first part of the concert hits the listener hard with epic renditions of crushing songs like “Born Treacherous” and “Gateways” featuring a guest appearance by Agnete Kjølsrud.
Keeping the old-school Death Metal flame alive, today we have Memoriam and their 7” vinyl release “The Hellfire Demos II”. Featuring members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, this band gives us a taste of their crushing sound with two very promising tracks. If you grew up with late 80’s and early 90’s Death Metal, this release brings back that familiar rawness and catchiness of the era.
Opening with “Drone Strike”, the band’s vocalist Karl Willetts instantly delivers his raspy vocals to a very powerful mix of pummeling riffs and tight drumming. The song’s tempo perfectly allows the listener to headbang to it while keeping things aggressive. The band does a pretty solid job in delivering a timeless Death Metal vibe with their music.
As one of the most awaited Thrash Metal releases of 2016, today we have Testament and their latest opus “Brotherhood of the Snake”. As one of the originators of the Bay Area Thrash movement, Testament seems to only get better with age as this album delivers over 45 minutes of no-holds-bared Thrash-tastic music.
Opening with the intense album title track, the band quickly fires the first round with blistering drumming and crushing riffs. Paired with Steve DiGiorgio’s intricate base guitar line, this song fires on all cylinders and delivers a hectic opening that will instantly raise your pulse. The intricate guitar work of Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick brilliantly shines on killer tracks like “The Pale King”, “Seven Seals” and the amazing leads of “Neptune’s Spear”, which almost make this track, be more along the lines of Power/Progressive Metal bands.